Is the glass half empty or half full? A good question.
The answer: It is entirely a question of your own attitude. It depends how I see it myself. A more pessimistic thinking person would answer: Half empty. A more positively and optimistically inclined person would see the glass instead as half full. It is a matter of opinion. So, the way I am inclined, I also see the object. When I feel good and happy then I see my world in a friendlier light. If I am moaning and groaning inside, then my view of the outside world is also (usually) darkened. The lens in my eye tells me how sharp I recognise the objects around me. In the same manner the ‘lens’ of my soul determines how positive or negative I consider the events in my life:
- If I feel grumpy and dissatisfied inside, then (very likely) my external life is too.
- If my soul lens is set to grief, then my view of the outside will (very likely) be clouded.
- If my soul lens adjusts to ‘always more’, ‘always further’ and ‘unsatisfiable’, then probably I will never really be rid of the feeling that I always have too little, always have too little time, am always too unhappy in my relationships and actually always get the short end of the stick – whatever I might do.
Then I permanently see half empty glasses everywhere in my life – instead of half full. No wonder: My soul lens is set on ‘half empty’. My own attitude to life is set to ‘half empty’. Everything in me is ‘half empty’. I myself am half empty. And because I myself am half empty I reflect this half emptiness into all areas of my life.
Quite different is the half full person. He does not always find himself and his experiences empty and in deficit but as quite full, rightly filled and beautifully refreshing (although objectively he does not have more than the half empty person!). This is because his attitude is so much friendlier. He does not anger himself over what he does not possess but gains pleasure from all that he already enjoys. His gaze is focused on the positive aspects in his life, not on the negative. He always sees what has been given to him – not that which could have been. Because of this such a person feels rebalanced, happy and expectant every day. He enjoys all that life has entrusted to him to the fullest.
This image and example with the half empty or the half full glass has grown on my heart during the past years. I hold it as one of the most important and valuable images in my life. It is decisive in determining how happily or unhappily I go through my life. In my opinion, to heed to just this one single survival exercise would determine 90% of the happiness in my life. Just this one single one! It depends on our attitude. I would like to demonstrate this to you here with twelve different examples. The difference does it! So:How I see my world when my attitude is set to ‘half empty’:
- 1. I grumble about my education and my career because I could have achieved so much more.
- 2. I am angry about my family. It runs so much smoother in so many other families.
- 3. I am unhappy with my holidays. If only I had driven or flown somewhere else.
- 4. I cannot stand myself. Why do I not look as beautiful and elegant as xy?
- 5. I am angry about my body. Why do I have all these pains and complications?
- 6. I moan about my partner and her 1000 small blemishes. If only I had chosen someone else!
- 7. My work bothers me. I probably bet on the wrong horse.
- 8. My neighbour annoys me terribly. If I had known beforehand, I would never have moved here.
- 9. The weekend bores me. Sun, brunch and lots of free time but otherwise nothing happening.
- 10. My financial status gets on my nerves. My friends can constantly spend to the fullest, and I have to watch every single Euro.
- 11. I suffer from loneliness. Why can I just not find a partner?
- 12. I could get upset daily about our country and its laws. I will always be disadvantaged.
But how else can I see my life? When I look at it from a positive perspective! Something like this:How I see the world when my attitude is set to ‘half full’:
- 1. I am happy about my education and my career. For sure, I could have learnt and done something else. But it’s wonderful that I am employed and am able to earn money.
- 2. I am thankful for my family. My children annoy me often. But I am still always happy that I have them.
- 3. How wonderful that I can go on vacation! Others never can or are not allowed to travel away.
- 4. I like myself. I will never win a beauty competition nor work as a model. But I feel good inside my skin and enjoy my life.
- 5. My body is a marvel. Everything functions automatically! Yes, it fails here and there. But still I can hardly believe that one can be at home in one’s own body. Wow!
- 6. Okay, my partner sometimes drives me crazy. But when I actually think about it: She has many good sides as well. When the need arises she fights for me. She rallies around, cares for the family around the clock, helps to earn money and when I consider it, she has a good heart.
- 7. True: My work irks me. My work colleagues too. But I am pleased anyway to have a job, a stable income and social security. It could be much worse. And I do have a few nice colleagues and a few nice responsibilities which I can always look forward to.
- 8. A real shame that my neighbours are often so stinky. They smoke in the stairwell and ignore the communal house rules. But I will not get upset over them. They are also just human and have their own problems. I prefer to concentrate on the good things in life.
- 9. Thank you for the wonderful weekend! The sun shines; we can have brunch together and enjoy our free time. How beautiful can life be. We have not planned anything special. But I still consider every second of this weekend a gift from heaven.
- 10. Yes, my finances! At the end of the month I am always very tight. And also during the month I have to always calculate well to make it to the end. But how wonderful that I live in Germany! I have a roof over my head, a regular income, I can (almost) buy anything to eat and drink, I have health insurance, I can finance small hobbies, I get paid (also when I am on holiday and am sick!), I have a cell phone, a PC and thousands of clothes. How unbelievably good I have it!
- 11. Hmm, it would be really great if I had someone by my side. Every now and then it really hurts when I see how people I know always go out as a couple. But I will not lament too much. I have so much freedom, can develop beautifully, can always visit my friends, can experience new and encouraging things. I am so lucky – even though sometimes I would like to lean on someone else’s shoulder.
- 12. In politics, everyday a lot of crap goes on. But how unbelievably social are many of our laws and rules in Germany! What rights do I have! Everything is provided to me in case of an emergency so that materially I never need to fall into an abyss, amazing. In comparison to people in other countries I live like a king/queen and almost in paradise.
Well, the perspectives here can be so different. I can improve my everyday mentality so easily by taking a look (also) at the positive side of my existence. When I (also) look at the positive, then a half empty glass suddenly becomes half full. Suddenly nothing seems to be so bad but actually okay and satisfactory. It really largely boils down to my attitude towards things in my life – and not to the things themselves. I can decide for myself how I would like to view things. Really! I just have to practise. Regularly. Discipline myself over and over again. Look at the good side of life. See the advantages – not just the disadvantages. Enjoy the successes – and not get angry over the failures, bad luck and mishaps. Then everything will be much easier, and much of the burden will be easier to carry.And to end up: Seven small, but worthwhile, reminders (E.g. suitable for every pin board)
- 1. It is better to not always concentrate on the negative but to keep your eye on the positive.
- 2. Do not fret over things that went wrong but be pleased with everything that has been successful.
- 3. Be happy with the little that you have.
- 4. Find joy in the small things in life.
- 5. Look back and be amazed at everything one has achieved.
- 6. Do not strive for perfect but accept life, imperfect as it is.
- 7. Recognise that the glass is half full as opposed to half empty – and grin over this knowledge.
PS. Incidentally there is another (more objective) way of looking at ‘half empty’ and ‘half full’. This is attached for completeness:
„Es ist übrigens ein Trugschluss, dass es eine Frage der Einstellung ist ob das Glas halbvoll oder halbleer ist. Das kommt auf den Zustand an wie der Status zuvor war. Hat man es bis zur Mitte gefüllt, ist es halbvoll und hat man aus einem vollen Glas die Hälfte entfernt, ist es halbleer. Wer aber lieber nach der Einstellung gehen will, der kann das natürlich tun. Richtig ist es nicht. Zwar kann man den Zustand so gestalten, dass es nicht schlüssig ist wie das Glas vorher war, aber man kann ja fragen. Im Zweifelsfall beträgt die Füllmenge 50%. So einfach ist das.“ (Source: Yahoo)
“Incidentally, it is a fallacy that it is a question of attitude as to whether the glass is half full or half empty. That depends on the pre-existing conditions. If you have filled the glass to the middle, it is half full, and you have removed half of a full glass, its half empty. Whoever wants to consider the attitude and of course do so. It is not correct. Although you could introduce the condition such that the original state of the glass is not known, but then one can ask. In case of doubt it contains 50% of the total capacity. It’s that simple.”
© Encourager68 (May 2014)