HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY?
I’m a glass half empty sort of person. Always have been. Not depressingly pessimistic, or necessarily a doom or gloom merchant, but someone who has tended to see more dark than light in situations more often than not. I always rationalised my attitude by saying I was neither pessimistic nor optimistic but would declare self-righteously that I was being realistic.
Whenever, on the odd occasion, I was accused of being a pessimist, invariably I would limply defend myself by saying, “Anyway, a pessimist is an optimist who has all the facts!” Not sure, but I think this is an old Russian saying.
Unlike me, my wife, Brenda, is the eternal optimist; although when I lost my job about six weeks ago, the uncertainty and insecurity of our immediate future hit her hard and her cheerful optimism deserted her for a few days. Strangely enough, during this time I held her up with a genuine positiveness that I didn’t know I possessed. Strange things our minds and our capricious prevailing attitudes!
“The mind is an intricate mechanism that can be run on the fuels of both victory and defeatism.” – Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline.
Brenda soon bounced back to her usual positive self and since then we’ve both seesawed between positiveness and negativity, usually with the positive one supporting the negative other through his/her dark times.
Occasionally our dark times match and this generally leads to conflict as we try to project our fears onto each other. Thankfully, we both quickly recognise when this happens and soon after any eruption, peace is quickly restored.
Fortunately Brenda’s innate optimism and faith that “everything happens for the best” - and we’re given opportunities to find hidden strengths within us and to learn more about ourselves - are far more resilient traits than my pathetic attraction to defeatism and self-pity when I allow my fears to get the better of me. As Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” That pretty much sums up her attitude most of the time.
So, despite the challenges we’re currently facing, we are upbeat about overcoming them and moving forward together into the next phase of our lives.
Joey Comeau, A Softer World: Truth and Beauty Bombs, sums up our attitude: “It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty. I am gonna drink it through this crazy straw.”