When the Glass is Half Empty

Sometimes, it’s human nature to feel down. To feel off. To feel like things just aren’t right. And that’s ok! I actually have this great book I read to my boys called My Many Colored Days and it explains how there are some days you just feel different. And it’s not good or bad, right or wrong; it just happens.

(For the parents out there, I highly recommend this read for your kids. Not only does it help kids understand that it’s ok to feel something other than happy all the time, it also helps to put their mood swings into perspective for you, as well.)

But sometimes, those moods linger and can turn someone into a cynic – a Debbie Downer. It may drive some people away, or it can encourage some of the well-intentioned people in our lives to say things like, “be positive!” or “it’s time to see the glass half full.”

Yet, despite efforts to share positive or inspirational sayings, these Debbie Downers still exist. They always seem to always operate under the assumption that life is, at best, a glass-half-full situation.

It got me thinking recently about the idea of self-fulfilling behaviors, the idea that because you ruminate on a thought or issue, you seemingly will it to be true. I know a few people who are always trying to find the positive in what life presents, eager to push forward. I also know more than a few Debbie Downers who believe that life is never going to be any better than it is right now, that they’ve been dealt a bad hand, that life is out to get them.  

For the former, they tend to find a way to make things work, to make things better, to make life what they want it to be. They don’t let the trials of life get them down. They don’t let themselves needlessly worry about things they can’t control.

For the latter, it becomes a game of “I told you. The bad luck finds me. This is what my life is like.” They are always worried, always critical, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. They feel they regularly earn their martyr status – constantly suffering or feeling that they are at the effect of things in work and life.

Consider this: life just happens – sometimes the events are great and sometimes they aren’t. That is just life doing what life does. Our false belief that life should always be happy comes from us thinking that life should always work out and make us happy.

But here’s the truth: the key to happiness is learning to make great things happen from what you get.

Life is what you make it. So is your glass half full or half empty? It is always your choice.

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When my Mom was a little girl, my grandfather used to tell her to “put your worries on the nightstand and go to sleep. They’ll be there in the morning; no use losing sleep over them.”

Imagine what life would be like if we put our worries on the nightstand at night, allowed ourselves to get some sleep, and woke up refreshed and renewed in the morning, ready to take on whatever life could bring. Imagine how changed you could be and how your changed behavior and attitude could impact those around you.

What if, just for a moment, you see the glass as half full?

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading To Change a Habit, Try Something Different

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