Why Glass Half Full Or Empty Is Nonsense

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Most people in my community may be surprised to know that I am not a huge fan of “positive thinking. Before you get too carried away, let me tell you how I think about this and where it takes me. If I have a “positive thinking mindset”, I might say something along the lines of … “I really want to be well and I’m really healthy.” This is great IF I am healthy and well, on the other hand if someone suffering with some kind of major disease that has lots of physiological symptoms says that, it might be bring on some conflicts at the unconscious level.


I believe that when you are ‘thinking positively” or doing affirmations about something you don’t really believe, you set yourself up for a lot of fake realization and or disappointments. Basically, thinking positively has no value when the “itty-bitty-shitty committee” is sitting on your shoulder and saying things like… “Well, that’s really not very true!” especially if the person is faced with this symptomology on a daily basis.

This thinking was sparked by a conversation with a prospect when we sat down to have a chat about some of the challenges he had been experiencing in his life.

There happened to be a glass of water on the table. He said to me, “You know, I am a glass half-full kind of person and I’ve been reading a book about positive affirmations and positive thinking which frames the idea of the glass being half full rather than half empty.”

I was thinking about what he said and came to a really, really interesting realization. At that moment I replied, “It doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty because in reality sometimes the glass IS half empty.” That started me thinking about the notion of half full and half empty and whether it is valid?

Suddenly I realised it doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty. The important this is what you do with the information.” Maybe you’ve received some news that you’re not excited about that you have to swallow. Perhaps, you’ve experienced a sense of loss, and maybe there is NO positive re-frame for you as you process the grief of losing someone who was very special to you.

If you find that the glass IS half empty, the most important thing to consider is what are you telling yourself about the fact that it is half empty? And what is your ability to the respond to the fact that some of those circumstances are beyond your control?

So, the question is not necessarily whether the glass is half full or half empty. It’s actually a question of whether or not you can face the fact that it is empty.
What actions will you take today or tomorrow that will make a difference in terms of how you deal with the fact that it’s half empty?

Here’s my 3 tips for approaching a half empty glass:-

Ask myself how do I want it? This changes my state of mind to moving toward a good outcome and in the absence of focusing on the problem I may see a solution I didn’t see before.
What can I learn from the situation that will assist me or others in the future? Commit these ideas to paper.
Write it down without attempting to make sense of it. (Free associated writing) Carl Jung believed that when our unconscious mind communicated or made conscious a problem that it would cease to exist. In doing free associated writing you can sometimes make realisations you wouldn’t have by analysing/just thinking about the problem.

Finally, in order to have a new glass with new content, sometimes you have to tip it upside-down, wash it out and fill it up again with some new, fresh, clean water.

Be well and Be Empowered!

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