“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
I grew up in a house where thankfully self-help books sat perched on a few shelves and countertops but never became an obsessive habit.
My parents – my dad especially – advocated looking at the positive side of negative scenarios.
My parents were not perfect however and like all parents made plenty of mistakes – spoke negatively, raised their voice at times, became depressed or angered.
It was certainly an authentic balance between the ideal and real.
Strangely, I grew up fearful and seemingly a tad unhappy. So I’ve spent the greater part of my fully conscious life teetering between a slight discontent and a desire to be positive and bright.
It hasn’t come it easy. It doesn’t come easy.
I know that in each moment, my perspective is all that determines the energy of the situation and my eventual response. I only have control over that.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m in control though. It feels like the situation can only be negative and dark and that my view is realistic.
But am I really seeing it clearly?
In every moment, we do have a choice in how we view it. We may have less of a choice in what exactly happens (although some would argue otherwise, but that’s a topic for another day).
The most recent example for me was soon to be three years ago when my mom committed suicide. While we knew a tragic end would most likely be my mom’s leaving, the abrupt reality shakes you to the core of a you you may have never known.
When she died, it seemed like my mind erected a protective mechanism so that is could function “normally” and not make a scene. There was this interplay between my ego and my true Nature. My ego knows only patterns – bad situation happens, wall up. My true Nature knowns only acceptance – bad situation happens, crumble and float.
Again, in this moment there is still a choice in how it’s viewed even if it’s inherently dark. Many supporters of the bereaved, often say such things as: “They’re in a better place” or “At least she’s not in pain anymore” or “She would have wanted you to be strong.”
When have you ever heard someone say, “I think you should curl up and the floor and wail because it looks like that’s what you need.”
And it probably is what you need.
But the ego and the “choice” precedes your deep Nature’s calling.
There are no awards for “Most Honest” or “Most Emotionally Open” or “Most Centered.”
There are awards for “Most Courageous” or “Strongest” or “Toughest”.
We value the positive, strong, tough, resilient, brave. As we should. There is honor in being those.
There’s also honor in being human and giving in.
Sometimes we need to cry and to break down and to give in and to give up and to fall down and to feel helpless. In the suffering and more importantly the recognition of the suffering, we grow. Real, deep, authentic growth.
I believe there is room for both – for the “choice” and the acceptance. And it’s a balancing act learning when to do which.
When my mom died, the moments where I was furthest from my true Nature and acted in ways that were hurtful or destructive were after periods of “walling up” and covering my true emotions. It taught me that value in breaking down and asking for help because when I didn’t, I wasn’t happy with how I related to others and the world around me.
The reality is that, even this is a choice some may say – to choose to be positive and upbeat or to choose to give in. I think what you can search for in those moments that seem effortless and easy is, what is your Nature calling you to do?
Stand up? Or give in?
Neither is wrong. They both have their place.
And they both serve a purpose. But instead of always feeling the need to get over something and be strong, you can realize . . .
Sometimes when life gives you lemons, it’s okay to throw them against the wall.