If you see a glass of water on a table, how would you describe it? Would you say it was half full or half empty? Thinking back, I’ve said it both ways, depending on what my mood was at the time. Some say that how you see the glass determines whether you are a pessimist (half empty) or an optomist (half full), but no matter how you see it, it’s actually both—it just depends on your view.
I got started on this train of thought during one of those up at 2 a.m. sleepless nights, and I looked over toward the nightstand, hoping I has some water within reach. I could see the red light from the numbers of my alarm clock shining its spotlight on a water bottle. At first I was disappointed that it was half empty (note, “half empty”), but as I grabbed it and started to drink, realizing I was thirstier than I thought, I was glad that there was water in it at all and I was happy that it was really half-filled rather than not at all (note, “half full”). The amount of water that was in the bottle was neither good or bad, it was just my view of it that made it half full or half empty.
Just as there are two sides to every story, there’s more than one way to look at something. My nocturnal thoughts reminded me that nothing is set in stone and that, yes the way we see something is undeniably shaped (and sometimes tainted) by our experiences, but they can change (our thoughts and experiences, that is; which also begs the question which creates which—a chicken or the egg kind of thing but that’s for another post). So if you find yourself thinking that your glass is only half empty or half full, maybe look at it instead as simply a glass with water in it—part full and part empty. It all depends on how you view it.