Quotations about   bitterness

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Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns all clean.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
In Mary Chamberlain, ed., Writing Lives: Conversations Between Women Writers (1988)
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Added on 6-Apr-18 | Last updated 6-Apr-18
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To me, bitterness is the under-arm odor of wishful weakness. It is the graceless acknowledgment of defeat.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Dust Tracks on a Road, ch. 16 (1942)
Added on 1-Nov-17 | Last updated 1-Nov-17
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Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Stride Toward Freedom, “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression” (1958)
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Added on 2-Sep-17 | Last updated 2-Sep-17
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This is no day for the rabble-rouser, whether he be Negro or white. We must realize that we are grappling with the most weighty social problem of this nation, and in grappling with such a complex problem there is no place for misguided emotionalism. We must work passionately and unrelentingly for the goal of freedom, but we must be sure that our hands are clean in the struggle. We must never struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice. We must never become bitter. I know how we feel sometime. There is the danger that those of us who have been forced so long to stand amid the tragic midnight of oppression—those of us who have been trampled over, those of us who have been kicked about — there is the danger that we will become bitter. But if we will become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns, the new order which is emerging will be nothing but a duplication of the old order.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Give Us the Ballot,” Speech, Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Washington, DC (1957)
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Added on 8-Jun-17 | Last updated 8-Jun-17
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As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) South African revolutionary, politician, statesman
(Attributed)

On his release from 27 years behind bars. Quoted by Hillary Clinton from a conversation she had with him.
Added on 16-May-17 | Last updated 23-May-17
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Cynics are simply thwarted romantics.

William Goldman (b. 1931) American screenwriter, novelist
The Princess Bride (1973)
Added on 8-Sep-15 | Last updated 8-Sep-15
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Envy, like flame, blackens that which is above it, and which it cannot reach.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Aug-15 | Last updated 20-Aug-15
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I never complained that my birthday was overlooked; people were even surprised, with a touch of admiration, by my discretion on this subject. But the reason for my disinterestedness was even more discrete: I longed to be forgotten in order to be able to complain to myself.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
The Fall (1956)
Added on 8-Jun-15 | Last updated 8-Jun-15
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I don’t want to be bitter about life — about love and friendship and all the human emotional entanglements. I’ve had more than my share of human disappointments, deprivations, disillusionment. I want to love people and life above all; I want to be able to say always, “if you feel bitter or disillusioned, there is something wrong with yourself, not with people, not with life.”

Henry Miller (1891-1980) American novelist
Letter to Anaïs Nin (24 May 1933)
Added on 26-May-15 | Last updated 26-May-15
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Bad temper is its own scourge. Few things are bitterer than to feel bitter. A man’s venom poisons himself more than his victim.

Charles Buxton (1823-1871) English brewer, philanthropist, writer, politician
Notes of Thought (1873)
Added on 5-May-15 | Last updated 5-May-15
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Remember too on every occasion which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 4, #49 [tr. Long]
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Alt. trans. [Staniforth (1964)]: "Here is a rule to remember in the future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not, 'This is a misfortune,' but 'To bear this worthily is good fortune.'"
Added on 7-Feb-12 | Last updated 26-May-15
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And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
‘Tis that I may not weep.

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 4, st. 4 (1820)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jun-16
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