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The Choice Between Half-Empty & Half-Full

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Our reality is what and how we choose to see it.

Written 2 January 2015 | Athens, Greece.

There are usually two ways to look at things.

Half-empty or half-full.

I spent the first part of my life coming from half-empty — most of my friends went to private colleges, had girlfriends, drove newer and better cars. I never really looked at those who had less. They weren’t the benchmark.

The second part came with a gradual realization that things were really half-full. I had a mother who cared and sacrificed for me, I have a sister that is the closest family to me, I have friends whom I can count on, and I have more than I really needed. What’s left are just wants, and wants are expendable.

The problem with half-empty is that what we have is always never good enough. Always. We bastardize what we have by focussing on what we don’t, we get disappointed and angry frequently and easily, we believe we deserve much more and we’re pissed off and hurt we’re not getting it. It becomes a bloody race. A race that has no end. Money, looks, love, fame, partners, clothes etc. We keep thinking that what we have is not good enough. We benchmark ourselves against people who seem to have much more.

The thing is, usually what we end up feeling deep inside, is that therefore we are not good enough. We need constant affirmation & validation by being equal or better than the ones we have set our benchmarks against. It’s “it could be and therefore should be so much more”

Half-full on the other hand is “damn, it could have been so much less!”. We benchmark against those who are less fortunate, an alternate negative situation we could have been in, and realize that what we have, right now, could be taken away from us anytime. It’s no longer a race. We’re already ahead. And we are in a position where we can help others who are less fortunate too. We become thankful for what we already have, rather than resentful for what we don’t.

We see things and people as they are — a gift rather than a down-payment for something more or better.

In Pamukkale, I was charging my phone with a brand-new slick powerbank in my pocket when I bent down and the powerbank dropped into the gushing water. No way it could have been found. I could have cursed the situation and gotten angry at myself or saddened that I lost it. But what came to mind immediately however was that the powerbank sacrificed itself for my phone. I could have as easily dropped my iPhone 6+, but instead, I was glad I lost something much more easily replaceable, and I became much more careful after that.

Maybe it’s self-denial. Maybe I choose to see a silver lining in every situation. But yeah, I like the choice I made, and it has brought me more peace, kindness and good than I thought could come my way before.

Cheers, on the half-full glass. Clink! :)


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