The Glass is Half Empty/Full
The Glass is Half Full
Robin Anderson Photography
Is the glass half empty or half full? Which are you? IF you answered both, then you are correct.
First of all, what makes me an expert? Well, we are all experts on this. As the line from the book, Eat, Pray, Love says, "Same, same". (I apologize, I have not seen the movie. So, I can not be sure if this was in the movie). For the remainder of this hub, I will speak in "I" statements so that nobody will think that I am pointing fingers anywhere except back at myself. I have been both in my life, a "Glass is Half Empty" and a "Glass is Half Full" kind of person.
The Glass is Half Empty - I spent the first part of my life being a "Glass is Half Empty" kind of person. Growing up in a home that was dominated by my mother's personality, I was highly influence by her. At the age of two, my parents separated and by three they were divorced. I love my mother deeply, (no "buts" at the end of this sentence). Everything that I experienced made me who I am today. With that said, here comes some hard statements about my reality growing up.
My mother was the daughter of an alcoholic. She was also from a religion that welcomed "partaking of the spirits". She once told me that when she was pregnant with me (and my twin sister), she had cravings... not food cravings, but alcohol cravings. Specifically, martinis. Horrifying, I know.
Later in my childhood, I can testify that if she wasn't drunk... you wished she was. She was an unhappy, and even a mean person at times.
With that said, I also feel the need to say that I loved and still love her dearly! She influenced me in wonderful ways too. But for the purposes of this part of the hub, I will say that I spent the first part of my life modeling the "Glass is Half Empty" side of the coin.
When I was about 15 years old, I was in the locker room getting dressed for swim practice, and doing my usual complaining about life. I hate... I hate... I really hate... Suddenly, a 7th grade snapped me out of my negative rant by slamming her locker closed. SLAM! The following is an approximation of what she said:
- "Shut UP! We are all tired of hearing you complain! Everyday you come in here bitching about how much you hate everything. shut up! Shut UP, SHUT UP!"
At the time, I was mortified. AND of course, through my tears... I turned my hate in her direction, "I hate Cinder Arnold", to myself as I slipped out of the locker room. (Her name was changed for this article).
Fast forward to today...
The Glass is Half Full - I am thankful for that girl in the locker room. I wonder where she is today, because I want to tell her that she was right. I am embarrassed to say that it took me the better part of 30 years to figure it out. How did I become a "Glass is Half Full" kind of gal? Well, it was really easy.
Just as easy as it is to choose between wearing a red or blue shirt for the day... I decided that I had a choice between positive or negative, and I decided to choose positive. The first thing I realized was it doesn't have to be my true feelings spilling out all the time. So, it began with a lie. As a person that prides myself on truthfulness, I thought this was wrong. At first. But for the sake of experimenting, I decided to try lying for a while.
I begin when I open my eyes in the morning. Rather than taking stock of my aches and pains, I immediately begin my day by saying, "Good Morning" to everyone in the house. I bounce to the bathroom, then to each bedroom to be sure my children are awake. Next, I go downstairs and wake up the dogs with the same silliness... "Dood morning, little cuties".... and let them out. (BTW - I say "Dood" not "Good"). This kind of routine has earned me the label in the house of "Goofy"and that is a welcome change to who I was early in my life.
Intervention - In college, I lived in the dorm the first year. My room was part of a "suite"; two rooms joined by a bathroom in the middle. One day, my suite-mates staged an intervention for me. One night they Shanghai-ed me, locked the doors and took turns telling me how hard it was to live with me... particularly in the morning. I was a carbon copy of my mother! The intervention was complete with small skits reenacting my behavior when I woke up. To their credit, they lightened the intervention up with some laughter and even took the heat off of me by focusing on each others faults as well.
I wish I could say that the intervention worked right away... but it took me many years to be able to look back and realize that they were right. I wish I could find them and tell them that I finally get it!
Same, same - What the heck does that mean, you may be asking... well, here is my interpretation of that phrase. This life that we all get can be a "hell on earth" or "heaven on earth", it is our choice. It does not matter whether I came from an alcoholic home or not. I have the opportunity every moment to choose whether I make my world a good one or a bad one. Me not my family, not my body (which may or may not feel well on any given day), but me... my mind, my choice... me.
Here are some of my guidelines to keep me in check - (a little silly, but useful)
- Am I the person others are happy to see coming?
- Does my family want to be around me?
- Do small children like me when they first meet me?
- Am I happy right now? (not when I make a certain amount of money, or weigh a certain amount... but right now).
The results of the experiment - I began to realize an odd result that spun out of "pretending" to be in a good mood. I realized that I was actually in a good mood. It wasn't an instant transformation, of course. But with the same determination that I used to excel in sports and academics, I was not going to give up on my experiment to "fake it until I make it".
Over a gradual course of a few years, I became a different person. People like me, now. I am the person that turns lemons into lemonade. I can say that I am happy. In the end, it is my life and I am the creater of my own happiness. It is my choice to be happy every moment. Am I happy when I experience a loss? Of course not. But I am not unhappy or depressed. I allow myself to cry when I am sad. I allow myself to be angry, when I am mad. But those emotions (which used to be old friends) feel foreign and uncomfortable now.
I used to stay in those negative places way too long before... and now, I feel an urgency to move through them and back to the place that I want to live... which is a positive place.
Back to the positive influences from my mother - She was also great fun to be around when she was up. She had a glow about her that was truly inspiring. She loved her family. She loved a good time, and she would give everything she had to those in need... even if the cost was great to herself. My sister once said that if mom had 2 quarters in her purse, she would give one to her (my sister) and one to me and leave nothing for herself.
This hub is very personal, but I hope useful. I woke up this morning feeling a strong need to write it. I hope that my faithfulness to that urge is a part of some greater good. I don't see how I could have written this as a "how to" article without coming across as a self-proclaimed expert on life. I am only an expert on me.
For what's its worth... store this away for a rainy day and be inspired by everything you do!