I had a telephone conversation with an acquaintance today in which she more or less accused me of being a pollyanna. "Nothing ever gets you down," she complained. "There's always somebody who has things worse."
Well... this is true. There are lots of people out there much, much worse off than any person I know personally. You only have to turn on the TV or read the internet news to know that this is true. Therefore, I choose to be a half-glassful person rather than a half-glass-empty woman. I believe that most people--with the exception of the mentally ill--can choose what type of person to be. We can be positive or negative in our outlook on life. We can decide to look at the up side of events or the down side. And what we choose determines whether or not we are happy.
There are people who live their entire lives in bitterness and anger, professional complainers who are never, ever happy. They choose to always look at life as half-empty. These are the people who are never happy with their spouse's paycheck, their home, their children's accomplishments, their car, their friends, their dog. They believe that everyone is out to get them, out to cheat them of something the world owes them. They die young of heart disease or cancer, fulfilling their own beliefs.
On the other hand, there are people who should have died long ago... they are often out of shape, eat and sleep wrong, work hard and give of themselves unstintingly--and yet they live, some to an astonishing age. They are content within themselves. They've chosen to be happy. They know the value of laughter.
No, their outlook doesn't mean that they fail to see the needs of others. In fact, frequently, they are the first to respond in an emergency. They're almost hyperaware of the less fortunate around them. But they don't believe that they are less fortunate. All of us know people like this. They are the ones who smile. They are the ones who offer the encouraging words. They are the ones who take the high road toward peace rather than the road to confrontation.
Yet their anger when stirred can be righteous and justice is important to them. Often that anger is not on their own behalf, but the behalf of a friend, neighbor, acquaintance, or even a total stranger. The half-glassful people are people who are selfless rather than self-centered. They look outward, rather than inward.
In our country today, on June 24th, there are thousands of people who have no idea where they will find their next meal. They don't know where they will sleep tonight. Their homes are under toxic water. Their belongings are ruined. Schools, churches, libraries, government buildings, businesses are all gone. And yet they have not given up. They are not turning inward with bitterness. They are out there, doing what they can. They have chosen to see the best instead of the worst. They will pick up and rebuild because they are half-glassful people.
It seems to me that the rest of us could take a look at their examples. Yes, I know there are tough times in our country right now. But we don't have a war going on in our country. We aren't trying to deal with thousands of people displaced by earthquakes, typhoons, or wars. Our children aren't being ravaged by AIDS or raped by rebels. It would behoove us to pull our socks up and be grateful for our blessings.
We need to learn to be half-glassful people.
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