Is your glass half empty or half full? We have all heard this phrase in our lives…but have we really thought about it? We shoot off a quick answer, and we usually all try to say that our glass is half full, of course! Of course we have a positive outlook on life. Of course we are striving towards excellence. Of course things in life are just peachy keen. Really? You seriously think that we are going to believe that? Now, while there ARE several people who I know that can truly say their glass is half full, I would venture to say that many of us, unfortunately, see the glass as half empty in a perpetual state. We constantly look at things as how they SHOULD be. How they WANT them to be. How we THINK life should be. Who made you the all-knowing? Who laid on you the ultimate gift of knowledge. Now, I’m not being snarky, because in all honesty, I am talking to myself here. This could be a diary entry for all you and I know. I think it’s something that we all struggle with, and it’s something that we need to turn around and stop doing.
First and foremost, I think how we look at the glass depends on our perspective. In all reality, this is the only way we can look at our glass. We have to see that our half-empty glass to us, is a half-full glass to someone else. We tend to be so negative in our lives, dragging ourselves down. We look at all the “bad” things in our life and let those things define us. While we know that shouldn’t be the case, we still do. We are brought down to a level of despair, not thinking that any good can come of our lives. That we are defeated before we can ever have the victory. But then someone comes along and sees the other side. Someone comes along with a different perspective on life and sees things in a way that we never could. Does that mean they are wrong? Does that mean that we are wrong? No, neither person is wrong. And on the flip side, it doesn’t mean that either person is right. What I’m trying to say is that perspective is what puts our thoughts and actions in motion. Perspective is what makes us either open up, or put walls up.
“There are no facts, only interpretations.” (Friedrich Nietzsche). While obviously there are some concrete facts, I think what he was getting at is that everything we know can be interpreted differently by different people. For example, if I say that we were clobbered by a snow storm, your interpretation of snow storm is going to be different from another persons. Having grown up in New Hampshire, my definition of snow storm is vastly different from those living in South Carolina. I know those examples are extreme, but I think you can understand where I’m going with this. You have to be careful to not force your interpretation onto other people. Just because you are strong in your beliefs in something, just because you are firm in your convictions, just because you are steadfast in your thoughts and aspirations…this doesn’t mean that another person is wrong for those very same characteristics, just because they differ from you. Yes, I sometimes go to church. Yes, I believe in God. Yes, I am glad that my children go to church and enjoy it. Does that mean I’m going to try to force that down your throat? Nope. Does that mean that I am more right that you? Nope. Does that mean that just because you don’t believe the same things that I do that you are condemned to live a horrible life because it differs than what I think? Not at all. You have your perspective on life. I have mine. And we have to accept that we see things differently. Is that such a bad thing?
Now, while we all have things that we firmly believe in our lives, I understand that none of us will change our perspective on certain areas. And that’s alright. A person with conviction is a person with an unbreakable spirit, and we could all use a little of that spirit in our lives. What I AM saying is that while you have that firm conviction, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for every person. And instead of forcing it down their throats, or believing that what you say is the only concrete answer, you need to stop right there. You need to take a look at your perspective. You need to give the other person a chance to divulge into their perspective. Give them the decency to explain their perspective before you even take it upon yourself to say they are wrong. Maybe they see something in a way that you never even thought about. Maybe they interpret something differently than you do, but that doesn’t make either of you right or wrong. That is one of the greatest things about the human race. We have our own brains to think of our own perspectives. We have our own thought processes, and while neither of them are concrete to those surrounding them, they are concrete to you. But is the concrete wet and still forming into place, or is it dry and cannot be changed? I would venture to guess that we would all want to have some wet concrete in our lives. Ideas and thoughts that can be formed and molded into the finished product.
Perspective when it comes to people in your life can be a whole different story at some point. As a parent, I want my boys to surround themselves with the best possible people. With people who have respect for others. With people who see the needs of others and put kindness into action. With people who love unconditionally. With people who will build up and not tear down. Will that always happen? No. And as much as I try to make that happen, as my boys grow older, I am going to have to trust them in that choosing. I can’t control them forever. And from a parental perspective, I would love to keep my hold on them and choose the best people for them. But I can’t. And from their perspective, they see a mother who won’t let go and give them space. Especially through their teenage years, but that’s a given! We both have our perspectives, but we can all see both sides. Those that are teenagers and those that are parents. Neither side is wrong nor right. Perspective may put things in a different light for us, but is also can direct us to choose a different path than where we were headed.
I love these quotes about perspective. They can apply in so many areas in our lives, and depending on your perspective on things, you’ll take away something different from everyone else. And yes, that is perfectly ok, and welcomed!
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
― Henry David Thoreau
“The greatest risk to man is not that he aims too high and misses, but that he aims too low and hits.”
“You can’t see the world from somebody else’s point of view and not be changed.”
― Lena Coakley
Let these sink in. Think about what these authors, philosophers, humans are saying about perspective. Just on one website, there were 574 quotes and thoughts about perspective. Obviously many people think it’s an important topic, and one that needs to be addressed because it is one thing that we as humans lack and need to empower ourselves to embrace it. That we all need to respect the perspectives of everyone. We need to let everyone have their views and convictions and beliefs. They see things one way, you see it another. I think that once we get that into our mindset and incorporate that into our daily life, I think a lot of us would be more accepting of people and less judgmental. The last thing we need in this world are more judgmental people. More people who refuse to listen to what you say or your explanations. More people who go through life so narrow-minded that they fail to see the nose on their face. Those focus on the spec in another person’s eye rather than the beam protruding out of their own eye. Quit being that person and start being the person that accepts the cup, filled to whatever level that we may have.