Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Are you a glass-half-full or half-empty kind of person? Do you tend to notice and bask in what’s going well in your life, or do you tend to dwell on what’s missing or less than pleasing? Let’s do a simple exercise.

Think of the most recent substantive interaction you had with someone in your life that lasted longer than a few minutes. This person is more than just an acquaintance, and is your partner, a friend, colleague or family member. This interaction could be in person, by phone, or via email.

Contemplate the following questions:

  • What did you talk about? What was/were the dominant theme(s) in your interaction? Did you bask in all the things that were going well in your lives? Did you share exciting possibilities on the horizon, such as job leads, a new love interest, etc.? Did you take turns recounting in microscopic detail the latest stressful work situation, relationship woe or family drama – or all of the above?
  • How does it feel to remember that interaction? Does it remind you of how energized you were coming away from that wonderful sharing, or are you all tensed up again, reliving the draining venting session?
  • How does this interaction compare to other encounters in your life? Is this interaction typical, or is it an unusual occurrence?
  • What did you get from this simple recall exercise? What does it say about your dominant focus?

Where is Your focus?

Where we focus our time and energy says a lot about what we project out and, in turn, draw back into our lives. Events and people reflect back to us what is active in the magnetic field of our beliefs, perspective and outlook. If we are grounded in our lives, grateful for what we have, excited for the possibilities around the corner, we naturally find ourselves surrounded by people with similar perspectives and outlooks. When struggles and drama are dominant in our lives, we find ourselves among those with whom to commiserate. After all, misery loves company, right? Actually, it is simply that like attracts like – the Law of Attraction. Quite simply, have you noticed that it is easier to be with others who share your beliefs and outlooks than those who have vastly different perspectives than yours?

Some of us may think that, by stewing in the negativity in each other’s lives, we offer each other support and relief. We may even justify repeatedly telling our loved ones grievance stories as keeping them informed of our lives. But, who really needs to know in great detail the latest drama in your cousin’s life whom they have barely met? Who is really missing out on your life if they do not hear blow by blow how every person at your job gets mistreated by your mean boss – when all these people are strangers to the listener? The “who” are those apt to reciprocate with similar stories of their own.

The point of this exercise is to have you pay attention to where you place your focus. This consciousness-building practice is not aimed at calling out other people being negative. Rather, it is about becoming more aware of what energy you project out that attracts people and events to mirror back to you the beliefs, perspective and outlook you offer. If people and experiences in your life are mostly negative, your radio receiver is tuned into a station of negative programming. It is up to you to change the dial by changing the frequencies of your own thoughts and feelings.

It is entirely up to you to see your glass as half full or half empty.

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This article is an adapted excerpt from the Release Chapter of my book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life.

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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alice Chan is passionate about developing conscious leaders and organizations. Her path to serve her life purpose has included being an award-winning Cornell professor and a leader in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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