There are many ways to react to the bitter events of our lives—anger, sadness, despair. But what usually makes us respond with bitterness is the feeling that what we have suffered is not fair; we are the victims of injustice and it rankles. Some examples where we might feel bitter: We were punished for a transgression that someone else did; we were fired from a job when we are more qualified than others who remain; we were conned out of money; a friend has cast us off for no reason. It leaves a bitter aftertaste in our mouths that is difficult to dispel.

While feeling bitter may be justified in our eyes, it’s not a way to endear ourselves to others or improve our predicament. Moreover, it punishes us more than anyone else.

Following are 11 thoughts to reflect upon to sweeten any distasteful feelings.

1. Don’t go overboard.

The first case of bitterness in the Bible was Cain. He was jealous that his brother’s offering received more favor than his. It was more than jealousy; it was bitterness. After all, didn’t he also bring a sacrifice? Shouldn’t he also get credit? Cain’s bitterness led him to committing the first murder. When we’re bitter, we can destroy relationships that are valuable to us. While we certainly want what we perceive as justice, we often act in ways that are exaggerated in pursuit of it. The Torah says, “Pursue justice justly” (Deut. 16:20). And that’s hard to do when we’re feeling bitter.

2. Be patient.

Fruit is often sour and bitter while it is ripening. It is only when it’s at its ripe state that it becomes sweet. We can’t see the outcome of many injustices that we suffer. The time is not ripe yet, and it is only later that we may come to understand why some things that made us bitter at the time were actually sweet. Sometimes, the big picture is hard to see at one glance.

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3. It’s a test.

Every irritating, unjust, frustrating, unfair and painful thing that happens to us is for our personal growth. They are our daily workshops in anger management, positive mindset development, solution-oriented thinking and even practice combating the injustices of the world for ourselves and others.

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4. Choose to pray.

Bitterness, like every other emotion, is a choice. We can choose our emotions and our reactions. We can charge at the windmills with our sword drawn and our banners unfurled, or we can pray that G‑d will give us the strength to withstand the ordeal and that He will help us solve the problem.

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5. A spoonful of sugar.

When you’re enduring something that’s making you bitter, sweeten the deal. Do something that will restore your perception of life as sweet. The same way we add sugar to coffee and sweetener to medicine, do something that will calm and relax you. And look at the sweetness that emanates from the situation itself, whether it is another person’s commiseration or help from an unlikely source.

6. Wallow a bit, and then let it go.

Immerse yourself in the pain and injustice, the tears and the hopelessness. Set a specific time—a few hours, maybe a couple of days—then let go and move on. You can nurse the hurt for only so long before it starts eating away at you. Literally.

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7. Take action, then step back.

Do what you have to do to remedy the situation and right the wrong, and then step back. You did what you could. If it worked, great; if it didn’t, there’s nothing left to do besides accept it and do damage control.

8. Don’t extrapolate.

The whole world isn’t evil, and life is not worthless because of one injustice. Think where the Jewish people would be today if they complained incessantly about all the wrongs done to them as a people over the millennia. Their strength and survival is that they never did that. They survived because after every inquisition, pogrom, exile—even after the Holocaust—they regrouped, and went on to grow and succeed in other ways. After all, the best revenge is success.

Watch: You Can Change Bitter to Sweet

9. Learn the lesson.

What have you learned from this? How will it change your present and future? How will you deal with things differently?

10. The Rambam tells us to follow the “golden mean.”

Each emotion should be balanced. If it’s not, the solution is to go to the other extreme. If you’re miserly, you must be extremely generous in order to restore balance. If you’re a glutton, intermittent fasting is a good solution. If you’re bitter, be very, very sweet. We all have friends with a sweet disposition who are seemingly never thrown off-balance. Model yourself after them and spew sweetness until you restore the level of sugar in your temperament.

Watch: How to Avoid Becoming Bitter

11. Forgive.

It’s difficult, but it’s necessary to restore emotional balance. Whoever has wronged you does not feel the negativity of your bitterness. Only you do, and the only way to get rid of it is by forgiving. If not for them, then for you.

Comprehensive Course: The Jewish Path to Forgiveness