Increasingly I see people entering their later years of life bitter and ridden with chronic ailments. Ailments that are referred to as lifestyle diseases for good reason because it results from poor choices that conflict with our need for balance and harmony. We fiercely protect our right to choose what we want and who we want in our lives, but seldom accept the consequences of such choices because it is easier to blame others than to accept accountability for the outcomes that suddenly oppresses us. Such is the nature of ingratitude. It is seated on a bed of entitlement while complaining bitterly about the demand for action.

The ungracious heart looks at blessings and reminds itself that it’s of no consequence because of what they can’t have instead. We pine for partners and wealth that seems elusive and discard the good fortune we already have. Our fairy tale expectations of achieving everything or nothing at all, prince or pauper, nobility or peasantry, happily ever after or nothing, drives us to consider contentment to be achievable only in its entirety or not at all. Moderation is a lost art that has opened gaping wounds in society that created spaces for unhealthy indulgences to fill the void left by an absence of human connection.

Human connection. It sounds idyllic, surreal, even romantic. All of which resonate with aspirational goals that elude the 99% that find themselves trapped in a game defined by the 1%. More accurately, the 1% are defined by the worship of the 99%. Without the loyal adoration of the fools, royalty will never hold significance. And so it is with the way in which we perceive our blessings relative to our burdens. Seeking affirmation before we affirm ourselves leaves us wanting when we have abundance. But abundance is inconsequential if it is not celebrated by those we wish to impress.

Again, an ungracious heart seeks validation before recognising its own blessings. Realising that we are the architects of our own misery is a realisation that most despise. I’ve been on the receiving end of the most venomous attacks from people that were looking for praise for their martyrdom, because all I could offer them was the realisation that they were self-defeating pessimists instead. Like I’ve said before, the truth is only bitter if you’re not willing to accept it. And that is the bitter pill that we need to learn to swallow.

If we were to only choose the elixirs that were palatable in our search for good health, we’d have very little health to enjoy. It is the bitter pills, the ones that cause the convulsions or leave the bitter after taste, those are the ones that shock the system into a state of healing. They harbour the changes needed to break the toxic cycles that threaten our peace, or the cycles that keep us grounded in a false reality that served our weakness when being strong was too daunting.

When we protect ourselves from unpleasant experiences, we prevent ourselves from growth. That stagnation results in unrealistic demands from those around us, while cheating those that come after us of the wisdom they need to avoid the same rut that we courted for most of our lives. Choose the bitter pill, especially when the sweetness of life escapes you. It is the bitter pill that reminds us what sweetness tastes like, not sugary truths that protect us from reality.

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