Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Seeing the World Through Half-Full Glasses

You've heard the theories about people who see the world as a glass that is either half full or half empty.

Personally, I really want to know what's IN the glass before committing to an answer. 

Okay, so I've actually been accused of being TOO positive, even sans Chardonnay.
Someone recently flamed me (again) on Facebook saying something to the effect that I "constantly make it seem like the world poops cupcakes and rainbows."  

It wasn't meant as a compliment.  Clearly that came from a glass-half-empty kinda guy.

The thing is I try to be positive. (And not just to annoy the pooping rainbows guy. Okay, maybe just a wee bit.)

Sometimes it takes more effort than you would think. A lot more.

But ya know what? Life is about choices.

As many of you know, I lost my mom last year and my dad not too long before that. There is nothing to explain that kind of sadness. People say it gets easier.  It doesn't.  Somehow life goes on, but the grief changes a person on a cellular level. Not a day goes by when I don't think about how the world isn't the same now that I am "parentless." And each time, it's like a brand new revelation.  

Apparently my dad's former medical suppliers, utilities companies, salespeople and the like are having trouble accepting his death as well. Since my address is my dad's forwarding, I get all his mail. Every. Single. Flippin. Day.  Even still.

At some point I realized I had three choices:
  1. Cry every time the mail came.
  2. Spend many hours and much effort in some futile effort to keep the mail from coming.
  3. Change my perspective.
In the spirit of full disclosure I tried the first two options for several months before I thought of number three.

Like I said, sometimes this stuff takes work.

Finally I decided that every time I saw an envelope with my dad's name on it, I'd think of it as his way of saying, "Hey little kid. How ya doin'?"

To which I'd reply the same way my dad would, "I'm fantastic. Thanks for asking."

A sad reminder transformed into a gift through the power of perspective.

Each day presents multiple opportunities to choose our perspective. When we wake up; as we interact with our partners and children; in the car; at work; at the store. All day long.


Try this little experiment for one full day:  Starting from the moment you wake up, be hyper-aware of each thought that comes into your brain (or out of your mouth or on your Facebook status.) Find a way to transform any negative thoughts to be positive. Find the silver lining. Make the glass half full.

Fill the world with cupcakes and rainbows.

Carpe diem,

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Kristi ~ ArtSea said...

What a beautiful post! I lost my grandfather last year. We were real close. I understand, I would tear up everytime I heard his fav music play (which my iPod is full of!) or when someone would ask or when I'd have a memory and then it hit me one day... He's not completely gone, I'm going to see him again, and I am part him.. Time to honor & live that! He was incredible and I am going to make him damn proud! And I've got to say; I've made some big life choices and changes this year and I know he'd be proud. Good post girl! Thanks! Made me teary.

Charlene said...

Aw shucks Kristi... now you got me going too. *HUGS* and thank you SO much for such a thoughtful comment. All the best to you!

Sydney said...

Great post! I'm inspired to try this tomorrow. (And maybe every other day too!)we have to choose how we are going to handle life's curveballs, because no one else can do that for us. We have to choose to see the beauty of the day! :)

Tammy said...

I love filling the world with cupcakes and rainbows. And While I'm at it I will add in some lolly pops and heart balloons. Who couldn't use a heart balloon? :) I say rock on with keeping our glass half full. It sure feels better than the other way around. I like what you said about something being transformed into a gift. It's packaging may not be what we think it should, but if we look hard enough, the gift will reveal itself. I bet your dad is happy to see your getting his gifts. :)

Charlene said...

Sydney - Awesome... and you are so right. Let me know how it goes

Tammy - You ROCK. What else can I say? :-) Thanks!

Heavenly Savings said...

Cute Blog! I’m a new follower Happy Sunday!! I would love for you to stop and take a look at my blog as well! Thanks!

Robin said...

Wow, what a great article. Each day is a gift. Every morning, the first thing that I do even before my feet hit the floor, I thank God for another day. It's amazing the kind of attitude that that simple thing does for me.

If we all had a world filled with only rainbows and cupcakes, it sure would be a more beautiful world.

Shelley said...

Following from the blog hop. Hope you can follow back.
God Bless,
< a href="">Finding My Life in Faith< /a>

nothingprofound said...

Charlene, I zoomed right over after I saw your comment on my thread at BC. Some people simply can't imagine how happiness is possible even when sad things happen and life isn't going their way. You illustrate beautifully here through your own experience how it is possible, how one can turn grief around by altering one's perspective..

Charlene said...

Robin - I used to practice saying the words "thank you" with each step starting from when I got out of bed until at least the shower. Need to get back to that habit! Thanks for stopping by!

Profound - it was total kismet that you chose "happiness" as today's topic. You are right on point. Thanks so much for the kind words.

webb said...

Dear (in the special-to-me way, dear) Charlene, someone told me recently that one (you and I) might as well not even try to "get over" the death of a parent. Ain't gonna happen. After the initial grief and crying, we re-weave the tapestry of our lives and just "go on". Our parents no longer play that central role up front in the center of the tapestry, but we go on knowing that we are the people we are because of all they have taught us, or perhaps more importantly shown us. And, they go on woven tight into the background - the warp and weft of the fabric that is us.

When I get that mail, I try to think of it as something I can continue to do for Mother - something she needs me for.

I'll choose cupcakes any day! xoxoxo

Jezebel said...

There used to be songs that would come on the radio that would make me cry, as they were family memeber's favorite songs. But now when they come on I smile, and know they're saying hello! Great blog!

Ginny Marie said...

I lost my mom over a year ago, so I know what you mean when you write it doesn't get easier, life just goes on. My dad ends almost every email to me, "and so we go on." Some days it seems like that's all we can do! I would much rather "go on" feeling positive. I agree with Tammy; who couldn't use a heart balloon?

Colleen (Shibley Smiles) said...

I seriously didn't know that anyone could possibly be too positive. I myself and am a very positive person. Good for you on finding the way to deal with your grief in a way that works for you. I'm happy with the cupcakes and rainbows.

Sarah said...

I have to admit the guys line "the world poops cupcakes and rainbows" is brilliant in spite of his effort of sarcasm. The silver lining sometimes is very, very hard to find.

foxy said...

SUCH a great reminder! I happen to like the pooped rainbows and cupcakes. :)

Deb Chitwood said...

What a beautiful post, Charlene! I'm a cupcakes-and-rainbows sort of person, too, and I'm definitely happier because of it! Your story about the mail and your new perspective is absolutely wonderful. I'm your newest follower.

Deb said...

Glass half empty people don't realize how much work goes into being positive sometimes. Cupcakes and rainbows takes effort. It doesn't mean that we're not realistic. It's our way of surviving. Life is going to happen regardless of how you look at it. May as well choose to focus on the bright side. It may take some time to remember that when going through a traumatic event. I'm sorry to hear about your struggle with the loss of your dad. I hope that as time goes on, you'll continue to focus on memories that will make you smile.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” These words are not original with me but they tell it like it is. We get to choose how we will react to what happens to us and I'd like more cupcakes and rainbows in my life. Thanks for reminding me how to accomplish that. M

tattytiara said...

I found the loss of my parents got easier as time went by, because once I gained some distance from the event of the loss it got easier to feel their continued influence on my life. It also never ceases to amaze me that I continue to get new insights into the people they were, even though my mother's been gone for five years and my father for decades. That's something I couldn't have anticipated when I lost them, and it's such an unexpected joy!

Debbie said...

I have always tried to teach my kids this same thing. I've told them numerous times that every day when they wake up they can decide to be happy or sad. As for me, I'm going with the happy!
Good for you for finding a way to turn the mail into a happy reminder.

Heather said...

What a great reminder! As much as I try to stay positive, I still have plenty of time where I just have problems with that.

Lovely blog!!!

sporksintheroad said...

What a breath of fresh air! I recently was motivated by my randomness, desire to live my life to the fullest and love of writing to start a blog as well. It's so refreshing to find a fellow woman who agrees that you can either laught or cry your way through life and she chooses to laugh. Thank you!

Hockey Wife said...

Hi! I just commented on your blog anniversary post on The Blog Frog and am following you here now! Congrats on the almost two year mark ... and what a great post. Life is about choices - and you can allow the not so great stuff to get the better of you or you can face it, rise above it, and move on. I love your perspective! ;)

Kathryn said...

Wow. I just found your blog and I already love your writing and your attitude. This post struck as particularly insightful. I've always been a fan of the quote "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Sometimes when you have no control over anything else you can always change how you think about things and how you let them affect you. I'm glad to have found a kindred spirit. :)

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