While we often say to someone “I understand how you feel,” in reality we can’t. That is what this proverb reminds us. While others can have some experience with and appreciation of what I am feeling, my emotions in this specific situation are unique. This verse addresses our feelings of both “bitterness” and “joy,” noting that “no one else can share” or really know the depth of my emotions.
Neither, too, can they be either the cause of or solution to my feelings. Only I know and feel all this and only I can ultimately deal with it appropriately. Thus it is ultimately my responsibility, which means I need to identify my own emotions; recognize why I feel that way; and finally address the root causes.
If I am feeling bitterness, it is my choice. I can also walk around in joy if I choose to do so. When I learn how to do this for myself, others will see it and will ask how I do it. While I can’t totally understand their situation, I can show them how to identify and address their own emotions, too.
So I need to face my own pains and sorrows (“bitterness”) and embrace my “joys” in this life. I should also be able to speak honestly about it to others – that will be helpful to both them and me. But in the end they are my emotions, and only I can feel them and address them!