Happy and Sad? | The Feeling of Bittersweet

Hello Everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

This weekend, I experienced a feeling that I think all of us have felt at one point in time.  The feeling of bittersweet!

Now, for me personally, I do not experience bittersweet very often.  It is something that seems to happen every few months, and it is a very unique feeling.  That is why I wanted to write a post about bittersweetness.  Not only is bittersweet a oxymoron, unique and confusing, but it is also something that is relevant to me right now.  So lets talk about the feeling of bittersweet!

What is Bittersweet?

Bittersweet originally is used to describe a specific type of flavor or taste.  The definition of bittersweet is “Sweet with a bitter aftertaste”.
TTH_BittersweetDefObviously, there are other definitions that do not make any logical sense (aka, nightshade).  But bittersweet is basically the combination of two opposing things…sweet and bitter, resulting from a specific thing or moment.

Bittersweet is Conflicting Feelings

As with almost any word, bittersweet is usually a word used to describe a particular phycological experience.  Like flavor, bittersweet is the sensation of having two conflicting feelings simultaneously, or very close together.  For example, when someone feels happy (sweet) and sad (bitter).  When you watch the final episode of a TV show, see a person for the last time or eat the last French fry, can all cause the feeling of bittersweet.  The experience causes a feeling of happiness or satisfaction, but it also causes a separate feeling of being sad or depressed.  Bittersweet is when you have a positive emotion and a negative emotion at conflict.  Since you feel two drastic emotions, it can cause a sort of emotional conflict or limbo.

Simultaneous or Sequential?

When thinking about bittersweet, we usually think of the two feelings conflicting simultaneously.  However, that is not always the case.  Since it is very rare for someone not to experience a “dominant” emotion, it may be more likely that the conflicting feelings are experienced sequentially.

What I mean by “Sequentially” is that a person will perhaps feel joy, but than suddenly switch to feeling sad.  But than in a few seconds, feel joy, and the cycle continues.  The idea is that a person can only detect a single emotion, which is mainly their most dominant one.  With bittersweet, instead of experiencing the two feelings at the same time, you may actually be switching between two emotions rapidly.  While the emotions may not be felt at the same time, it causes the same conflicting feeling, which is bittersweet.

Bittersweet is more bitter than sweet

I know the word says bitter and sweet, but personally, bitter usually seems to outweigh the sweet side.  Of course, this is not always the case.  But negative emotions are more likely to invade on our positive feelings, than positive feelings overpowering negative feelings.  Human beings are more likely to think and focus on the negative.

According to research done by Michigan State University, an individually thinks about 80,000 thoughts a day, and 80% of those thoughts are negative.  That means only 20% of your thoughts are actually positive.  So it is no wonder that when we have two conflicting emotions that the negative emotion will be more prominent over the positive emotion.  That is probably why not very many people like to feel bittersweet.

What to do when feeling bittersweet

Bittersweet is a complex, paradoxical and confusing feeling that can affect all of us.  We all wish that we could feel only a single emotion, and never have to feel bittersweet.  But unfortunately, wishing does not make things come true.  We will experience situations that will invoke multiple emotions, but it is important to keep fighting through it.  So here are a few things to do when feeling bittersweet:

  • Remember the sweet!  It is easy to let the “bitter” consume what you think about most, but make a conscious effort to remember the good.  Try recalling the times that made you happy, and perhaps, just a little bit, it will make you feel a little better.
  • Never say never!  When thinking, it is easy to think in absolutes (like never, always, etc.).  Instead of thinking, “He is always mean to me!” or “They will never like me!”, try not to use absolute words.  “He is mean to me right now” or “They currently do not like me”.  Absolute terms put your thoughts (and thus, your emotions) into a corner, trapped with no ‘hope’.  By using and staying away from these absolute terms, it allows the negative thoughts to not be as controlling and corrosive.
  • Take your time!  Often times, rushing your thoughts and emotions does not make you come to a conclusion faster, but purely makes it more chaotic.  Slow down and rationalize exactly what you are feeling, and why.  Too often, people jump to conclusions that are drastic, because they have not thought rationally.

Obviously, I am just a random guy on the internet, I am not a professional or expert.

Bittersweet is something that is often times considered an insignificant phenomenon.  But bittersweet is not allows a “Fluffy, cute feeling, with a hint of sadness”.  Bittersweet is something that we all have to deal with, whether big or small, severe or meaningless.

Have you felt bittersweet before?  I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the whole subject.  I hope you all have a great week, and remember…do WLYF!

5 thoughts on “Happy and Sad? | The Feeling of Bittersweet

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: