Making Lemonade: Turning Setbacks into Opportunities with the “Sweet Lemon” Effect

  Have you ever had this experience? When you go to the mall to buy clothes, you fall in love with a piece of clothing that you like very much but the price is very expensive. After much hesitation, you decide to buy another piece that you don’t like enough but has a good price. You comfort yourself by buying it. This one is actually better.
  For another example, the candidate initially set a goal for himself to be admitted to an undergraduate college, but in the end he was not admitted to an undergraduate college, but only to a vocational college. So he comforted himself: “It is better to be admitted to a vocational college. The years are short, so you can start working earlier.”
  Another example is that when I returned home during the Chinese New Year, I didn’t get a high-speed rail ticket, but only got an ordinary train ticket. I comforted myself: “It doesn’t matter if you go slower. Although you will get home later, you can still be on the train. Get some more rest.”
  These are all psychological manifestations of the “sweet lemon” effect. In daily life, people always use the “sweet lemon” effect unconsciously.
What is the “sweet lemon” effect?

  The term comes from a story in “Aesop’s Fables”: There was a fox who wanted to find some delicious food, but he only found a sour lemon after looking for it, but he said: “This lemon is sweet, just right.” It’s what I want to eat.” This mentality of insisting that lemons are sweet when you can only get sour lemons is the “sweet lemon” mentality.
  In the psychology of frustration, people refer to the phenomenon that when individuals fail to pursue expected goals, in order to dilute their inner uneasiness, they achieve psychological balance by increasing the value of the goals they have achieved, which is called the “sweet lemon” effect.
  In layman’s terms, the “sweet lemon” effect is actually a self-defense mechanism. It means that if you don’t get what you want and only get an unsatisfactory result, you will increase the value of the achieved result to comfort yourself that what you got is enough. Okay, it’s exactly what you want. It serves to rationalize the results.
  Too many people in life are like the fox in the story, unable to get what they want and suffering repeated setbacks, and the “sweet lemon” effect can be used to weaken the frustration.
What impact does the “sweet lemon” effect have on our lives?

  Perhaps many people cannot tell what the “sweet lemon” effect is specifically, but through people’s psychological performance, we can know that this effect is a defense mechanism that people use a lot in their daily lives to deal with setbacks. This is because it can timely relieve people’s negative emotions caused by failure to achieve goals, enable people to quickly achieve self-psychological balance, avoid a lot of troubles and pain, and reduce stress. This is a positive impact on our lives.
  The “sweet lemon” effect can also be used to comfort others when necessary. For example, some students usually have excellent grades, but become very depressed after failing in a certain test, and even fall into self-blame for a long time and cannot extricate themselves. At this time, teachers or parents can use the “sweet lemon” effect to comfort the students, “I didn’t do it this time.” Doing well in the exam is just an opportunity to check for omissions and fill in the gaps. Review and master the knowledge points that you have not fully understood, and strive for greater progress next time.” This is to make good use of the “sweet lemon” effect when the outcome of the matter has become an established fact. Comfort others to relieve their psychological stress and sadness.
  Although the “sweet lemon” effect has benefits, overuse can also have a negative impact on us. Excessive use of it will make people easily give up the goals they originally pursued, preventing us from pursuing what we really want. When encountering setbacks in the pursuit of goals, they are accustomed to making excuses and reasons, causing individuals to be unable to face their own shortcomings. In the long run, the individual’s sense of struggle may deteriorate and become numb and unmotivated. It is detrimental to the long-term development of the individual.
How to rationally use the “sweet lemon” effect to help yourself get rid of troubles?

  As long as we can make reasonable use of the “sweet lemon” effect, we can resolve grievances, effectively relieve psychological pressure, maintain psychological stability and balance, and avoid the negative impact of this effect. Let’s take mountain climbing as an example to see how the “sweet lemon” effect can be used reasonably in real life.
  During your vacation, you plan to go mountain climbing in a scenic spot. After you have prepared all the necessary equipment for mountain climbing, you set off happily. However, when you arrive at the scenic spot, you find that there are people everywhere on the way and the progress is very slow. You feel very frustrated and think that today is the day. Unable to achieve the expected goal – climbed to the top of the mountain. At this time, you can use the “sweet lemon” effect to help you adjust your mentality and quickly get rid of troubles.
1 Lower expectations and increase happiness

  First, lower your psychological expectations. Although the expected goal is to sprint to the top of the mountain, it cannot reach the top due to objective reality. It is better to change your attitude in time and adjust the goal you originally pursued, such as adjusting to climbing halfway up the mountain, and dilute the original psychological expectations.
  When people plan to achieve a certain goal, they sometimes ignore objective reality, look too far ahead, and pursue it with passion. Once they are hindered, they will feel extremely bored. The “sweet lemon” effect tells us to know how to lower our expectations and dilute our goals in a timely manner. This is not to deceive ourselves or others, nor to give up halfway, but to learn to see our feet clearly, see the reality clearly, give the present more choices, and be optimistic. mentality to face the setbacks and obstacles that occur.
2. Change your perspective and discover new gains.

  Secondly, you can think about the problem from another angle. Although we did not climb to the top of the mountain and turned back halfway, if we really climbed to the top of the mountain and then went back down, we might be exhausted due to physical exhaustion. But now that we have exercised and not overworked, it will not affect the plan for the next day. , isn’t it pretty good?
  The “sweet lemon” effect tells us that when things don’t develop as you want, think from a different perspective. If something doesn’t turn out the way you imagined, how can you say it’s not a good thing? Moreover, unexpected situations will always arise, and no matter how perfectly planned you are, there will always be factors beyond your control. So by thinking from a different perspective when you encounter obstacles, you may be able to gain a new understanding of frustrating results.

3Enjoy the process and appreciate the beautiful scenery along the way

  Again, don’t ignore the process. Although we were not able to climb to the top of the mountain in the end due to the large number of people, we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way while waiting and climbing, which was a wonderful reward.
  People tend to only focus on the results when doing things, and ignore the process, or pay too much attention to the results. In this way, they will worry about gains and losses, and will be upset if they don’t get the results they want. Although the results are important, the process is not worthless. Only by paying attention to the process of pursuit can people achieve continuous growth and gains. The “sweet lemon” effect tells us to learn to enjoy the process, focus on every little thing in life, and explore the meaning of everything in life, so that your happiness will improve.

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