Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.
It can be a real challenge to live a positive life – always checking for a lining with a hint of silver, looking carefully for the side that seems brightest, and telling yourself that the glass is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, at least 50% full. Under the pressures of our modern times, though, it’s just too easy to adopt a “glass-half-empty” outlook when we don’t seem to have everything we want. This is when our feelings turn against us and make our challenges even harder.
The Glass-Half Full Method, though, is a way to adopt a positive outlook and actively avoid the negativity that might be holding you back from something big. This method will require some activity on your part, but it is something that anyone can do.
The Contents of a Half-Full Glass
This method is not just about looking at your glass and judging whether it is half full or half empty. It’s about realizing that there are a lot of things in this glass, and quality content is much more important than the actual quantity. You can choose the contents of the glass, but for this method it should include:
Educate yourself on a range of new things, old things, and things you’ve always wanted to explore. Learn about relationships, finances, healthy living. Discover different places and cultures. This isn’t so much about getting a glass that’s half full as it is about getting a bigger glass.
Focus on the things you do want, not the things you don’t want. It seems like a simple thing, but telling yourself you DO want to be healthy instead of you DON’T want to get sick can be a surprisingly powerful mental spin.
People like to say you can always choose to be in a good mood. It’s true, to some extent, but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy. And generally, when someone reminds you of it when you’re in the middle of the glass-half-empty kind of situation, chances are you’re going to want to pour out whatever is left of the glass right on top of that person.
So start by choosing small things. Choose to smile in the mirror in the morning. Studies have shown that using the muscles that make a smile tell your brain that it’s time to release feel-good endorphins. Choose to go a day without contacting people who have a negative influence. The truth is you don’t have to wait to react to something. You can make your own positive stimuli.
A perfect example of positive stimuli is accomplishing a goal. This is not some major bucket list thing. It can simply be a daily goal, or a step toward the completion of a project, or something similar.
However, you need to know what you’ll do if you don’t hit the goal. How will you react?
It’s a trick question. We’re not going to react in the Glass-Half-Full Method. We’re going to choose to step up and say “challenge accepted.” Now I know what it will take to do better tomorrow.
No one is more critical of us than us. When we focus on ourselves it’s a really easy way to find all your flaws, so it’s important to shift that perspective to the outside world. Focus on someone or something else. Look at what’s going on in your community. How can you get involved? Are there issues that you support that need your help?
Many people believe there is room for messing up, but the truth is that we’ll all fail at something sooner or later. When that time comes in your life, get up and go again.
And if you fail again, fail better this time.
Being grateful is a simple and effective way to move away from negativity, judgment, and disappointment. Being grateful is at the heart of a glass-half-full lifestyle because you’re not judging where the 50% line is. You’re just looking at the glass and thankful that it’s there and has everything in it you need.
You may find that the glass is fuller than you originally thought.
It can be scary to get out of our comfort zone and start trying new things. And those first failures may seem like huge setbacks, overshadowing our successes. You can counter this by reinforcing those successes and celebrating those victories so each one of them is a memorable experience.
The Philosophy of a Glass Half Full
When a glass is half full, that’s great. And yet, we’re constantly bombarded by the notion that even that isn’t enough. The inevitable feeling is that the only way to have a good life is when the glass is 100% full.
This is not the case. Because here’s the thing: a glass that is filled to the top has no room for anything new. It has no tolerance for a little wobbling. The smallest bump and you’re going to lose something over the side.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to fill the glass a little more, nor does it mean you have to add more of the same. Add some flavor. Add some ice. Maybe even a funny little umbrella.
A glass that is half full gives you room to move and room to grow. You don’t have to lose anything in the process and you can keep adding and keep trying.
Written by: Center for Change