How to make these sour times more sweet

Photo credit: Giorgio Trovato

Sometimes the weather affects our mood, and other times it reflects our mood. It’s been unusually gloomy in New York this week, and that seems to be how many people are feeling these days as the overall fatigue, stress and uncertainty of our current crisis continue to weigh upon us (now over seven months in, with no significant relief in the near future), and the contentious battle for who gets to run our country, at least for the next four years, is nearing the finish line.

From my perspective, these are the times when, like Beyonce, you make lemonade. When life serves you lemons or just feels a bit sour, go ahead and squeeze those lemons, or surrender to the squeezing you’re experiencing in life — after which you can add (or will simply feel) some sweetness (i.e., a burden is lifted, you find a liberating solution or do something fun!) and find yourself refreshed and uplifted as a result.

In other words, instead of suffering under or trying to avoid the squeeze, EMBRACE it by seeing what it’s trying to get out of you: What illumination, release and insights can come of the pressure, malaise, anxiety or fear? What are you being asked to understand, change or reveal to yourself and/or to others? This takes some mental and emotional elbow grease through self-reflection, which could involve a little heavy-duty butt-shaking to some rockin’ funky tunes — thank you, Beyonce — in order to expel that energy and/or bring out the aha feelings that will get you unstuck.

That last bit is especially effective if you’re feeling blah or frustrated, or maybe even angry or enraged. The energy needs to get out. Those of you who attended my Self Care in the Midst of Sea Change Talk (encore presentation coming mid-November!) know that dance/movement is just one of the tools I mention. The bottom line is that we have to confront and make the best of this time and use it as the productive, albeit challenging, opportunity it presents. The more of us who do this, the better off we will come out on the other side, as I talk about in this essay, as well as here, here, or here.

Therefore, in the days ahead, become a detective and keep excavating to get to the root of your sour stuckness (or hire me as your Sherlock Holmes ;). A major clue is always in how you feel about or treat yourself, as everything follows from there. The absence of self-worth, imho, is the real pandemic in our society, so what can you do to connect more with the innermost part of yourself and really acknowledge, accept and love who you are?

Another powerful tool is gratitude, so if you don’t already have a practice of acknowledging things to be grateful for every day, now would be a good time to start. And expressing your appreciation to others can make all the difference in someone’s life, especially right now, as we all need our spirits lifted as much as possible. You can watch my thoughts about this particular point on IGTV or YouTube, and see this Instagram post or this one for some examples :)

For more inspiration and motivation, you can check out this video about why we need to be kind and compassionate with ourselves, and this Instagram post reminds you the smallest things can make the biggest impact. For something a little more in-depth about my thoughts on personal growth, communication and healing, check out this podcast-style interview with Rick Young of What’s in Your Hand Radio Show.

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Kristina Leonardi is a nationally recognized career and life coach, speaker and author who for over 13 years has empowered individuals to make lasting professional and personal changes aligned with their true passions and talents while fulfilling their role in the world at large. With a holistic and personal growth-oriented approach, she has helped hundreds of men and women over the past decade improve their job performance, enter or re-enter the job force, change careers, better manage their time and stress, and live happier, more meaningful, balanced lives. Her specialty is working with people who feel stuck or are in transition and can help you clarify exactly what you want to do, identify blocks, issues, and patterns in your way, and offer proven ideas, resources, and action steps to get you there.

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