Are you a “cup-is-half-empty” kind of person or “cup-is-half full?”
I have found that the person that I’ll refer to as the “Half-Empty” tends to be more negative, more critical, more depressed, and often is more of a perfectionist.
Just about everyone knows that if we focus on the negative, we tend to feel worse. Conversely, if we focus on the positive, we feel better. So if it were that simple, then none of us would be “Half-Empties,” right?
Obviously, it’s never easy to change the way we think and respond. If our pattern is to trouble-shoot or over-analyze and find all the flaws, then taking a step back and looking for the good in our situation, ourselves, or others can be challenging.
After all, patterns don’t develop randomly. Often negativity has had a “positive” purpose in our lives. It provides the “Half-Empty” comfort in the familiar. It often gives the “Half-Empty” a feeling of vindication or righteous indignation. Many times, the “Half-Empty” approach is reinforced by others who applaud the perfectionism that has driven it. But what I see most often in others, including myself, is that the “Half-Empty” gains a sense of control. (Yes, I very often can be a “Half-Empty” with “Control Freak” tendencies. It’s actually the worst kind!)
So how do we change a habit that is so ingrained and reinforced?
- First of all, we need to realize that the pay-off isn’t as good as the rip-off is bad. In other words, we may get what we want by being a “Half-Empty,” but we will pay for it dearly in the end, and the middle, and the beginning, well, actually all along the way!
- Second of all, we need to replace the bad habit of being a “Half-Empty” with the good habit of being a “Half-Full.” That means we need to intentionally look for the good in our lives. We need to be thankful every single day, even in the bad things knowing that God will ultimately use those to bring about good in our lives.
Here’s my challenge to you (and myself): Begin a Prayer/Gratitude journal that focuses on prayers of thanksgiving for the good things in your life. Then stretch yourself to try to see how some of the bad things in your life did or will someday evolve into good things as you persevere in the situation and trust God to bring about His best.
Let me know if you plan to take this challenge with me. And in a future post, I hope to give you an opportunity to let everyone know about some of the good things that you focused on and how it made you feel more hopeful and encouraged.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:4-6 (NLT)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)