Have you ever found yourself in a long lasting stressful situation? Cough cough–maybe a global pandemic? LOL. During one of our DBT consultation meetings in August of 2020, part of our mindfulness practice was in fact to “make lemonade out of lemons,” that is “find something sweet out of something sour”. I remember thinking that my lemon was moving to virtual sessions and the lemonade was that I was still able to help my clients. Another lemon that came up during the practice was not being able to travel. Boy were there a few lemons of travel plans that were canceled!! Once I squeezed all those lemons and mixed them with some sugar and water, I realized that not traveling helped me save money! Voila=Lemonade from a global pandemic. Creating meaning out of a pandemic helped me continue to deal with some of these difficulties by shedding positivity on a negative event.
In DBT, we use a lot of acronyms to highlight skills. In the IMPROVE skills, the “M” stands for “Meaning”. The goal of using this skill is to create meaning from a situation that is difficult or overwhelming if your distracting and self soothing skills are not working. Have you ever seen the movie “Silver Linings Playbook?” If so, you know exactly what I’m referring to! If you have not, I’ve given you a movie suggestion! Creating meaning out of something is often referred to as “finding the silver lining”. When looking for a silver lining, it’s important to cultivate your own meaning! It won’t be much of a silver lining if you can’t come up with one yourself.
Creating meaning from stressful and difficult events can help change negative events into positive events by making the moment more positive. Making lemonade out of lemons helps us get through those difficult times. I challenge you to look at a recent lemon and get to work on making some lemonade!!
Below is a cute video I would like to share. I use it when I teach the IMPROVE skill in DBT skills class! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.