When you feel life is giving you lemons you have a choice to make: you can accept your lemons or you can make lemonade. This means make it work for you. It may not be exactly how you want it, but it will be better than feeling like a victim and focusing on what is so unfair to you. We can’t control everything around us, but we can control how we experience a situation. Make it Work for You!!!
Examples of Life Lemons:
Being passed up for a promotion. Choices:
- Begin looking for another job while you continue to work and get a paycheck
- Remain on the job but feel bitter and disillusioned and risk demonstrating your poor attitude at work.
- Speak with your boss and learn why you didn’t get the promotion. You may find out that your company does value you and sees a future for you, but you need additional training first.
- If you find that you have no future with that company this gives you the choice to look for another position elsewhere and to think about what kind of fit you are looking for in a new job.
Learning that you can’t get off work for the full days of vacation that you have planned:
- You have a choice to cancel the vacation all together, either with resentment, or:
- Take the available days and prioritize the places and events you most want to experience in the amount of time available. Focus on enjoying the trip – don’t focus on the lost days.
- Plan the trip for another time when you can enjoy all of the days and places you planned.
Having to attend a family dinner that you do not want to attend:
- Take the resentment and anger you feel to the event. You will be feeling the resentment, not necessarily the other family members. What will this get you?
- Look for the positive moments or opportunities during the event to focus on: for example, the food you like, or the particular family members you enjoy. Limit the time with the family members you do not enjoy.
- Make additional plans to allow for an earlier departure.
- Take a companion with you if this is an option.
You make plans with a friend and he/she cancels at the last minute. You are really upset.
- Stay upset and not do anything the rest of the day or evening.
- Invite another friend who is available.
- Go by yourself. You never know….you might a make a new friend or dating prospect!
The point in all of these examples is that we have no control over life events sometimes. However, we do have control over how we choose to feel about something. We can stay disappointed, angry, bitter, resentful, etc. Or we can accept what is out of our control and focus on those things that will make the situation better. That is where our control lies.
When life gives you lemons the choice is up to you……resentment or LEMONADE!
- Think back to a time when something you planned did not work out. Did you stay focused on your negative feelings or did you begin to look at what would make the situation better?
- When you feel stuck in the negative feelings, what is your belief about what happened? Do you feel this is what you always get? Is this an expectation of how your life goes? If so, you need to change your focus and look for opportunities to make the situation better, especially if it is out of your control.
- We tend to experience and interpret things in the world in a way that matches our belief system. For example, if we believe that bad things happen to us, we end up looking for those things and often miss noticing when things go well. That’s human nature, but can really get in our way. Notice if you are focusing more on the negative things that occur and might be missing the good things.
- When things are not going your way, it’s OK to feel disappointed, but what matters more is what you choose to do about the situation. Be aware of where your focus takes you.