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Taking the Bitter with the Sweet

I was talking to my sweet grandmother a few weeks ago and telling her all the things that I had going on. There might have been a bit of whining involved and I loved it when she totally called me out and said, “you have to take the bitter with the sweet.” So for the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about taking the bitter with the sweet. I have talked so many times about the difference between focusing on the positive things going on in your life and not dwelling on the negative. When you only look at those negative things it becomes so hard to see the really good stuff.

I present you bitter versus sweet.

Bitter: A gigantic limb fell on my house and put a big hole straight through my brand new roof. Luckily, I have a great roofer and he rushed to send a crew over to repair it before an evening full of thunderstorms and rain that would have definitely have caused water damage to my house.

Sweet: I own a house. The hole was discovered before any water damage could occur. I have an amazing roofer. (Seriously, if you live in Charlotte and need a recommendation let me know!)

Bitter: Having to slowly buy a lot of new furniture for my house (because I’m definitely on a budget and good furniture is soooooo expensive).

Sweet: Putting my new bed together and splurging on new bedding (well, it was on sale) at West Elm last weekend.

Bitter: Despite beautiful conditions, my runs have been terrible the past few days. I’ve had to take multiple walking breaks and I’ve just felt winded and dead legged.

Sweet: My hip has calmed down and I am running pain-free. The weather has been nice enough to run outside. (And for all of you who have asked, these are the Mizuno Wave Elixir and they are FABULOUS. Switched from Brooks Adrenaline about six months ago and haven’t looked back.)

Bitter: Working really, really long and crazy hours lately. I don’t think there’s been a day that I haven’t been at the gym since I returned home from vacation. We’re in a bit of a transition time now so I’m covering some extra responsibilities and classes.

Sweet: I get to spend all day every day doing something that I LOVE with awesome people and wonderful clients. I have been at Metro for a little over a year now and I still can’t believe it’s my job to manage a gym, train and teach classes. It’s definitely SWEET. Also sweet….coming home from a long day and making myself a comfort food dinner of mashed potatoes and pot roast with roasted broccoli, tea and a book in bed and a good night’s sleep.

Do you take the bitter with the sweet…are you able to focus on the sweet? 

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Mir March 19, 2013, 9:07 pm

    Grandmothers are so wise!! There’s always something to be grateful for, especially good bedding! Where is your headboard from? It’s perfect!

  • Claire March 19, 2013, 9:09 pm

    I try pretty darn hard to focus on the sweet. I keep a “grateful log” beside my bed and try to write in it every night. It helps to keep everything in perspective; I find I start to take a lot of things for granted that truly I am so lucky to have.

  • Pam March 19, 2013, 9:21 pm

    Wisdom! You are so blessed to have your grandmother to talk to you in love! Grumbling and complaining profits nothing. Praise and gratitude multiplies!

  • pamela March 19, 2013, 9:26 pm

    Equanimity! Sing it:)

    Honestly, you are really positive all the time.

  • Alice March 19, 2013, 9:50 pm

    Ha! I’m actually finishing the book BITTERSWEET tonight. Read it in a few days! Definitely tougher at some times to see the “sweet” than others. The book is great. There is beauty in everything, sometimes just takes a while to see it (in the rear view, perhaps?).
    You are inspiring, no matter how you feel!
    Thank you:)

  • Colleen March 19, 2013, 10:07 pm

    Great post! Grandmothers are such blessings. I look at the sweet side of situations 95% of the time. Life is too short to focus on the bitter. I, too, work crazy hours at a gym and its easy to get into an exhausted, burn out state doing that. Then I have to remind myself how blessed I am to have such a cool job!! I wouldn’t trade it for a cubicle, desk, and high heels any day!

  • Megan March 19, 2013, 10:17 pm

    I wish my grandmother was still around to call me out on my stuff :). I’m glad your hip has calmed down. I too suffer hip pain, especially when I run too much. Any advice or program you followed to help get you back to pain free running? Thanks for all your great tips and ideas!

  • Amanda March 19, 2013, 11:03 pm

    Bitter: I’m up later than what I’d like to be because of tomorrow’s wakeup call.

    Sweet: I found a new blog. and this post was absolutely what I needed to get myself in check! Reminder’s to be thankful for what we have. AND i was just looking for a new pair of running shoes. Thanks for a great post!

  • Sara March 20, 2013, 12:05 am

    Bitter: Life.

    Sweet: you’re a beautiful, fit & focused woman, who is as awesome in the gym as you are in the kitchen, who inspires her readers to be human but be better, and who has an adorable pup. Good things are both present and ahead for you. Thank goodness for grandmothers and their wisdom 🙂

  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch March 20, 2013, 12:08 am

    Bitter with the sweet is right, Jen – sometimes when it seems so bad, it helps me to remember all the good I have! Looks like you have quite a lot of good going on, too!

  • Nicole March 20, 2013, 12:35 am

    Great outlook from Grandma!

    Do you have a recipe to share for the pot roast? That plate looks so good!

  • Babs March 20, 2013, 3:52 am

    I always try to put things into perspective and focus on everything I do have. Currently, I’m having a hard time doing that because I spent 3 years and $70,000 on law school and then spent another year and $25,000 to get requalified to practice law in Australia and I can’t find a job. And when I do I’ll be making less as a lawyer than I was a paralegal.

    Buuuuuuuuuut – I have my health and an amazing husband (who hopefully won’t lose his job anytime soon). So life isn’t all that bad.

  • Mayra March 20, 2013, 4:04 am

    Thanks for sharing the bitter and sweet you have a great outlook. You really are inspiring 🙂

  • Jenna @ Crazy Healthy Fit March 20, 2013, 5:20 am

    I really enjoyed reading this. Often times, we focus on the bitter and forget the sweet. This was a good reminder to find the joy in life 🙂

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit March 20, 2013, 8:24 am

    great post. love your bedding and the wall color!! thanks for always being so honest and wonderful xo

  • amy March 20, 2013, 9:15 am

    Great reminder, especially in the middle of the week!

  • She Rocks Fitness March 20, 2013, 9:27 am

    I really like the way that you wrote this. Let the bitter out and soak up the sweetness! A healthy way to stay positive when things are not going well or a little hectic. I have been eyeing that duvet cover from West Elm. It looks awesome. They always have great sales when you can find what you are looking for!

  • Ashley March 20, 2013, 11:19 am

    I love this approach, especially. My runs have been bad lately too- my legs feel so sore and tired from adding speed workouts and strength training- but I just keep telling myself that at least I’m doing it. A bad run is still a run. I’ve also had a string of bad days and I just try to find the comfort in the things in my life that always make me happy (cats, friends and family, etc.)

  • Kerry @ Totes My Oats March 20, 2013, 11:39 am

    I’ll be the first to admit that I definitely can complain a little to my loved ones. Sometimes it helps me just get out the negativity. It’s so important to focus on the positive things in life. Life is too short!

  • Caitlin F. March 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Great post! & that new bedding is absolutely gorgeous!

  • natalie@thesweetslife March 20, 2013, 12:29 pm

    I have that same bedding and love it!!! 🙂

  • Harriet May March 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Don’t worry about your runs. I go through phases where I feel like that too, and then voila! I have one good run and feel on top of the world. Even before I did a 50K in Feb I felt terrible during my last long run and had to break it into two smaller runs which really shook my confidence. Then I felt amazing on the day of my race. 🙂

  • Blaire @ Just Been Running March 20, 2013, 3:05 pm

    I love this because I go through these feelings all the time. It’s ok to feel a little down every now and then because are human, but it’s how we get back up and approach every situation that defines us. I love that ultimately everyone is going through something every day because every day cannot be perfect, but we have to look at the positives in our life and that will get us through anything in our path.

  • Allie @ Allie's Appetite March 20, 2013, 3:38 pm

    This is amazing. I’m so grateful that my grandmother is still alive and well! I try to think of the “bitter” as essential to being able to acknowledge and appreciate the “sweet.”

  • meredith March 20, 2013, 5:13 pm

    I love this post. Funny, I just posted something just like this today on my blog – about the bright sides of disasters and my glass always being half full and exactly why I was a guest on Dr. Oz this week to discuss “healthy revenge” after my divorce Lol…It is so important to look at the bright side! Sometimes it is difficult to find the bright side in situations but if you look hard enough, you can find something positive. Which is a mood booster for sure.

  • Sarah March 20, 2013, 7:12 pm

    Loved this post! Perfect for my week. I had to back out of training for the Boston Marathon because of an injury! But it has been a great journey with my running buddies. To concentrate on the sweet especially when I am frustrated with my surroundings, I stop, breathe, and think of 10 things in that moment I am grateful for. It really helps me view things through a more positive scope!

  • Jayne March 20, 2013, 8:05 pm

    Thanks for this post. It seems like everyday I hear more bad news. I am working on seeing the positive side of each situation.

  • Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More March 20, 2013, 8:53 pm

    I really needed to read this today. I broke my ankle on a trail run Monday due to unleashed dogs running wild. I have surgery scheduled for Friday to repair the bone. I am having a really hard time not being angry at the whole situation. I need to look at it differently. I need to appreciate that I was doing something I love. And in 12 short weeks I will hopefully be back out there again!

  • tara March 21, 2013, 1:13 pm

    i go back and forth sometimes i’m able to think more on the bright side and others not. I guess it depends how bad things are at the time. i think when its bad you almost have to have others remind you that it could be worse. its like for me at least i get to into myself and my own world and forget to look around and realize how lucky i am. that’s why i loved your random acts of kindness idea. it really made me think and look around at others and take off the blinders a bit.

    when it comes to running i am totally with you it seems like its never “perfect”. like you are saying you are feeling winded and dead legged BUT your hip pain is better. i feel like most of my runs either my body feels good but i have no wind or i could run all day lungs-wise but i hurt all over. its so rare to have everything working at the same time ! i guess i should be glad i can run at all. that’s the sweet !

  • Kristen March 21, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Where did you get that bedspread? Love it!

  • Lauren March 27, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Is that the West Elm Organic Cotton Pintuck Duvet Cover in Feather Grey? That’s the exact duvet cover I’m looking into getting. Do you like it? Any pros/cons to consider before purchasing?

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