Sitting with My Lemons
June 8, 2012 6 Comments
Or the funnier version, “When life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt?”
Sayings like these help to make light out of our everyday struggles. When a particular struggle is really not that bad, little anecdotes are great. They give us a small boost, a giggle (or eyeroll), and we move on with our day. But for more serious situations – when there is real difficulty – lemonade just doesn’t seem to cut it.
Why do we have a need to fix things quickly? Instant gratification isn’t always better. In some ways, it can be downright harmful. When real problems present themselves, should we just make the best of it as the sayings suggest and move on? Why are we so scared of sitting with our lemons?
Because it makes us uncomfortable. Our Real Struggles make us realize we aren’t in control. Life isn’t working out according to our plan. We feel miserable, and call ourselves names such as “Stupid,” or ”Failure.” Or we look for a scapegoat for our lemons, and call ourselves by another name: “Victim.” We internalize this negative thought, and rush to make that lemonade, because that is what society dictates we should do. Anything but a smile is just not good enough. Expressing our uncertainty is bad. Don’t let them see your weakness.
I have been blaming myself for years now. Beating myself up emotionally for something that is beyond my control. And I admit, making that hypothetical lemonade and just moving on had a strong appeal. But with a struggle this huge… There is just so much that needed to be faced, questioned, and understood. Sitting with my lemons was terrifying, but incredibly necessary. It has given me an incredible resource: a revelation of my true inner strength, at a magnitude I did not think I was capable of. And the knowledge that any future lemons sent my way are not something to be feared and squashed. I will sit with them when they come. Confront. Understand. Be.
Things cannot be bright and shiny all the time. We cannot try to assuage the dark times in our lives by dousing them with sugar. Through this process I have come to realize that Real growth occurs when we embrace the balance.
After all, a roller coaster is not much fun if it’s just climbing, or falling, all of the time. It’s the balance of the two that makes the ride great.