We have our house on the market. Is there anything more stressful? Keeping it clean and so tidy it’s as if no one lives here. I mean, really, does a potential buyer seriously care if I leave my coffee pot drying on the counter? My realtor has convinced my husband, if not me, that it does matter. I get a text and I scurry to pick up the dog’s toys and fluff the pillows and hide the dish towels in the microwave. All the while, psyching myself up for a potential buyer to say, “not interested”.
I intentionally force myself to see the glass as half-empty.
I’m wondering if the tendency toward a positive attitude versus a negative attitude is driven by DNA or experience. Can attitude be handed down at a cellular level?
Both of my parents used to say, “Always prepare for the worst because anything that happens is better than the worst.” I was taught expect half-empty and be thrilled to discover half-full. That’s nurture.
But my mom, my maternal aunt, my maternal grandmother didn’t see the glass as half-empty, they saw it as almost completely empty. I have to believe on some level, my family has evolved and created a group of women who prefer to expect the worst because it’s kinder than expecting the best only to have it go to shit.
There has always been a debate – can we change our nature; can we change our family patterns? If it’s possible to change, how can I switch from half-empty to half-full? I have been involved with Streaking (see earlier blogs) for a few months now and have had raving success! Can I find a way to Streak a positive outlook? How do I identify a simple goal that attacks negativity when I almost never notice? I don’t go around all day assessing my attitude. Unless it’s horribly negative or wildly positive, I just don’t pay any attention.
But that led me to another question ….
Do I want to? Think about it, my parents were accurate. If I prepare the worst, I’m not often disappointed and am often delighted. But that also means I live in a constant state of low expectations – of myself, of others, of circumstances. Which is better?
I don’t run around whining. I just try not to get excited either. But in my heart of hearts, I do get excited and then I spend energy trying to force that excitement away. I’ve learned for me, when disappointment strikes it’s awfully painful – even simple disappointments have the power to crush me. So then, why would I want to learn to expect positive outcomes when they are not guaranteed?
I took a few minutes to put a glass in front of me that was damn close to half full of water. I walked around it, pondered it and then I had an ah-ha moment. I realized the water was quiet and still. It wasn’t expecting to be filled to the brim and it wasn’t expecting to be dumped down the drain. It was sitting there, ready for whatever came next completely, oblivious to all of the turmoil in the world and the discussion of a glass of water’s level of fullness.
That half full glass of water was the epitome of It Is What It Is – it’s a cup of water and only a cup of water. Even more profound, though, was the realization that the cup Is What It Is AND It Is What It Is Supposed To Be. The water was not trying to be a positive thought or a negative thought. It was H20.
My house is on the market. It is what it is – a house on the market. There is no positive or negative. Do I want it to sell? Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t toss rags into the microwave. Will I be homeless if it doesn’t sell? Absolutely not. It Will Be What It Will Be, and life will go on. Because, you see, it’s just a house on the market.
I’m not going to struggle to be a half-full kind of gal. I’m going to remember that the glass and its contents, whether mostly full or mostly empty, are flat and calm. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? The truth is, whatever happens with the house or anything else, I’ll learn to deal – no expectation necessary.
Are you a half-full or half-empty person? Where did this tendency originate? How does the tendency work for you and against you? What area of life are you living in expectation rather than just sitting with a calm glass of water knowing all will be as it should be? Is the expectation serving or harming your enjoyment of life?
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