We don't always choose
the circumstances of our lives,
but we CAN choose our response.
is about transforming life's lemons,
and fully living the life you have,
even if it's not the life you wanted.

Stories from Readers


Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, was one of the world’s best — and one of its wealthiest — businessmen. But his life was not always so rosy. This is the text of the Commencement Address he delivered on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University. In it, Jobs describes how some of the worst moments of his life — what one might call the sourest lemons — turned into the best possible outcomes. This is similar to the concept of The Farmer’s Horse on the Stories for Understanding page. ‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says.

Joanne Harris is a hairdresser for Hollywood TV and film. Average in stature, she was an easy target for a violent attack, but after the third such incident, she was determined never to be a victim again. After studying martial arts, hand-to-hand military combat and boxing, she won several competitions, and then went on to create Lemon-Aid for others by developing a new women’s self-defense and personal fitness system she calls Urban KnockOut™.

Morgan Leslie Segal was a talented, sensitive young woman who took her own life in 1996, at age 29. Her parents, businessman Robert Segal and psychologist Jeanne Segal, turned their grief and loss into the gift of assistance to others. The resulting website, Helpguide.org, received more than 65 million visitors in 2013, seeking information on hundreds of topics in Mental Health, Healthy Aging, and Elder Care.

After being a psychotherapist for about 20 years, I, Dr. Jaelline Jaffe, suddenly developed a medical problem that I thought would end my ability to be an effective therapist. I was devastated, depressed, and frightened. After several months of a downward spiral, I came to realize that, rather than being the end of my counseling career, the problems I was facing could change my direction and could be used to help others. Thus, I developed Lemon-Aid Counseling, my approach to assisting people struggling with the emotional roller coaster of their own medical problems. This evolved into my entire practice shifting focus, and has eventually led to my being one of only a handful of therapists treating Tinnitus and Misophonia (see Sensitive To Sound), which has become the largest part of my practice.

Transforming YOUR Life’s Lemons

Now that you have seen some stories about ways that others have transformed life’s lemons and made something good or sweet grow from adversity, think about your own life. How have you faced challenges and dealt with life’s lemons? How have you transformed difficulties and found or created something better? What painful circumstances have been your “blessings in disguise”?

Please send your short story to me (DrJ@LemonAidCounseling.com), and I will consider it for inclusion here. Thanks!


Psychotherapist with psychotherapy office serving Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village.