When it’s good, it’s really good.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade instead. That’s my motto here. So how do we make lemonade after a tragic loss, a horrific diagnosis, a debilitating illness (again, mental illness is included here), losing a job, suffering from addiction, divorce. You get the idea.

Well, for me, I know that the lemons I have been given in this life have made the lemonade pretty damn sweet.

What do I mean by that?

I mean, I appreciate life. I appreciate it. So much. Second by second. Minute by minute. Breath by breath.

But not that I didn’t before. And I’m guessing you’re thinking, so you’re telling me that I have to find myself in a horrific situation to really appreciate life? No, certainly not. Bear with me here.

Remember the motto? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade instead. Let’s focus on the lemons part of this first. “Life gives you lemons.” That’s it. We can’t control it. We can’t control what kind of lemons we get, how many, how often, etc. But, what we can control is what we want to do with them. Here enters the second part of this motto, the lemonade part. So are we making lemonade or letting them rot?

For those dealing with lemons:

It sucks. You have lemons and it sucks. It’s not fair. It hurts. Why you? Why us? Why? First, the thing you should never focus on is the “what ifs” (i.e. what if this never happened, what if I was still healthy, what if I never did that, what if I never went there). This way of thinking is toxic and won’t get you anywhere. If anything, you’ll be worse off than you were before.

What will help in a lemon situation is focusing on what you do have and if you must compare, compare yourself to someone who has it worse off (as much as I don’t like saying that) because sadly, there’s always someone who has it worse than you. Enter: reframing. Changing the way you think about a situation.

Now of course if you have lemons (like most of us do), you have every right to be sad, irritated, and just plain angry. That’s normal, healthy, and part of the journey. This may take some time to get past. I know it took me years. And I went back to these feelings/stages quite a few times. In fact, I still do. Again, part of the journey. But once you’ve allowed yourself to fully feel these feelings, you’re ready for the lemonade stage (even if you find yourself reverting back every now and then – that’s okay, just don’t stay there for too long). Instead of lingering on what we’ve lost, how things should be different, the life we imagined, we must change our way of thinking. Think about what you do have.

*Note: Of course, there will be times that you feel down and angry at your situation regardless of how hard you work on reframing. That’s normal and that’s okay. Just try not to stay here too long. You can take a step back and still take a step forward the next day. It’s all in your time. There are no rules, just guidelines.

For everyone else:

Remember earlier when I said that you’re probably wondering if I’m telling you that you have to suffer a tragedy to truly appreciate life? I said that wasn’t the case. And, it’s not. So if you’re one of the lucky ones who haven’t experienced lemons in your life then flat out be grateful for that and use that as motivation to help others who are. Be nicer, be more sympathetic, be more loving. Because, in all honesty, there are millions of people who wish they were in your shoes. So use my page as a resource to help you appreciate the life that you do have and use to it to help those around you because in reality, most of us are dealing with some sort of lemons day in and day out.

For me, I’m trying to turn my lemons into lemonade by helping others. You’ll have to do some searching and figure out a positive way that you can use your lemons for lemonade. I’ll help you. Remember, for me, this hasn’t happened over night. It has taken many steps back, lots of searching, hard work, and determination to get where I am today.

But I promise, if I can do it, you can too.


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