Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To the Glass Half Fulls

I have this disease. At least I think much of the world sees it as a disease.

What do I mean by that?

I am an optimist. And, I have the worst case of it. Not only am I a glass half full, but it's overflowing and spilling out all over and landing on whomever is before me.

It isn't really welcome in the world we live in. A social leprosy, of sorts.

My husband will tell you - it's annoying and endearing and annoying and endearing and annoying and....he's the one that loves me. Sometimes I bring him up along with me. Other times - it drives him STRAIGHT BATTY.

Oh, look. We ran out of gas. COOL - let's make out!
We're way over budget this month. WOO HOO - I found two quarters under the bed.
The kids drew on the walls. Oh, I've been wanting to paint.

I was born with an optimistic spirit. And, let me clarify here: I'm not talking about joy. That is a different post for a different day. I'm talking about optimism - a way of seeing little annoyances and interruptions as having positive potential.

Surely you know people like me. Or - you're one of them. From the moment you were born, you've had it. Maybe you have kids or a husband or best friends like this. They're just generally optimistic people. They have birthed a hundred sayings and song lyrics:

"Looking on the bright side of things."
"The sun'll come out, Tomorrow...tomorrow...I love ya'..."
"Don't worry about a thing..."

I believe optimism is most often hard-wired.

And, I believe that the world will do everything it can to snuff it out of you. I've seen people look at something shining so bright and literally STARE down the bright so hard that it becomes dark.

We live in a world where we give our best standing ovations to the person who stands up and says, "LIFE SUCKS and here's why." Find the bright side? You're Pollyanna playing The Glad Game and living in a bubble.

I've seen how my optimism grates on people. I see it on their faces and I hear it in their voices and I feel it in the air when we're talking.

"...and so we made out for like 15 minutes while we waited for AAA."
"Yeah, but, running out of gas on date night really sucks."

"...and Snickers were fifty cents at the checkout counter that day."
"Oh, are y'all having financial problems?"

"...and this light shade of gray is PERFECT for their room."
"UGH. But, painting!"

It's really just a matter of perspective, isn't it?

While I believe that optimism is generally hard-wired, I believe that it can be installed. All of us can choose to see little annoyances and our batch of "first world problems" as reasons to be a Debbie Downer (to each other, on social media, on anything in our path) or we can choose to find some shred of light in them.

It might be easier for some of us, harder for others. Just like most things in life.

But, it's still a choice.

There is SO much to be apathetic and grumbly about:

The economy.
Ungrateful kids.
Moral decline.
Long lines.
Naggy bosses.

And, there are a whole lot of people taking the microphone to grumble about them. It takes ZERO effort to find the "pain in the ass" in just about every situation.

But, to the glass half fulls -

Fight for it.
Don't let the world snuff it out of you.
Keep finding the good in the bad.
Let them stare.
Let them grumble.


Make out.

The world needs our perspective, too.


  1. Sarah - how strange to see myself written down in print!!! That is so me and I just don't get why everyone doesn't get it. Thank you for your beautiful, sensitive writing.

  2. That is so true! there is so much joy and adventure in life just waiting to be discovered by seeing life this way! ...and it is contagious.. and...Sarah...you are great at modeling it too.

    1. Thank you, Johanna! Say "Hi" to your Mom and Dad for me!

  3. Hehee this post made me giggle. I am one of those pessimists that are trying to change. :) (I wrote about it here: http://gummybearmama.blogspot.com/2013/09/something-better.html ) We need more people like you in this world!

    1. "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." YES!! Loved that quote in your post!

  4. I struggle between optimism and cynicism (I would never describe myself as a pessimist, but maybe that's just blinkers). I think we get to choose how we respond to the world. If you run out of petrol, then fine, have a pity party (or a freak out) until you've called the car people, you know someone's coming and then enjoy the extra 20 minutes of fresh air you've got, or have a excuse to call a friend or make out or WHATEVER! Or you could sit upon and grumble about how now you're late. It's about choice.
    Thank you for the reminder. Today I will CHOOSE who I want to be.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. I am so a glass overflowing kinda gal and sometimes I almost feel like I'm snuffed because of it. What a great reminder that the world needs us too :)

    1. Danielle - Keep fighting, friend. It's worth it.

  6. You, and your commenters took the words out of my mouth!!! Thanks for this wonderful post. It's good to know I'm not alone. :)

    1. Kelly - You'd love some of the girls commenting here!

  7. You, and your commenters took the words out of my mouth!!! Thanks for this wonderful post. It's good to know I'm not alone. :)

  8. I'm NOT one of those cup half full people, but I work at being one. I have a daughter who has been one since she entered this world and I've always treasured that about her. She has always seen the best in people, situations and life in general even as a tiny little girl. I believe she's where she is in life because of the big old smile she always wears on her face (except during pregnancy because for the first time in life she's been a bit crabby, haha). The really great part is that she married a guy who has the same outlook on life. They are a pair! Fun to be with and game to try anything. Recently I was invited to a baby shower for her on the other side of the state and I was grumbling a bit about having to drive so far to a place I was unfamiliar with. She cheerfully said, "Well Mom, you just have to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, you just might like it." Bam! Guess what? She was right!

  9. Great post. This is me, too, and it drives me crazy to watch people grumble and not see the brighter side, or the gift, in any given situation. I, too, believe we're hard wired this way just as pessimists (my husband) are also hardwired. I've come to realize that because of the way we're wired, it's just easier for an optimist to make the choices we do (to find the light) where others really have to work at making those same choices. But God must have known what He was doing... imagine a world full of all optimists... or full of all pessimists. We're all here to help each other.

  10. This is me! I tease my kids and husband on the days that they are ALL GRUMPY that one day my optimism might run out and then we'll all be in big trouble. But really, who am I kidding? That'll never happen. Love your blog! Always a great read. xoxo

  11. I loved this. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Praise God for the cheerful people! We need more of you (us.)

  12. Glad to know I am not the only one like this. I don't see failure as an option or an end. Never have, there's always another option, even when there doesn't seem to be one in sight, I have sight beyond that sight. The world didn't give me this gift, the world and it's ways will not take it away. Bless you.