Life Brought Me a Sh*tload of Lemons—This Is How I Made Lemonade
We all know the saying, “When life brings you lemons, make lemonade.” I’ll be honest: Whenever life brought me lemons, it was sour, face-puckering torture and I didn’t like it one bit! To make something delightfully sweet and delicious was never my first inclination. Sometimes, when the lemons came, it was so awful I didn’t know how to turn them into something delectable. At other times, even though I didn’t like the lemons, I allowed them to repeatedly disgust me. My lemons consisted of child abuse, low self-worth, weight issues/eating disorder, dysfunctional relationships, divorce, depression, financial devastation, and sex addiction. These are some majorly acidic lemons, but I will tell you there is hope—and it is possible to make delicious lemonade.
I will say that my path to making lemonade has not been an easy one. It has been a process that has involved a lot of screwing up, surrendering, letting go, acceptance, and taking action. Lemonade is a great metaphor for life. It can be sour, sweet, spicy, boring, and exciting. The best lemonade has a bit of tanginess, is refreshing, and has the perfect amount of sweetness. I even like the lemonades that have a little cayenne pepper, ginger, and mint added to it, because they give it spice and dimension. Add some alcohol, and now we’re definitely having fun!
Here are the ingredients I have used to make lemonade:
Therapy: Even though I have always been fortunate to have very supportive friends in my life, your friends can only hear you bitch and moan for so long. After a while, they get tired and just want to you to move on with your life. This is where a therapist or life coach is great. They get paid to hear you bitch and moan, and they are there to help you get through whatever issues you have. Good therapists and coaches also have a neutral perspective, so they are not biased. They help you to get to the root of the problem and guide you to solutions to whatever is troubling you.
Spirituality: My connection to God (I use this term to refer to the spiritual omnipresent energy that is bigger than all of us) has helped me through some of my darkest hours. I have had moments in which I have wanted to commit suicide, but when that happened, I would feel something outside of myself; angels and spirits guiding me. Surprisingly, what got me through was the fact that I never felt like I was alone. There were times I would pray over and over, and I would ask for strength, guidance, and support. I always felt like God delivered.
Self-love: I will say this one was and still is the hardest to work on. My self-worth has always ranked pretty low, considering that I had an abusive childhood, dysfunctional relationships, and narcissistic partners. My hatred for myself has led me to eating disorders, irresponsible behavior, and addictions. Having compassion toward myself and treating myself with kindness is an everyday struggle. Yet I do understand that being able to accept yourself for who you are and being forgiving of yourself is crucial. If you don’t love yourself, then who truly will be able to love you? I believe we all attract people who are mirrors to show us who we are. This is why it is vital to be the best version of yourself, knowing that you will never be perfect. I have learned through many failed relationships that I must love myself, put my needs first, and understand I am deserving of someone who will love me. All of us have gifts that make us special. It is important to focus on what we love about ourselves instead of focusing on our shortcomings. It is important that we remain aware of our imperfections and not hate ourselves because of them. It is important to find the sweetness within ourselves instead of looking for it outside ourselves.
Shifting My Perspective: Many of us have to repeat actions and circumstances before we learn our lesson. How many times have you attracted the same type of person, and after getting your heart broken over and over again, you tell yourself this has to stop? In moments like these, I had to make the decision that I was going to shift my beliefs and change my actions. This is where therapy was very useful. So was sharing with my loved ones that I was serious about making changes—and I needed their support to help me if I was repeating any unhealthy behavior. This is not easy, and it requires commitment and dedication to change. I believe we can change if the desire is strong enough. We may still falter and have setbacks, but we need to get back up, forgive ourselves, and continue the work.