Bitter Or Sweet

Recently, a friend encouraged me to begin a special cleanse regime using a product she had started using a few months before. I do try to do a cleanse of my body periodically and was looking to do so in the near future, so I gave her product a try. Noticing no difference in anything after a week, I stopped using the product and discussed it with my friend. She gave me a link to someone she knows who also uses the product and suggested I watch the video before disregarding it altogether. I agreed.

To use this cleanse you add a few drops to a dropper full of the liquid in a cup of water or juice. My first time taking it, I just used it straight. It was very bitter and potent. The woman in the video spoke regarding this taste. Most people prefer to add the liquid to fruit juice or sweetened water because of the bitter taste. She stated that it is more than likely due to most people not being keen on bitters, especially in the United States. I don’t have a problem with bitters. In fact, I prefer them to sweet. However, I can understand the message being conveyed.

This topic is not new for me to speak about in my blog. I posted a while back regarding the sickening sweet taste of Americans. Most of the fad diet programs, such as Nutri-System, Slim Fast, etc., have sweet drinks as their base-line products. When making scones in the U.S., people feel you must drown the poor thing in sugar and frosting before consuming it. Cappuccinos are made and then very sweet whipped cream is piped on top before serving. Breakfast is usually some sort of sweet cereal with extra sugar added and excessively sweet desserts are a must-consume following all other meals.

When the presenter mentioned the dislike of bitters in this country, I paused. I have continued to ponder what was said and applied a broader meaning to the word bitters. To an extent, I can understand why we as human beings in general and Americans specifically would prefer sweetness. Upon looking back on your life, it is the good memories we more likely choose to recall. However, it is not those good things that worked the hardest to form us into the person we are today. For this, we need to look at the not-so-pleasant things in our past.

Each year at Passover, Jewish people remember their past. One part of this meal is the consuming of the bitters or Maror. We remember the suffering of captivity and the perils of roaming, lost in the desert. The bitter must be remembered in order to appreciate the sweet even more. Most of those who celebrate will only take a small taste of the bitter herbs and next lick the plate clean from the sweet Charoset. For me, I would take a heaping mound of the Maror and eat it before moving on. I would return to this throughout the meal and all of my bitter herbs would be gone by the end.

Jewish people have this time to remember the negative things in their history as a people and then on Yom Kippur, things get real. This is the day of atonement when fasting is performed and each person examines the self and looks at the negative things they need to atone for with their god. Catholics perform the atonement (with confession) ritual throughout the year. Some cultures will dwell on the negative things in their past and demand constant retribution from the other cultures that caused the harm, even hundreds of years after the fact.

As a counselor, I knew that the only way for true healing to begin was to look at the ugliness in the past. It is the step of opening old wounds. You have to revisit the unpleasant before you can truly enjoy the good things to come in the future.

People do not want to look at the bad. We just want the good. We want the end result without the work to get there. Instead of going back and coming to terms with the hurts in the past, people prefer to sugar-coat it, literally. If everything is sweet, there can be no bad.

I am an adult survivor of child abuse and bullying. I have many painful memories. I do not say, “I am a bad person because of what others did to me when I had no way to protect myself”. I do not feel entitled to a ‘free ride’ because of anything that happened to me. I do not try to explain away any mistakes I make. I claim them, I own them. They are mine and mine alone because I chose to make them. However, in the same manner, I chose to learn and grow from these things.

We are who we are today because of ALL the things we have been through in our past. Remember the bitter, not to succumb to it or give in to its effects, but to learn and grow from it and be in a better way to fully enjoy and appreciate the sweet things in your life today. Sugar-coating will only give you cavities. Try some bitters once in a while and be all-the-more thankful.


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