You are — half full of it, that is.
You know the old saying about those who see the glass as half full, and those who see it as half empty?
Most people fall into one of those two groups most of the time. Based on what your eyes and ears tell you on a daily basis, you can’t be blamed for thinking that most folks are in the half-empty group.
There are several big reasons for this. None of these reasons is weird or alien to you; none of them is beyond your understanding or your ability to address.
There’s that whole work-and-reward model we’ve talked about in previous posts. If you insist on seeing your life as made up of long periods of hard work and struggle, punctuated by brief moments in which you get tangible rewards that were the focus of all your hard work, most of your time is spent in periods of lack. You know — the periods of time during which you don’t have the reward, you’re looking forward to it (ignoring “now), and jonesing for similar rewards that others already have.
Of course you’re going to see the glass as half empty in those circumstances.
Then there are those pesky ego issues.
The ones that drive you to measure your worth relative to the expectations of others, and to feel inadequate by their standards and your own. If you feel pushed to reach goals or meet standards set by others — whether we’re talking about income, possessions, body image or status — you’re almost certain to be chasing goals that are at once superficial AND completely unrealistic. Result: you never “get there” and can see yourself (perpetually) as “less than.”
Yeah. Half empty.
And then there’s that whole business of guilt over the things you want that you’re not supposed to want, and “wisdom” of the conventional advice you received as you were growing up. If you’re like most people, you’ve been set up to see things from a position of lack, even if you’re actually well off.
And you know the worst part?
You deprive for yourself, except in the most fleeting and trivial ways, of the ability to feel something incredibly important. Something so necessary to your sense of ongoing well-being that its absence pretty much guarantees that your glass will remain half empty forever.
Not the “Thank you for saving me from that burning building, Mysterious Stranger” kind of gratitude. Not the religiously-based gratitude that leads you to recite formal prayers of thanks for everything from your last meal to your team’s weekend slo-pitch victory. Not the empty social gratitude you often feel when somebody does something for which you’re obliged to thank them because it would be rude not to do so.
We’re talking about the small, quiet voice of gratitude that should be whispering to you softly from deep within yourself, all the time. You may not always hear it, but you should always feel it. If you can’t, it means that a key element of the fuel you need to power ongoing peace and joy in every moment is missing.
You’ve got to be present for whatever it is that’s going on around you. Present, so that you can reach out and touch somebody you love. Present, that you can choose to know peace or happiness or even exaltation. Present, so that you can expect positivity and know gratitude in return.
But let’s be even clearer.
This sort of gratitude doesn’t involve you falling to your hands and knees, and howling at the moon over the sheer joy of being alive (though that might occasionally happen for you if you’re open to it).
This IS the sort of gratitude that grows from the language you use in your inner dialogue to reflect and clarify your feelings and your understanding of whatever is going on around you. It’s the sort of gratitude you need to express aloud occasionally, even if you do so in private where your only listener is you, yourself (and the Universal Principle, of course, since it’s kind of always hanging out with you).
Look. This is fairly simple, and you don’t need to buy into any particular spiritual or religious approach to life’s problems in order to get the message. Every moment you have is a gift. It’s another tiny slice of life that you get to experience once, and once only. Once that moment is gone, it’s gone forever. You may have used it wisely, or you may have foolishly wasted it on sadness, anger, fear or depression. Regardless, it’s gone, and the universe will not shudder in consequence either way. If you’re chronically sad or depressed, you’ve misused chains of moments you’ll never get back on negative junk.
Tell us, now that you’ve arrived at THIS moment: did those chains of negative moments improve your life, do away with the sources of your problems, or make the living of your life during them any easier or better? If not, you wasted your investment in them.
Snap out of it.
Every moment is another chance to be…you know…not dead.
And if you approach every day from a position of gratitude for what you DO have, right now in this instant, that gratitude will feed and strengthen itself. If you persist, every breath can be a joyful experience, or one that engenders a feeling of peace deep within you.
We’re not saying you’ll never feel unhappy or sad or angry. We’re saying that if you base your relationship with each moment on that quiet sense of gratitude, the flow of fuel for your inner wellness can’t be interrupted, and you won’t feel those negative feelings for as long — or as deeply.
What have you got to lose? If we’re wrong, you can always go back to being ungrateful, envious and miserable, especially if you’ve already learned how to feel those things easily. If we’re right, then a little retraining in terms of your inner dialogue and your openness to the possibility of natural gratitude may be all you’ll need to make meaningful changes in your life.
Sounds like a good bet to us. Let us know what happens, okay?
Our best to you, always,
David & Kathryn