Getting and going through a divorce are journeys no one can prepare you for. It's a process of disentanglement from a life once shared, a redefining of self, and a reconstruction of one's identity.

Yet, long after the ink dries on the divorce papers, echoes of the past can linger. As well as sometimes manifesting in unexpected ways—like being labeled as "bitter."

Almost two years post-divorce, I found myself facing this accusation. Someone had labeled me "bitter," I had to pull my energy back and think. Initially, I was taken aback. Bitter? Me? How could that be? I prided myself on my resilience. I also admire my ability to move forward despite the pain of the past. But then, in my reflection, I realized something crucial: what people call me does not define me.

Divorce is messy. It's an emotional mix of emotions, thoughts, and experiences from the marriage that can leave us feeling raw and vulnerable long after the legal proceedings. In the aftermath, a complex terrain of emotions—grief, anger, sadness, relief, hope—all swirling together in a tumultuous mix. It's natural to experience moments of bitterness amidst this upheaval. After all, we're only human.

But being labeled as bitter doesn't capture the fullness of who we are. It's a simplistic mind of the one-dimensional descriptor that fails to acknowledge the complexity of our experiences and the depth of our emotions. We are not defined by a single label, especially one imposed upon us by others.

Instead, what defines us is how we choose to respond to these labels. How can we reclaim our narrative in the face of judgment and criticism? It's about embracing the messiness of our journey and finding strength in our vulnerabilities. It's about recognizing that the opinions of others do not determine our worth. However, the courage in which we face our challenges and the resilience we rise above them.

In my journey, I've realized that being called bitter is not the heart of who I am. It is the reflection of someone else's perception. While I can't control how others see me; I do not desire that level of control.

I can control how I see myself. I see myself as someone strong, resilient, and capable of growth.

I choose to see myself as more than just a label. The same people who call me bitter wouldn't be able to survive a week in my life. When many people feel welcome to have the convenience of watching, reading, and studying you, quickly everything you say or do becomes questionable. I feel amused by the constant plows to take down my confidence.

So, to anyone who has been called bitter or any other hurtful label post-divorce, remember this: you are not defined by the words of others. Your worth is inherent. Your journey is valid. Your resilience is immeasurable. Embrace the complexity of your experiences. Never let anyone else's perception dim the light that shines within you. You are more than enough, just as you are.

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