Sour Grapes

Fox with Ale and Chicken LegWanting something badly, not getting it and denying afterwards that we really ever wanted it in the first place; a form of self-deceit

Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.  Freud

Honesty is the best policy.  Anonymous

There is stuff I would have liked to have done. But there are no sour grapes. Frank Gehry

Sour grapes” is another way we are can be dishonest with ourselves. We do live in a very competitive world. The culture of our society pushes, calls and demands us to be doers and accomplishers. We are largely measured by what we visibly do and accomplish. Imbedded in our measurements of success is a display of the materialistic things we have acquired, the places we have been or the things we have done. We are subjected to tremendous pressures as we try to measure up to what the world considers success. It is more like we are a puppet on a string rather than being a free and independent self-functioning person. With strings attached we are not really free.

Sour grapes occurs when we are unsuccessful in acquiring or doing something we desire and choose to lie to ourselves that we really never wanted it in the first place. Instead of openly and honestly admitting we failed, we lie to our self or to others to make this disappointment seem unimportant. It serves as a defense mechanism that tries to protect us from feeling defeated, at least ‘publically’. Actually, we deny ourselves the growth and learning experience that comes with having setbacks, disappointments, and defeats. A very important part of life’s growth process is to experience such events, and to learn from them, and then grow through them. They cause us to become wiser and stronger. They increase our capabilities to succeed and accomplish even more as we continue through life. We all remember childhood experiences where someone, possibly us, whined, “I really did not want it anyway”. The truth is that we really did. We were too immature and insecure to lose graciously.

Those that indulge in sour grapes are weak willed, mentally immature, and are not measuring up very well to life’s growth processes. Experiencing failure and defeat and leaning to deal with the experiences is critical to our growth process. Each time we fail, we have the opportunity to grow that much more. Learning to lose and face temporary defeats graciously and with self-control is desirable. It is our beliefs, determination and our confidence in ourselves that will see us to our next victory. It’s part of our maturing process. We have to live through our failures and grow. We have never really ever failed until we totally quit and do not try again.

Challenge:  Overcoming sour grapes requires honesty. When something does not work out the way you want, then determine what went wrong. If it is something you really want then perhaps you should be willing to try again. It may be that you needed to fall short this time because you were not ready for this success. The things you want most may often be the most difficult to achieve. Be prepared to may multiple efforts to succeed.

Wisdom: It would be an unspeakable advantage, both to the public and private, if men would consider that great truth, that no man is wise or safe but he that is honest.  Sir Walter Raleigh

Spiritual: (NIV)

Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.  Proverbs 22:4

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  Psalm 51:6

Honesty is the best policy. By lying to ourselves we do great harm to our character. We have a tendency to want to avoid the real truth about ourselves. We hide behind all kinds of fantasies about who we could be versus who we really are. These mechanisms enslave and prevent us from become what we are designed to be. When we become tired of such things, we can ask God to help us to see the truth. He will help us find Truth in life.

Prayer:  Help me to grow through my failures.


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