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When life gives you lemons

The saying goes “when life gives you lemons – make lemonade”. It’s easy to translate the meaning of this quote. As difficult as life may get, you can turn your lemons (difficult moments) into something great. It’s all about perception, and positivity. But when you’re in the thick of your lemons, it can actually be really hard!

We had some unfortunate news earlier this year, and it got me stuck in a right rut. It was not what I wanted. It was outside my control. It was a right pain in the butt, for want of a better phrase. I’m really not used to these moments. I am a control freak, and like to constantly have my finger on the pulse. If change is going to happen, I need to be aware of it before it does, and I need to know how and where. No surprises. The worst part about this situation is I tried desperately to hold myself together – without support. For a few days anyway. The kids would go to bed, and I would succumb to tears, I would be up all hours of the night, unable to sleep. I lost focus with what and however I was eating, which anyone who knows me well, will know food is pretty high on my priority list! I can tell you now it’s not good for a breastfeeding mummy! Stress, lack of sleep and lack of regular meals is not a healthy route to pursue.
I thought I was holding myself together, but I knew deep down I wasn’t. My husband was doing a great job of propping me up when he was home, but for the first time in the past seven months, I hated being stuck at home all day long. I desperately wanted to be out of the house, concentrating on a job. A project. Something completely emotionally separate from me that I could focus all my energy on.

So I decided to take a little note out of the EKOYou framework and seek support. I actually find it really hard to do this. I feel like I’m offloading a burden onto another person, who already has their own baggage to carry. I would ask someone how they are doing, and if their response was in anyway a struggle or hard time for them, I immediately withdrew and knew I wouldn’t be asking them for help. But I knew I needed to talk to someone. So I sent a good friend a long message. And she came back with some simple, sound, effective advice.

‘Breathe. Allow some time for clarity – it will come. Things will work out the way they are meant to. Have faith’.

She told me I come across as someone quite unflappable. And to be honest, I know it’s true. Because I very rarely will seek support outside my close bubble of individuals, my husband and my family. I try to present as a complete person with all my ducks in a row always. But it is so not true! We all have stuff going on in life sometimes. Some of us just choose to hide them really really well.

It can be hard to regain clarity when you’re in the heart of your problem. It can sometimes feel like everything is closing in. Overwhelming to the point of breaking. But clarity does come. It might take a while, it’s different for everyone. But you will get there. I did. It took the better part of two months for me to accept the situation, and be comfortable enough to know that it is what it is and I need to carry on living a full life. To stop waiting for something worse to happen and just enjoy the moments I have now.

Making lemonade can be really tricky. Being positive when you feel like the rug has been ripped out from beneath you seems impossible. Everyone goes through those feelings. It happens in life when you lose control of a situation and you are forced to adapt to the new circumstances. If you think you’re struggling to regain clarity, I encourage you to seek support. Talk to a friend, a family member, a stranger! Talk to me. Write a letter to yourself. Or write a blog. Get those feelings outside of your body and examine them for what they are, either by yourself or with your support person. Is it fear of change? Grief for something you’ve lost? Then turn your perspective around. How can you gain from this situation? What is one positive aspect you can find about this sudden change of events? Just one thing. I know it can be really hard to find one thing, but when you do, that’s when clarity begins to enter. You have one tiny piece of positivity to cling to. See if you can find another.

Remember lemonade is still made with lemons, so even though you have created a new product, the lemons are part of the creation. They will still be there. And that makes it okay to remember the feelings the lemons give. But try not to stay there. Go back to your positive pieces, your clarity, and focus on them. Eventually your life will pass from this moment, you’ll be in a new spot in life, and you’ll be thankful the lemons sent you to this new place.

With love,



  • Amy McLean

Amy’s life experiences have formed the values and ideals she lives by today. Coming from a desire to help others she has knowledge, passion and ideas to encourage change and personal growth. Amy is passionate about growing the strength of support networks, through appreciation of others and seeking to understand before being understood (S Covey, 1989). She believes in self-evaluation and constantly striving to find ways to grow.

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