The Glass
By Brian Dean

I know we’ve all had this question before... Is the glass half full, or half empty? And the joke answer is always, “Who cares? It just needs more beer in it.” But we all know the test of this is to see if one is optimistic, or pessimistic. Does one look at things and believe they will get better? Or does one think they will get worse? Of course the wrench into this mechanism of thought is that it will get worse before it gets better.

But what is our general outlook? What is our overall feeling? This is what truly drives our mood, our hope, our general well-being. Yes. Our well-being. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? 

Our well-being, our wellness depends on a lot of things. And there are a lot of things that factor into it. How much we exercise. What we eat, and how much of it we do. Whether we are in pain or not. Whether we are ill or not. But more importantly our mental outlook. You see, how we look at everything is as important as everything else, in fact, more so. 

So many people suffer from depression. Others are just unhappy with life. Too many see no end to the problems in the country and in the world. Most are just trying to make do, and I believe that is where most of us fall. We are scraping by day by day to survive. 

Now, I’m not saying that there are not reasons to be depressed. I’m just saying that how we manage our attitude, our outlook, is what is going to keep us going, and keep us forging ahead. Sometimes, we need to look at things and say, “Well, it can’t get any worse.”, or “It can only get better.” And even though when we reach that depth where things can’t get worse, we are pulling ourselves up and out of the hole. 

I used to worry about everything. But then I realized that life was nothing but a journey. Sometimes, it was a peaceful path through the woods, other times, it was a thrill ride, and other times it was a walk though quicksand. But I kept walking. Sometimes I would stop and smell the roses. Sometimes I would hold my nose climbing out of the dung heap. I kept putting one foot in front of the other because if I didn’t, I would simply give up and succumb to whatever fate wanted to take me at the time. 

And yes, I felt like giving up. I even told myself on countless occasions that I was giving up, and wasn’t going to try anymore because it was all pointless. But something said try again. That doesn’t mean that I simply did the same thing hoping for a different result (because that is the definition of insanity). I changed. I learned. I came up with different approaches, different paths. I started over. I reinvented the whole of the being that I considered “me”. 

In that process, I let go of a lot of baggage. I learned a new outlook on life and other things. I changed what I do to something more rewarding. Most don’t know it, but I used to be a computer programmer. Where before I was solving problems with computer code, I am now solving problems with people, and getting much better feedback.

My thought processes and attitude have changed. Where before, I got angry a lot, now, I don’t get angry very often. Oh, it happens, but my responses have changed, and I have tools (created through meditation) that allow me to calm down. I remember dropping a folder of papers and watching them go all over the place. I started laughing. Someone watching me asked why I was laughing. They thought it was a stupid response. What would they have me do... get mad and throw things all over the place? Better to laugh and enjoy the moment. 

So part of the key is to look at things differently. To not take them so seriously, even if they are serious. I’m not saying to belittle them. Give each issue the respect and time it needs, but don’t let it drag you into the abyss. Stay on top. As we have all heard, you can not fix a problem at the same level that it was created. You need to rise above it to get a better view, and a clearer outlook. And more importantly,add hope.

So going back to the original question... is the glass half empty or half full. Who cares. It needs to be filled up. The question is how you approach filling it, and what you are going to fill it with.