The glass is half empty. The glass is half full. The glass is dirty. The glass is just a glass. If you look closely you’ll see that the glass is not only half empty but it also has a hairline crack in it so it’s going to be completely empty before long. Is that water or vodka in that glass?
Are you a pessimist? An optimist? A realist? An existentialist? Which glass is yours? Or do you look at it as simply a glass somewhere out there, claimed by no one? If that is the case you may want to look again. We all have ownership of one of these glasses whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
There are people who are optimistic by nature. They are perpetually cheerful and don’t need any nudging to find the upside to most situations. There are people who are pessimistic by nature. They are perpetually irritated and don’t need any nudging to find the downside to most situations. There are people who are realistic by nature. They see situations for exactly what they are with no emotional angling. There are people who walk the line in the middle with the occasional swing in one direction or the other.
For a long time (more of my life than I like to think about) I was the one holding the half empty, cracked glass. I was the first to pipe up in meetings with a list of the drawbacks to a new marketing strategy. I was the one to bring up the many reasons why it would be a bad idea to try this new thing or that new thing. I was the one to point out to my husband or to friends the negatives that could come from a planned event, vacation, or life change, rather than looking for the good things to come. The funny thing is that I didn’t see myself as a pessimist. If called one I would argue that I was just being realistic. It wasn’t until I became aware of other pessimists around me, how they sounded and how they made others feel, that I had a wake up call. One day I looked down at my hand, and I’ll be damned, there it was. This sad glass draining slowly from the crack until there was barely an inch of water left in it. Well hell, I thought, isn’t this a sorry looking pathetic glass? Hmmm…maybe it’s time to toss this one and get a new glass. Herein is the good news. You can exchange your glass any time you choose. And so it came to be that mama got her a brand new glass!
How do I fill my own glass? I do it by reseting the way I view the events in my days. Yes, the line for tickets at the ball game is long, but isn’t it perfect weather to sit outside and enjoy a game? Yes, it is windy, but didn’t that make me work harder and burn more calories on my morning run? With the slightest adjustments to our mindset we can change the way we view even difficult situations. This happened to me recently when I was stuck in an airport for hours and was told I would miss my connecting flight. It was a Friday afternoon, and there was no way I would be home until the wee hours of Saturday morning. I was frustrated and irritated that I was going to miss enjoying part of my weekend after a long week of work travel. Then a younger woman started a conversation with me. It turned out she had been at the same conference, and she was on the same flight home. She, too, was in jeopardy of not making her connecting flight, and she was upset and nervous about missing a wedding the next day. I calmed her down and reassured her that things would work out as they were meant to. I said I was certain they would announce at any moment that we were set to begin boarding and she would make her next flight. We ended up sharing a meal (and maybe a drink or four, the situation being what it was), and we made the best of it. As we were finally, hours later, boarding the plane she thanked me for being there for her. She said that she would have had a nervous breakdown if not for my comfort. With that handful of words I saw that my weekend plans didn’t matter quite so much. I was put in that position to help someone else. I was suddenly glad to have been stuck in that airport.
If you haven’t already done so I encourage you to take ownership of your glass. Ask yourself if perhaps it’s time for a new glass, and if so go get one. Add some color to your water in the form of love, laughter, and friendship. Wake up each day and set your internal optimism meter to “full steam ahead”! Practice and promote happiness and kindness, and soon you will see the glass becoming fuller and fuller. Fill it to the point of overflowing! Then go out and get a bigger glass, pour the water you already have into it, and get busy filling that one up, too! As with most things worth doing it is not an overnight process. You may find yourself spilling some of your water from time to time, but that’s okay. Refocus on the positive, on the abundance of good that surrounds you, and start filling again!
Here’s to filling up your own glass! Cheers, Karen