The other day a good friend of mine and I were discussing the general notion of ‘making lemonade from lemons’ He framed the counter-point argument in a metaphor that I thought was really insightful.
In general, I have never been happy about my lot in life. I wouldn’t call it a full-fledged depression, but it certainly is a disappointment. Things have never gone the way I want and I have always had abnormally high expectations for myself. This translates to a perpetual sense of not achieving my goals and unhappiness with that situation. There are aspects of my life that go well, and others that are absolutely wonderful. I don’t negate or ignore either.
But when things don’t go according to plan, I don’t actively celebrate the positives in that particular scenario. I don’t look for the ‘silver lining’, the ‘bright side’, or ‘the positives’. I see no need. Just because I am unhappy with a situation does not mean that I need to reframe my context of that situation to make it positive. It is what it is. It has positive aspects, but the overall occurrence is not positive and focusing on those aspects only degrades my full objective as unworthy of expecting success. I won’t do that. If I want an Aston Martin but can only afford a Ford Focus, there is no need to celebrate my new car for it being a new car. Yes that is nice, just don’t tell me that my desire for the Vontage was unrealistic to start with and that I should embrace what I have.
I reject that whole proposition. When something doesn’t go the way you want, fight back at it. Don’t give up on what you really want. This brings me to the metaphor of my good friend. Sometimes it is good to fight back. Sometimes you have to. Accepting something for what it is, or as a ‘learning experience’ is a copout. If your job is going in a way you don’t like, don’t embrace it as a ‘learning experience.’ You have to fight back. If you get accused of a crime unfairly, going to jail is not a “great opportunity for growth.” No. It sucks no matter how good 3 squares a day, endless time to read, and that societal experience might be. Fighting back makes sense. Defending yourself is right. Your goals, no matter how unrealistic, is justified.
“Making lemonade” is just about dumping a ton of sugar into lemon juice. It still tastes sour.