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When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemonade

“When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemonade” Meaning

When you are going through some hard times, how do people around you try to comfort you? Some of them probably used the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But what does that mean?

This phrase is a common proverbial phrase that inspires us to make something good from bad circumstances. 

As you know, the taste of lemons is sour, while lemonade is sweet after juicing lemons, diluted with water, and added with sugar. 

Thus lemons are often seen as a symbol for tough times in life. Making lemonade out of them means turning these difficulties into something good or positive.

As such, this phrase inspires optimism, resilience, and adaptability. However, is “make lemonade” so simple? Obviously not.

Here we’ll talk about what to do when life gives you lemons, why life gives lemons, and how to use it in your expression. 

What to Do When Life Gives You “Lemons”

Even when you think everything is going as you planned and expected, life may throw some lemons at you ahead. There is no point in trying to run away or hide from it; it is a natural part of our lives. The only thing you have control of is what you do with those lemons. 

Make Lemonade

When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemonade Meaning

When life gives you lemons, how do you make lemonade? Whenever life throws obstacles in front of you to stress you out, take a step back and think. If you can’t get what you want and can’t change the situation, what’s the next best thing? 

Also, if you find yourself in a bad situation, think of how you can make it better. Are there some things you can use to your advantage? There is a silver lining to everything, so make sure to find it and use it. Like the old saying “When a door closes, a window opens”.

The whole point of making lemonade is not to let your problems break you. No matter what happens or what kind of problem or obstacle you encounter, you will look for ways to make the best out of such a situation. 

Are “lemons” always bad? Then, sometimes, life takes an unexpected turn, and we feel like we have a new round of lemons (problems). However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Just because we haven’t expected or wanted something to happen, it doesn’t mean it is bad. 

“Lemons” aren’t always a bad thing. In some cases, they are a blessing in disguise. When one door shuts, another one opens. In other cases, they are simply unexpected and unplanned, so you might feel like they are bad, but they may not. 

Sit With the Bad

Sit with Lemons

Making the most out of each situation is certainly a good way to make something positive out of negative circumstances. But can you always make the most out of the situation? Should you try to make lemonade no matter what? 

Unfortunately, you will probably experience situations in which you don’t know how to make lemonade as life is not so simple. You may need months or even years to overcome that. 

So you don’t have to. Sometimes, it is perfectly fine to accept the lemons. Bad things simply happen. Learn to live with them.

Feeling the pressure always to make lemonade can make things even more difficult and unpleasant for you. Problems and all the pain, anger, fear, and worry that come with them are natural. Learn how to sit with those problems and feelings – your lemons.

Happiness and success aren’t the default. It is natural to go through hard times. Take your time to accept the lemons, live with them, and grow as a person because of them. After a while, your pain – your lemons will either fade away or you will learn how to live with it.   

Who knows, maybe you will find a way to make lemonade after some time has passed. The point is – you don’t always have to have an immediate solution to your problems and your pain. You don’t always have to jump to making lemonade immediately. 

Sometimes, it is wiser to accept the bad, sit with it, and feel it. Eventually, you will either get over it or learn how to live with it.  

Why Does Life Give Lemons?

When life gives you lemons, i.e., bad things happen to you, you probably wonder, “Why” and even “Why me?” There are several possible answers. The first one might be the least satisfying. 

Bad things simply happen. There is no higher reason. It is just how life works: like a mixture of bad and good things. Sometimes, bad things happen to you, and other times, you enjoy good things.

On the other side, if you believe that there is a higher purpose in life, then you also probably believe that nothing happens without a reason. Every lemon, every bad thing that happens to you is a lesson and an opportunity for you to grow.

And, when you think a bit more about it, it makes sense. Go back in time and think about things that bothered, worried, or hurt you when you were younger. You will realize how stronger, wiser, and more resourceful you are now, and the lemons from your past made you that way.

In other words, when life gives us lemons, it does it to either teach us a lesson or make us stronger and better. By doing this, life also teaches us to stay humble because we never know when we can get another lemon batch. 

Examples of Use

If you want to use this phrase, you need to use it correctly. Now that you know its meaning, you already understand which situations are appropriate to use this phrase. In general, you should use it when you want to talk about resilience, not giving up, and staying optimistic.

For example:

“I got laid off from my work, so I decided to start my own business. I guess when life gives you lemons, make a lemonade.”

“She couldn’t travel abroad because she had to take care of her sick mother. However, she used it as an opportunity to go back to the nearby college and finally get her diploma. Now, she is the first college graduate in her family. Life gave her lemons, and she made a lemonade.”

You can even use only a part of this phrase, and people will still understand what you want to say:

“It’s been a rough year for me, but I am making lemonade, you know?”

“Life has been giving him lemons lately.”

The first sentence means that the person saying it isn’t giving up. The second sentence means that life has been hard for the mentioned person. As you can see, you can use this phrase rather creatively and play with words; you don’t have to quote it word for word.


“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a powerful phrase that inspires us to stay optimistic in the face of adversity. 

When you hope for one thing but get something different from life, just adjust your goals, and try to look for a way to make something sweet out of something bitter. 

But it’s also okay if you cannot make lemonade at the moment, sit with it.

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