Glass half empty or half full?
Learning to self correct
I’m not sure who coined the phrase “glass half full” or “glass half empty,” but I love it and use it a lot. It’s a fantastic rhetorical description of how one sees the world — through optimistic eyes or through a more pessimistic lens. And, as I’ve experienced first hand, this worldview permeates everything and affects the outcomes we see in our lives.
This was not always evident to me. In fact, prior to my transformation, I may have argued against it. I spent most of my adult life overweight, unhappy, busy doing everything for everyone else, and looking at the glass half empty (or vacillating wildly between half full and half empty).
And I did this despite the fact that my natural temperament and personality is optimistic and passionate at heart. Why?
For many reasons. First, it takes work — self awareness, self-correction and practice — to have an optimistic and bright big picture view of the world at your foundation. It’s not always easy. We are human and our emotions vacillate with our circumstances quite naturally. We often operate from a reactionary place.
But, for me, at the heart of it was a more profound reason. At my very core, I didn’t truly accept and love myself. I didn’t believe I was good enough. Therefore, it was easier to look at things from a pessimistic view. This is what came naturally. Now what? I would think. What that meant was. What bad/tough/difficult thing is going to happen next…to me? I had a victim mentality. And worse, I had lost hope.
My transformation was profound in that I not only got physically healthy, but my worldview changed almost instantly and grew and evolved in a positive direction, until one day I realized at the core that I finally accepted and loved myself unconditionally. Many of you have read about it here and watched me figure it out and give it a voice. It’s pretty darn cool, I must say.
It’s been more than three years now since my transformation journey began, and I have found myself profoundly happy most of that time, and trying to figure out how the glass half full lens came so easily once I started to take better care of myself and believe in myself. It was like a foundational wall that I was building leading up to the day that I discovered, I fully accept, love and appreciate who I am. That I am enough. And all of a sudden, things came easier and I attracted positive energy and things. Small every day things and big things, like new business opportunities and love!
Not a constant state, we must be aware and tend the garden
Being happy at your core, and operating from a foundation of happiness doesn’t mean things always go right. It doesn’t mean that you are euphorically happy all of the time (not even close), and as I’ve learned again just this past week — it doesn’t even mean that you always look at the glass half full.
Because we’re perfectly, imperfect humans. And even if we love ourselves at the core, and operate from a strong foundation of happiness, sometimes we get down, angry, disappointed, frustrated, stressed, sad, hurt and the whole range of more negative emotions we all experience and want t experience as humans. So that means sometimes despite our best efforts, we see the glass half empty and can slip back into focusing on the negative rather than the positive.
These past few days, I’ve definitely slipped into that place. I let huge volumes of work stress and long hours, financial work that I don’t love, a little New York snowstorm that affected my personal plans, and lots of other little stuff that I can’t control get to me. Consequently, I started to view the world from a glass half empty perspective.
I got crabby but more importantly, negative in my outlook. New business opportunities suddenly lost the word opportunity and became a burden and a stressor. A visit from a special someone suddenly became about guilt (and some of my old issues came up) instead of about the fact that I get to spend time with someone I really care about. And on and on. Little stuff made me agitated where when I am glass half full, I can let it go.
In this two day window where my attitude slipped from glass runneth over or glass half full to glass half empty, I noticed that I became aware of it. And I reminded myself that I am in control of only one thing — my attitude and what I choose to see and how I choose to react.
Learning to self correct
The key for me is to learn to be aware when this attitude or outlook is shifting, and to self correct. After awareness, comes self-talk. I’m becoming way more skilled at talking myself through it — both in my head and, because I’m an extravert, also out loud to close and trusted confidants. Those will say to me, “Yep, you did that. So get over it and let’s move on.”
I self correct, by first becoming aware. By focusing on the big picture and searching for the positive, the opportunity, the learning. Then I talk myself through it with the glass half full lens. Examples from this past week: Business opportunity is awesome. Yay for me to have it! And financial work in preparation for tax season is not my favorite, provides a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not and how to address it. And I am lucky enough to be a successful business owner who gets to do financials at year end. And they are green, not red. Oh, and the special someone — well, smiling. That’s all. Can you say lucky, lucky girl? 😉
I’m done beating up on myself for spending two days looking at the glass half empty. I got this blog out of it, and a whole lot of self-awareness for the next time.
I’d send a wish for those of you reading this to always have your glass half full, but I know that’s not realistic. So my wish is that it is half full more than half empty. And when it becomes half empty that, like me, you have the opportunity to practice your self-awareness and self-correction skills.