A Glass Half Full Kind of Girl

We’re living in scary and discouraging times. Last Friday Hawai’i began monthly tests of a nuclear warning siren, designed to let residents know of an impending nuclear attack, apparently to give us time to say good-bye to our loved ones. Other things, like ending net neutrality or the tax bill to name a couple, are things that could have profound effects on all Americans (well, unless you’re included in the 1%) in the very near and not-so-distant future. Arguments are actually being made for why it’s OK to support a child molester for elected office. Truth and facts have been turned on their heads.

I’ve had my share of hurt, heartbreak, illness, misery, loss, betrayal and violence during my life, and have several times wanted to crawl in a hole and feel sorry for myself for a good long time. I’ve felt really, really, really angry. I’ve gone through a spell where I wanted to leave this world. But deep down I’m an optimist, and overall I’ve always focused on the positive, on looking forward, accepting that the past is past and that thinking “woe is me” never really gets anything accomplished in the end.

One of my strongest role models growing up was my grandmother. She lived in the same town we did, and I often spent weekends with her at her house, reading with her, watching TV, and asking her to tell me stories about her early life. She had had a tough childhood, but although she’d tell me about things she did, she didn’t dwell on her past, and always stressed the power of positive thought. She was someone who lived the saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.” She always could find something positive to say about any situation, and her kindness, optimism and positive nature stayed with me. To her, I was a “diamond in the rough,” destined for great things. She taught me to think that even if life seemed unbearable, or a situation impossible, it didn’t have to stay that way, that everything changes eventually, and we all have the ability to adjust, adapt, learn and grow.

For the most part I’ve found it just isn’t worth the effort it takes to be negative, or at least not for long. I’m not a Pollyanna though. I still feel frustrated or scared at times, and I still get (very) angry about things. As tough as I think I am, I can still be easily hurt, and it can take me a long time to get over those hurts. But, I stick up for myself, my family and what I believe, and I’m assertive when I need to be. I’ve found I get a whole lot more done and the world turns more smoothly when I see my glass in life as half full instead of half empty. I honestly believe the main reason Brett and I have made it as far as we have is that we’ve both stayed positive and continued to look forward, hard as that’s been at times.

Written on a 4″ x 6″ card that now sits in the drawer of my nightstand is a set of thoughts I’ve collected over the years, ones that, whether I knew it or not, channeled my grandmother, and guided me through both good and bad times. They’ve help me re-focus when I’m feeling out-of-sorts. I think they’re worth sharing:

  1. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. How I face those changes and what I make of them is up to me.
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful. Including relationships, sad to say, or ways of thinking that aren’t productive.
  3. Frame every disaster with these words: “In five years will this matter?” Or one year? Or a month? Or a week?
  4. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. In my case, I’ve probably always had more than I needed but didn’t want to accept it. I have been incredibly blessed.
  5. Your children only get one childhood. My job is to love them. All the time and unconditionally. And for all of my life.
  6. Not “Why me?” but “Why not me?” Why am I so special that bad things should only happen to someone else?
  7. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. I am grateful for every day of the life I’ve had.
  8. Growing old beats the alternative.
  9. The most important thing is that you loved. Yes, yes and yes again.
  10. The best is yet to come. This is why I continue to hope.

17 thoughts on “A Glass Half Full Kind of Girl

    • Laura says:

      I’m glad they inspire you. Whenever I need a boost of some kind, I will take out the card and take some time to think about what’s going on. They help me think more clearly about what’s going on.

      Like

    • Laura says:

      I’ve collected them over the years – some came from a website someone recommended, others have come from friends or my instructors. I like having them nearby.

      Like

  1. Vivian says:

    Great post. I find I do much better attitude wise if I quit watching the news for a while. So much negativity has a profound impact on my emotional health. Your list is very inspiring and so true. Thanks for your optimism.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Oh, I so know what you mean about the news. The only thing I read now is Twitter because it’s in short bites and I can filter it better, or read more if I want to. The negativity though is sometimes overwhelming, and some days I sure don’t feel very optimistic. But things will change, and I believe they will get better – they always do.

      Like

    • Laura says:

      I’m glad they were helpful or inspirational. They have been for me. I don’t need to read them every day (maybe I should?), but when I’m feeling low, they get me thinking in the right direction.

      Like

  2. Tamara / My Retirement Project says:

    I am most definitely a half glass full gal, however, I hadn’t realized how insidious the effect of the news, almost nonstop these days given the number of places it can be pushed at us, until I stopped. What a difference in my mental health and attitude. Truly, if it’s really important it will cut through the clutter to me, otherwise it’s just negative noise.

    And holiday music playing nonstop in our home helps as well!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      The news these days is awful. I don’t know how anyone can immerse themselves in it. Twitter has helped – although it can get nasty, I can curate what I read and who I listen to, and choose my sources wisely. It’s made a huge difference in my mental health and attitude as well.

      I am a Christmas music fanatic! I have been known to play it during the year when I’m feeling down, and I cannot tell you how many contests I’ve won that ask you to name as many Christmas songs/carols as possible in a short period of time. This time of year makes me very happy!

      Like

  3. quesoit1 says:

    Love, love, love this list. This post and your pre-Thanksgiving post on what you are thankful for were just what I needed to hear right now. What a great idea to write your list down, keep it close, and refer to it when needed. Thank you!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      It’s very hard some times to remain positive, especially now with all that’s going on, but I am keeping my grandmother’s memory and my list close by. Better days are ahead, and we have so many good things going for us right now.

      Like

  4. Laurel says:

    These are very inspirational, and it’s something we all need right now in large measure. I am determined to stop reading the news before I’ve had coffee and then to limit my time on it. It’s just too upsetting. And turning it off for a while really helps my mental health.

    Like you, I consider myself a glass half full person. I generally don’t have two bad days in a row. It’s a bigger task lately, but focusing on gratitude and doing something for others helps me.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I’ve tried to turn off the news, but haven’t been able, so Twitter has been my salvation. As I wrote to Tamara earlier, I can pick and choose who I want to listen to, and being able to limit it has helped immensely. It still gets depressing though, so I’ll read my list (I am pulling it out a lot more these days), or talk with my kids, or go for a walk and do some thinking and pretty soon I’m OK again.

      I try to always keep looking forward, and keep reminding myself of the saying from the I Ching, which I’ve made my life’s motto: You never step in the same river twice. It’s not the same river, and you are not the same person.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s