Being salty means being bitter towards something or someone. When others make you salty, they ‘leave a bad taste in your mouth’. Of course, they don’t physically put something bitter in your mouth. But it certainly feels that way.
Human experiences are fascinating, as always.
It’s natural to feel bitter towards someone when they intentionally harm you. But bitterness goes beyond that. Humans are naturally selfish and competitive. We also feel bitter towards someone if they get ahead of us.
Following are the situations that have the potential to trigger your bitterness:
- When your best friend doesn’t invite you to a party
- When your friend gets better grades than you
- When your sibling gets a higher paying job than you
- When your parent fails to meet your demand
- When you lose a game
- When your crush doesn’t reply to your texts
- When your relationship partner talks to an attractive person
- When your roommate leaves a mess
- When you believe that life is unfair
Saltiness vs resentment
There’s an important difference between being bitter and being resentful. Resentment is accumulated bitterness. If your bitterness lingers longer than it should, it turns into resentment. Resentment is a poison for relationships.
Therefore, it’s important that you learn how to stop being salty or at least understand what’s making you so bitter.
Ways to stop being salty
We have little control over how we feel, but we do have a good deal of control over how we respond to our feelings. Hence, you can’t really avoid or stop feeling salty, but you can definitely stop being salty.
Following are the important mindsets and practices that will help you better deal with your saltiness:
- Analyze your bitterness
- Choose whether to express your bitterness
- See things from others’ perspectives
- Realize it’s okay to lose and fail
- Embrace your dark side
- Accept that life can be unfair
1. Analyze your bitterness
See situations that trigger your bitterness as opportunities for self-understanding and self-improvement. What triggers you is often what you need to heal.
When you give yourself time and space to analyze your bitterness, you’re less likely to leave a bad taste in others’ mouths. You’re too focused on yourself.
Try figuring out what’s making you feel bitter and what you can do about it.
2. Choose whether to express your bitterness
If your bitterness is warranted, it’s a good idea to express it. But only with people close to you. People who’re not close to you are less likely to care about your bitterness. They’ll most likely accuse you of being ‘too sensitive‘.
As a rule, express your bitterness in close relationships when you can. It’ll give the other person an opportunity to clarify things. If they really care about you, they’ll care about addressing your bitterness, warranted or not.
For people that aren’t close to you and who make you bitter, it’s a good idea to focus more on assertiveness. Present your bitterness as minor discomfort. Let them know how they’ve inconvenienced you in an unemotional manner.
When your bitterness is unwarranted, the best way to deal with it is to not express it at all. Resolve it in your own mind. This is why an analysis of bitterness is the crucial first step.
3. See things from others’ perspectives
This is by far one of the most important social skills to develop. I practice it all the time. I still feel I have a long way to go.
We’re wired to care much more about ourselves than about others. This gets in the way of trying to put ourselves in others’ shoes. When we see things from others’ perspectives, we often find they had good reasons to do what they did. They weren’t intentionally harmful toward us, even though what they did made us salty.
If you’re salty because someone’s more successful than you, think about how hard they must have worked to get where they are. They’re just like you with their own dreams and goals. They deserve to reap the fruits of their hard work. How would you feel if someone got embittered by your hard-earned success? Exactly.
4. Realize it’s okay to lose and fail
So many people- even those who consider themselves enlightened- suffer from this problem. Yes, failing and losing feels bad. It’s okay. Life’s about winning and losing. You can’t win all the time.
I was once playing an indoor game with a person close to me. They were consistently losing, and I could sense it was making them salty. I lost on a couple of occasions, too. It didn’t feel great, but I was more or less okay with it.
When they kept losing, they kept saying, “Let’s play another game” so they could eventually win. When they finally won, they didn’t want to play again.
At this point, I was laughing internally. I couldn’t believe winning was so important to them. After all, it was only a game. I didn’t ask them to play another game because I’m okay with losing.
The incident got me thinking, though. Some people are so afraid of losing and failing that they won’t even try things. What a poor and stifling mindset to have.
5. Embrace your dark side
Another problem that many people have is that they have too high an opinion of themselves. They think they’re noble souls and morally superior to others.
When they get embittered over petty things, this moral high ground of theirs is shattered. When they’re brought face to face with their darkness, they can’t handle it. They may also get an identity crisis.
The solution to this is to embrace your dark side. We all have an evil side to us we like to keep hidden, and for good reasons.
The key is to remember that those evil tendencies come as part of the package of being human. You can’t really get rid of them. But you can use them as a force for good.
For example, your competitiveness can drive you to become successful and do good in the world.
Being moral isn’t:
“I’m free from all evils.”
Being moral is:
“I know I have both good and evil tendencies. I’d like to make the best use of both to live a life in alignment with my values.”
6. Accept that life can be unfair
Life doesn’t owe you anything. Life isn’t a person you can expect to be fair. Don’t be good so that life can be good to you. Be good because you want to. Many people live in the mistaken belief that if they’re good, life will bestow good things upon them.
Whatever happens, happens. It often has nothing to do with the type of person you are. Karma isn’t real. So, there’s no point in feeling bitter towards life.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. I’ve published one book and authored 300+ articles and on this blog (started in 2014) that have garnered over 4 million views. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur. Feel free to contact me if you have a query.