Sour grapes aren’t good for much, except maybe using in recipes with a lot of sugar. We all know of the ‘sour grapes’ phenomenon thanks ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop. The basic scenario is this:
One wants something passionately,
puts in some effort to get it,
fails because it is out of reach,
declares that they don’t want it anymore, and
rationalizes that there was probably something wrong with it anyway.
This fable illustrates classic cognitive dissonance, a situation where two beliefs or emotional states don’t match, and the believer makes changes to one to reduce anxiety/anger/stress associated with mismatched reality. Creating a rationale for the new belief is usually necessary to make it ‘stick’. The fox convinces itself that not only did it not want the grapes, but they weren’t any good to begin with.
And we do this in all areas of our lives when faced with challenges and barriers to getting what we want and need.
Soothing ourselves after a ‘failure’ is all well and good, but there is a difference between accepting a failure and moving on, and changing what we believe in order to rationalize the failure. When we do the latter, we lose belief in ourselves and our abilities, and with repeated instances of this, we start to lose confidence and give up more easily. It becomes easier and easier to say, “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t matter.”
It is much more difficult to keep the first belief intact and continue to try to change the reality of the second. For example, our proverbial fox would need to hold on to the desire for grapes, and look for a lower-hanging branch. We would need to keep on applying for jobs that are within our reach while finding out why we didn’t get the first job. We would keep on asking people on dates with the understanding that attraction is a two-way street. And we would assert ourselves and defend our cooking ability under the critique of someone who might not have a good bedside (tableside) manner.
So, decide that you do care enough to hold on to your initial goals and beliefs. I’m including a link here for strategies to increase self-discipline as a place to start.
Maybe not in Sir Thomas More’s case, but for you, silence can be a source of safety, calm and/or power.
Life can be hectic in a number of ways. Depending on what you’ve got going on, you may find yourself being pulled in a number of directions at the same time. Home, work, education, friends, and numerous other parts of our lives can place demands on us. Under normal circumstances, all of it might easily be handled. But for people with problems asserting themselves, or under conditions where we are more tired or stressed than usual, even the most routine of demands can seem a little too much.
Building healthy ‘me time’ into a daily or weekly routine might be just the thing to help offset life’s demands. And one way to do this is to set aside some time for silence.
Silence can mean several different things. It might involve just putting yourself physically into a room or area that is devoid of noise and other people or distractions. It could mean sitting down and quieting the mind – removing the ‘noise’ of your active mind through a meditative activity. It could also mean quieting the body, the muscles. And of course, you can put all three together.