What’s in your Glass?

“To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.”  ~Ken Keyes

In the endless debate regarding “Is the glass half full, or half empty?”, I think we miss the point.  A better question would be, “Can you see your glass as half empty AND half full at the same time?”  After all, the important concept here is actually the glass. That glass represents our lives. The flexibility to see both the positive and negative enriches our life. When we are locked into only one way of seeing the world, then our view is truncated and our experience limited.

Wherever you are this holiday week and whatever you are doing, take a few moments to notice how extraordinary it can feel when you experience completely different feelings–simultaneously. We human beings can grieve for what is lost and at the same time, rejoice in what is.

All of us have experienced this disparity of feeling – the birth of a baby is celebrated while we are grieving the loss of a family member. A grave illness is diagnosed and a child gets engaged. Many people new in recovery rejoice in their sobriety but grieve “their old way of life” even while acknowledging how toxic that behavior was. We frequently find ourselves with contradictory experiences and colliding emotions. We may feel compelled to choose one feeling over another because rejoicing and mourning at the same time seems …well, wrong.

But we don’t have to choose- in fact, the ability to embrace these seemingly diametrically opposed feelings is the gift of flexible perception.  This flexibility allows us to grieve fully our loss while we rejoice in the laughter of a baby, the beauty of a fresh snowfall or a good piece of chocolate. These small pleasures can soothe our pain even if just for a second. Conversely, when we are celebrating great moments of joy, the flexibility of perception allows us to feel empathy and compassion for others who are less fortunate. It can help us maintain a world view that takes us beyond our own momentary joy or despair. Flexibility enriches our life experience.

We tend to enter into these frenzied days of celebration with preset and rigid expectations. We concern ourselves with questions of “enough”- Have we have bought enough, done enough, spent enough, cooked enough? We are so focused on “filling the glass”, we may forget to stop and notice what we already have in our glass. Often relationships and possessions, once treasured, are now taken for granted.

In this season of celebration, let us remember that our glass is both empty and full. We grieve for what have we lost, but can rejoice in the many gifts we have in our lives. Let us treasure them all, old and new alike and take a moment to appreciate our glass.

“Life is an attitude.  Have a good one.” -Eric L. Lungaard



  1. Dawn N on the 24. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    Well said. Let’s all raise a glass on this Christmas Eve to what we have and be thankful for it!

    • admin on the 24. Dec, 2011 remarked #

      From an anonymous reader….
      “Excellent blog. The story of my life the past few years. Finding joy in living while dealing with the diagnoses of two of my children. It’s like driving in a car that drives beautifully while listening to a sad story on your radio.”

  2. msesq on the 24. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    Well said, during the holidays and the rest of the year it is best to celebrate life!

  3. CJ Golden on the 24. Dec, 2011 remarked #


  4. Chip Mues on the 24. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    Great advice and excellent perspective for us all! Thanks Donna!

  5. Christina W on the 24. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    Wow! Everyone should read this! Thank you Donna. You are amazing! Have a wonderful holiday!

  6. Darlene K on the 26. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    Perfectly said Donna, life is all about attitude and achieving a balance. Happy 2012!

  7. Judy C. on the 27. Dec, 2011 remarked #

    Thanks so much for your thoughts.

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