Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why is a half-full glass so hard to see?

I had a long talk with Sugar today about keeping a positive attitude and about choosing the kind of person you want to be by choosing how you react to different situations.

I talked to her about about one of our aunts, who I will call Aunt Happy. Aunt Happy spent something like 45 years in a troubled marriage. She raised three kids amazingly well. She has spent the last 20 years or so struggling with health issues - diabetes, breast cancer, blindness, kidney failure. In the past year or so she finally decided enough was enough and that at almost 70 years old she deserved to not have to worry about walking on egg-shells all the time and so left her husband. She had been living on the other side of the country, but has moved back here to be close to family. So for the first time in about 15 or 20 years, I'm actually getting to spend time with her and she's truly one of the most positive people I've ever known.

She told me that she never lets herself get down about the stuff in her life. Always assumes the best is going to happen and keeps looking up. When I told her that I admire how she's dealt with the loss of her vision, because my own, age-related and completely minor vision loss gets on my nerves all the time. She said to me, "You know, everyday, I'm just happy I can see something. I know that I could be unlucky enough to have no vision, so rather than being sad about what I can't see, I'm happy for what I see."

Well, being on a mission to think more positively, this really struck a chord with me. I mean, if I really spend my time being happy for what I see - there's SO much to be happy for. And when I think of what I can't see, well it's so little, it really doesn't seem worth making myself miserable over. So that's my new motto - to be happy for what I see rather than unhappy about what I don't.

But, it's hard. I mean it's really hard. And I see it amongst my family over and over again. Sugar, Spice and the Bull all stomp around here being irritated, annoyed, pouty about what they don't have or what they don't like. ALL THE TIME! And I find that I'm frequently drained by all of their complaining and negativity. I want to shout at them sometimes,


But I know it would only be met with them saying, "No really, it's half-empty. Can't you see there's less than there should be."

I don't know how to make them see all we have. Maybe all I can do is be an example. Keep living my life as full and loving all I have - and hopefully one day they'll look at the glass and stop worrying about what's not there.


Ros said...

The computer ate my first response. Grr. On the nights I remember to say prayers, I always start with being thankful for all the things I DO have -- and I start really basic, like with a job, a house, a kid, my health, enough food. I try to help my kid see life the same way. We do need to recognize what we don't have in a way that motivates us to work to a goal, but not in a way that makes us whiny and negative. I think all you can do is what you said, to keep modeling how you see the positives.

The Bear Maiden said...

And I started one but it got REALLY LONG so I'm posting it later on my own blog. LOL.

Keith said...

What you are talking about truly is difficult, but essential for lifelong happiness. I struggle with it everyday. I know in my heart where constant negativity leads, but my head won't always cooperate and support a half-full mentality. In other words, I hear you!