Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty? You Decide

February 16, 2018

“You have to see the glass half full!” “You always see the glass half-empty!”

We are all familiar with this popular expression. In this article, we’re going to get to the bottom of the glass half full. By understanding the meaning of the phrase, you will be able to motivate yourself and maybe even change your point of view. Sounds good, right?

To that end, positive psychology aims to study and explain how optimal human function attempts to encourage well-being in adverse situations. 

This branch of psychology was born at the end of the twentieth century. Martin Seligman, former director of the American Psychology Association, along with other psychologists are the intellectual authors of these ideas.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

-Norman Vincent Peale-

Change your point of view! Bet on the glass half full.

You have power, you are the one who can change your behavior. Most importantly, only you can change your thoughts.

Knowing this, sometimes it’s so easy to let yourself be carried away by the first thought that comes to your mind. But so often, that first thought is negative.

A woman wearing glasses and looking down, seeing the glass half full.

Naturally, these types of thoughts have negative effects. Maybe the thoughts come because you are stressed at work. Or maybe you’re having problems at home or other issues…

Nevertheless, if you ignore negative thoughts, you might be able to stop them, instead of letting them lead you to the edge of the cliff. Negative thoughts breed negative thoughts if you let them.

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

-Anne Frank-

What if, instead of focusing on the negative, we focus on the positiveWhat if, instead of seeing the glass half empty, we start to see it half full? Switching is easier than you might think.

Once you produce the first positive thought and accept it as a guide, it will lead you on a new path. Here, you will find many other thoughts of a similar nature. These thoughts will feed off each other and keep each other going.

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”

-Hugh Downs-

The red light

Close your eyes and imagine this situation… Whenever you’re driving home, the same stoplight is red. You always hit the red light, it seems like someone is doing it on purpose to annoy you. The red light means you will get home later and you’re already tired from your day. To make matter worse, you are alone in the car…

A red traffic light.

One day you’re headed home, this time with a friend. When you get closer to the stoplight you start to say, “red light again! I don’t understand how I always hit the red light here!” But your friend smiles and says, “I love that this stoplight is always red!”

You’ve been focused only on what is directly in front of you: the red light. However, if you just turned your head a little bit, you would see what your friend sees: the ocean and a beautiful sunset. 

That’s when you realize that each person sees any given situation differently. They focus on different things, and that gives them a completely different perspective.

For one person, this stoplight is a source of stress, exhaustion, and complaints. For another, it’s an opportunity to stop and enjoy the view, the company of another person, or maybe something good on the radio.

That’s the type of person who sees the glass half full. Just look a little past what is directly in front of you. Enjoy where you are and who you are with. Do that, instead of thinking how this might negatively affect your future.