Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Half Empty...? Half Full...?

I am always amazed by people who go through life acquiring everything and still seeing their glass as half empty, rather than half full. Nothing ever makes them happy. They have it all, but all is not enough. All becomes more, and it is still not enough. Their cup runs over, and still it is not enough. They're constantly depressed, like Eeyore in "Winnie the Pooh". I'm sure you all know people like that.

On a sliding scale of one to ten, I have next to nothing. I certainly don't have all the things that most folks take for granted, even though I have done all the same things everyone else has. I have had losses in my life, but so has everyone else. It's called life. And yet for some weird reason which I do not understand, I don't look at my cup as half empty, but rather half full. It's a choice we all make, and it's a choice I have had to make, or I would be filled with anger, resentment and bitterness -- three emotions that will kill anyone's spirit.

Maybe it is the concept of "the glass half empty" that has led to the world's dire economic situation. Everyone wants more, more, more. Fill that glass up; only a full glass will make people happy. Still not happy? Get more things. My chesterfield is 20 years old. My TV is 15 years old and it still works. I probably should get a new bed -- some day. Don't even ask me how old is my dining room table; I bought it second-hand and had the chairs re-finished 18 years ago. My coffee table is a wicker basket. To my eye, all of these things are beautiful because they're mine. But I also have no debt. Whatsoever.

I don't know the answer. I'm no economist, and I'm certainly no philosopher. I'm just grateful for the few things I have and for the people in my life who care about me, and that makes my cup more than half full.

44 comments:

Hilary said...

And it's half-filled with red wine. You're my kind of optimist! ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

As always, I love the way you think. And you're right - the mentality of lack makes people bitter and greedy and leads to a world in which a few people have most of the resources while the rest do without even the basics.

I don't have a lot either by the demographic standards in which I was raised, but that just makes the things I do have more valuable. And there is no price on love and caring.

Just Breathe said...

Here here! At one point I was making loads of money and was so unhappy. . .the reason? The most important things in my life were not there with me, my family and friends. My hubby and I are poor as church mice but my glass is "half full", full of water. . .the kind from the tap, the cheap kind ;-)

scarlethue said...

One of the most important lessons I've ever had to learn is gratitude and how to count my blessings. True gratitude, though-- I'm grateful for things like my husband, my dog, my job, my family, and not money or power, status or material possessions. Now that I've realized what's really important in life, even the most difficult situations can't truly phase me because I know that life will still be good after the storm has past. Another thing for which I'm grateful: that I learned this lesson early on in life! I know way too many people much older than me who have still yet to figure it out.

That whole thing sounded like I'm bragging... didn't mean it that way. But I'm going to leave it alone anyway.

Jo said...

Hilary, yes. Red wine is one of our blessings, isn't it?

Hearts, you are always so happy, and I think for that reason, you are truly blessed...!

JustBreathe, oh gosh, yes! You have a wonderful attitude. And you have the most important things in life!

Scarlethue, "life will still be good after the storm has past." You have learned an important lesson. It's how we weather the storms that is important, isn't it?

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

I think some people define themselves by their suffering (even if they're surrounded by things to celebrate), and without it, they don't know what to do with themselves.

Personally, I'd rather celebrate! With red wine!

VioletSky said...

and a glass that overfloweth ... is wasted wine.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

I think one has to consider that if you have a full glass while others have nothing, then can you really stand to drink from that cup?

If you drink from the cup; it empties, and those who work hard to help you fill it go without; fail to have jobs and wherewithal to continue with the 'flow' of revenue that benefits only a select few, even those with a full glass will ultimately starve.

If all can live with 1/4 cup; 4 times as many people 'drink' - are satisfied, and continue to keep with the effort to at least keep ALL GLASSES AT LEAST 1/4 CUP FULL.

That's why most of us are content with that 1/4 cup; most of us are willing to work and help others enjoy life - and how you ENJOY THAT 1/4 GLASS OF WINE, WATER, or whatever is in the cup, is what drives a sound and healthy society.

Diane

Firefly said...

I won't get all complicated about glasses and stuff, but I tend to be a realist who edge towards the half full kind of thing, while my wife tends to be more half empty. So does that mean we equal each other out leaving the glass half, full stop?

A human kind of human said...

Hi Jo, I have found that if you start out with a half full glass and you share it with other in need it increases to three-quarters full. I think your glass should be just about full by now. Thank you for your inspiring positive attitude and that you share it with us on your blog.

Lorna said...

Well, Jo, here is my confession: I DRINK EVERYTHING WITH A STRAW. I have reasons if you care to know.

Lornita of the tanned leg tribe.

-

Pauline said...

I love coming here to read. Your observations are so matter of fact and to the point.

Life just is, and it's too big to fit in a cup. I am not sure what drives people to be greedy rather than grateful but I know which one I'd rather be.

TheChicGeek said...

Jo, I think your cup is running over. You are always such a joy to visit. I love how you think and your attitude. I've always been a positive person myself. My family groans and calls me Pollyanna. I totally agree with you, happiness is a choice we make. We can live our lives miserably or we can chose to be thankful for both our blessings and adversities. I'm even thankful for the difficult times because they make me grow into a better, stronger person. In my view, it's the only way to live.
You have the right idea! Keep it up Pollyanna :) We adore you!

Lover of Life said...

Things can never make you happy. Only you can make you happy.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

No debt? You, my dear are rich! Cherish those antiques and enjoy your full cup.

Not The Rockefellers said...

I like George Carlin's response to this question

Start drinking out of a smaller cup! :)

Peace - Rene

Deb said...

Maybe if more people thought like you my american government would'nt feel the need to start bailing everyone out, maybe if people didn't try to live beyond their means, they wouldn't be wanting a bail out.

Donnetta Lee said...

Yes, Josie, we should all take a lesson and see the glass as 1/2 full. I get down in the dumps far too easily and have to sort of mentally shake myself. Like you, hubby and I have no debt. We do have a credit card but pay it off monthly. Other than that-nothing. And I am grateful to the universe that my health is improving. And I am happy that my son is doing well. I am unhappy that the remodel job is taking soooo long in the house BUT very happy that it is getting done. 1/2 full. Working on 3/4 full! D

jackc50 said...

you can't always get what you want but sometime you might find you get what you need.... oh yeah. just borrowing a little from the stones......i think most of the world lives without. i was born that way and i''ll probably die that way. it amazes me to think that there our some folks in the world who try to one up the next guy, who equate money with happiness. what did jesus say about the chances of a rich man getting into heaven anyways? you got your health and family and good friends then you have everything....jc

Butler and Bagman said...

Half full, half empty? I think Butler would measure very carefully to see if he could judge. Bagman would either just drink it up and declare it empty or run out and get something and fill it up. But I like your real measure underneath the old metaphor. And your cushions.

Ruby Isabella said...

What you have isn't related to how happy you are. The danger is if you don't realise this. Then you will forever be chasing the more that makes you happy. It's a mugs game.

Nicole said...

I try to see my glass as half full. That usually comes after having a good cry though. When I am done crying I can calmly look out again at my beautiful blessings.

Delwyn said...

Joy is an inner note that you sound as you move through the day...

Mclndesm said...

I do believe consumerism and want can cause havoc in one's life. I work in tech support and so many times I hear "I can't get this high def channel" or "my 8th computer is not online" I want someone out her NOW! or the one that really makes my teeth grind "It's a tragedy". No, a car accident is a tragedy, a child dying is a tragedy. So I must wait for the tantrum to pass until I can help. I actually feel sorry for people like that. I can't imagine living with that stress and frustration all the time.
I love my old stuff! I love the memories that come with them.
At the risk of being called naive or gullible, I too look at the glass as half full and would rather be naive sometimes and happy than pessimistic and bitter

Leah Fry said...

To me, it's not even that people are never satisfied. The thing I have a hard time with is the sense of entitlement. I think it would be best if I don't even get started ...

Deedee said...

I agree, Jo - It's not having what you want that's important, but wanting what you have...( and if you have wine, what more do you need?) Kidding!

BeNC said...

People often think that their lives are difficult, yes, it is, for certain people, since they need to endure with certain hardships which normal individuals never get the chance to experience. But life to me, like what you said, Jo, is full with important choices.

What kind of choice you made determine the outcome. It's sort of like a karma thing, and yet it is so true.

But life is dull without difficulties, it is the obstacles we need in order for us to grow, and become a wiser person in the near future. And there's always sunshine after the rain, no worries~~

Life is cool!

Leslie: said...

Your "stuff" may be old, but it's also very attractive and tasteful. What I wouldn't give to have your coffee table! :D

Padfoot and Prongs - Good Books Inc. said...

Very interesting blog! Haha and half full of any wine is definitely my kind of outlook on life! Great post can't wait to read more.

Also what drew me to your blog was the title. In Vonnegut's book Mother Night he constantly describes his relationship with his wife as 'A Nation of Two'. He felt like they were their own boundaries didn't exceed the boundaries of their beds and they lived for each other. I always found it to be a beautiful description and it definitely reminded me of your blog.

nomore said...

Very impressive the " Half Empty...Half Full..." a short sentence...I agree...ya the half full glass. i also no dept and my most of things are over ten years...

Calvin said...

Jo, let us raise our half full glasses and salute life's wonders.

budh.aaah said...

budh.aaah said...
I totally agree with you there Jo. I have a 20 year old TV which doesnt even have a remote, so changing channels - I tell myself ( and others) is good exercise for me. I refuse to buy a new one because this is just fine , the colors are vibrant..
I have a fridge which doesnt work so I agree with my partner when he says that we are in our small way not adding to the global warming..I love the stuff I have and dont want to run after the 'latest' to be hip.

themasterpat said...

simple and well said!

Angelita said...

right Jo! very well said. we're still alive and can do many things that we wanted and I think this makes our glasses half full.

Alexander Christian said...

I loved this :)

the walking man said...

I never look at the glass as "things" filling or not filling it. I have plenty of things, no unmanageable debt and a wife of a quarter decade that sticks with me.

The damn glass is broken, neither half full nor half empty but culturally bereft of the consciousness needed to make it whole enough to hold anything...compassion, empathy, consideration of others before self, willingness to be in a unified state of being...on and on...it is this lack I perceive that makes the glass nothing but a pile of broken shards on the orange shag carpet.

Veronica said...

I like to think of the 'half full glass' as a nice way of thinking of and remembering the joys and pleasures of the measure that has already been drunk, and to then look forward to the joys yet to come in the remainder of the glass (of life). Warm wishes V xx

expressionist said...

I'm a "half empty glass" gal and think our philosophy is highly missunderstood!

Yes, many of us tend to be dislikable since we are often - "I have everything I need but am not rich enough"-ers, or "proud to be a martyr" types, or "i'm just waiting for life to end and hope you'll join me in my depression" people. But what you don't see is that for many of us, this philosophy helps MOTIVATE us.
It helps us see that more can be achieved and once we have the strength to do so, we can try to achieve more.
A European Socialogist (can't remember his name) has explained this phenomina which he feels explains "new" society: Before, society was content with simply providing for self and/or family. In a sense, survival and caring for the family was the purpose of life while happiness was only a bonus. Today however, society as a whole considers happiness to be the purpose of life. This complicates things since what makes us happy varies from one person to the next, and can change several times during a lifespan.

Here's MY explanation of this philosophy:
When a person like me observe that glass, we notice that it is half empty because we have drunk from that glass. But in reality, we can earn the right to refill the glass.

Russell said...

I am reminded of the man who complained he had no shoes. Someone reminded him that many people have no feet.

When I walk into a room and I am happy and friendly, people seem to be that way, too. On the other hand, if I am down and out, people I meet respond in kind.

We have to accept ourselves for who we are, not guage our worth by someone other person's standards and realize our degree of happiness is pretty much in our own hands (or heads).

Jane said...

quite right. I have a TV bought at a yard sale for 12 dollars. I also am not in debt. I am quite satisfied with my little lot.

Deb said...

I believe the current economic state has forced the majority of people to realise that it is no longer necessary to "keep up with the Jones". On my drive from the grocery store, there is a billboard glaring at everyone. It is so prophetic and I believe the new road to the future. It says:

"There's no such thing as savers remorse."

Enough said! Thank you ING for starting a new direction.

Mona said...

i think you nailed the key right on the head...it is a choice of how we view our lives and the stories we tell ourselves in our head...our thoughts direct our actions and i agree with you that's one of the main reasons for our economic problems today...

white crow said...

u got grandchildren!!!
u think like a wise old lady and yet write as a teen like me XD.
thanx for such inspiring writing, now i know that what i thought is also shared among some people, and i shall always stick to the half filled wine :)

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