“Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?” is the question of the day from Blogher.com.
I find this question kind of funny, because I’ve never had anyone ask it of me. I suppose it is the kind of question where you would get insight into the kind of person someone is, but again, no one has ever asked me. I would venture to say that all people who know me really well would consider me the eternal optimist. This isn’t to say that I never have bad days, or get angry, or have bad things happen to me. I most certainly have bad days, get angry (and sometimes at the most inconsequential of things), and again, the people who know me really well could rhyme off a long list of unfortunate events that have happened in my life.
There was a time when I felt much angrier, and it affected my life almost all the time. I know, I’m young, how could that possibly have happened, right? Well, I was a lot younger, had job after job that I hated, and had bad thing after bad thing happen to me. I felt like the victim. Wanted to know why all of these bad things kept happening to me, and when was I going to catch a break?
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment where I had a shift, but it happened. The bad things that had happened all around me for many years, suddenly stopped, and the sky became clearer. I learned to speak up for myself when I was being mistreated at jobs I had and then started to change my outlook on life.
I stopped feeling like the victim, because I started to believe that people will treat you how you let them treat you. I didn’t want to be the victim anymore. I wanted to be the heroine of my story. I had a friend many years my senior when I was 16, who I deeply admired for his ability to roll with it, whatever “it” was. I used to joke that he was the rubber band, he would always bounce back. I hoped someday that I could be like that. Strong but flexible. Fierce, but still soft.
Some days can still be a struggle. I get angry or annoyed from time to time when, for example, when my dog doesn’t listen even though he is well trained, when my neighbours allow their children to scream at the top of their lungs indoors at all hours of the day and night, when a car drives by really fast and I get splashed by road spray, or well, let’s face it, when things don’t go according to plan.
In my early 20’s, I would’ve let something rather small bother me, making me angry or sad for hours, or even days. I think it was some time after I moved here though, I had a change of heart.
When I find myself getting angry, I try to think about why that is. What is really bothering me? What can I do about it, right now? If the answer is nothing, I give myself a timeframe to allow myself to brood, and then I make a choice to do something different.
Bad things happen. People die, disappoint you, betray you, lie to you, hurt you and otherwise bring you to your knees. Sometimes you can’t help but just feel sad, or angry, or cry, or scream. The choice though is in what comes next. Do you hold a grudge? I have held grudges and resentments for years, but somewhere along the way I realized that who that is really hurting is me. While playing around on pinterest late one night I came across this quote:
“Holding on to a grudge is like letting someone live rent free in your head” Looking it up online now, it seems as though the mastermind behind this powerful statement is Ann Landers. I believe in this statement whole-heartedly.
I didn’t want to let people live rent-free in my head anymore. I am letting go. Finding ways to strike that balance between holding on to the things in life that are important and letting go of the things that are not.
So, the boss who I had about two years ago who laid me off via e-mail from my job while I was on vacation? That hurt. So bad. So incredibly impersonal from a job I put my heart and soul into. But, I am learning to let go as it’s not what is important, atleast not anymore. Instead I am choosing to focus on what I learned from that job and how I grew as an artist, and as a person. Not how it ended.
That is just one example of many, that could make this post exceptionally longer than it already is. Yes, it is true, I will always remember experiences like these. How can we not remember the experiences both good and bad that shape who we are? It would be a mistake to try and erase them from who we are. Instead, I’ve been making a conscious effort to let go of the pain, but remember the memory, so that I can hopefully learn from it, putting a positive spin on negative experiences.
So, how does this all relate to if I see the glass half empty, or half full? this image sums it up for me:
The way I see it, the glass is always full, not just half full or half empty. Half with water, half with air. If life were to be the glass, and the water is the good stuff in life, and the air is the not-so-good stuff in life, the glass is full. Life is full. We need the not-so-good stuff in life to remind us how great the good stuff is. So even if you see it as the glass is only half-full, I see it as I will enjoy every last drop.