HELLO . . . I’m __________.
Imagine those cheery little ID stickers with descriptors like “Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty Person” after our names. We’d be instantly busted as relentlessly cheerful or obsessively pessimistic. Awkward. Those who wander through life under a persistent gray cloud might be predisposed to resent endlessly cheery types. And the perennial blue-sky humans would really be unhappy if gloom ‘n doomers rained on their parade.
Me? I’m a happy/not-always-happy hybrid, and I suspect a lot of you can identify — depending on the day or period of life. Basically, I’m an optimist with varying shades of the ‘other shoe is gonna fall’ thrown in. (get it?)
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking at which they were created.” Einstein
Two people can see the same glass entirely differently. Though, given a choice, I’d choose half-full every time. Just because I hum Monte Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life”, doesn’t mean I have it nailed or that my glass is half-full of puppies and unicorns. Hey, I’m the girl, who came home, after an hour away, to find my husband dead, remember? That brand of lightening can really derail even the biggest optimist like a tsunami! But, whether you’re knee-capped by grief, have critical struggles with health or are broken, humbled or depressed by other stuff life throws at you, even a half empty glass can slowly be refilled.
Don’t feel like Pollyanna reincarnated? The reality is that pessimists stay stuck in the proverbial black cloud; optimists find the silver lining— eventually. Optimists are not always the happiest campers and pessimists aren’t consistently gloom and doom. On any given day, things can look positive or negative, good or bad. The best thing we can do is not to lounge around too long in the bottom of the glass.
“You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the bad, scary movie. Change the channel.” Arianna Huffington
Scientists believe genes play a role in which half of the glass we focus on (uh oh) and staying positive may be hardwired in the brain. Translation? There are both positive and negative people in the world. Full stop. But, even if you’re genetically predisposed to be Eeyore, you can still flip on positive switches with a few different strategies:
- Be Present. Unless you’re the Amazing Kreskin, you can’t see the future or change the past. You can consistently wonder what you could have done differently, but we get no do-overs on the Candyland squares of life. An up-beat perspective is not always easy but it can help us stay in the moment and that’s all we have, right?
• Yin Yang Go ahead, keep complaining. I hear you, I’ve BEEN you. So, trust me when I say, you can’t solve anything until you see your little world differently. Ditch the worst case scenario, and re-frame the situation. While problems won’t morph into a unicorn, but you might discover new inner strength, and opportunity. Worth a shot.
- Find a silver lining. Seeing gray (said by the artist who sees things in Pantone) instead of merely black and white, can go a long way. Focus on the good, the positive, and you’re half-way to ‘full’. Attitude is everything.
• Catch the good. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious. Pick one you want to hang with. If you tend toward the darker side of the rainbow, be particular about your posse. (pessimism is contagious, remember?) During dark moments in life, like the one that took my husband in a nanosecond, ain’t nobody gonna expect happy Emojis. But if we lean toward gratitude, not just grief, our ‘after’ might be at half-full or better.
Life ‘owes’ us nothing. Shocker. If you hear ‘What could go wrong?’ and say ‘Everything’, you might have missed the point. Reality is one thing; half-empty thinking is another. We each see our own version of the glass. Scientists say that whatever part of a glass isn’t filled with liquid, is filled with air. And that means — it’s refillable. So, why see that darn glass either half full or half empty, when we could see it always FULL?
Raise your glass to THAT!