Thursday, October 7, 2010

Optimism

Sometimes when people look at a glass of milk, they see the container as being half full.  Other people look at that same container and see it as being half empty.  And sometimes the same person, at a different time of day may change his status from half full to half empty.
Are you happy?
I sat at my breakfast table, eating my delicious Crixpix yesterday morning and I thought about glasses, and milk, and people.  I am teaching a lesson in church in a few weeks, the topic being Optimism.  I thought about that old cliche, the one to which I keep referring.  I wondered, "How cheesy exactly would it be if I really brought in a glass, with some beverage not milk  in it, and asked the class if they saw it as half empty or half full?" And it took me two full seconds to decide it would be too cheesy.  I watched my Crispix float around and I kept thinking about that ambiguously filled glass.

I wonder if people would be more happy if they tried to focus less on the milk in the glass.  Would they be happier if they shifted their gaze to the glass itself, and realized how grateful they were to have a nice container with which to hold their milk, however much of it they may feel themselves to have?  Would they be happier if they could be grateful for having two strong arms and hands that allow them to pour the milk?  Or, in the case of not having two arms, two hands, or the strength to pour their milk themselves, having gratitude that someone had carefully done it for them?  And what about, after reviewing these other blessings, to finally at last return their focus to the milk, and find it within themselves to be grateful that they have something to drink, whether in their opinion it is a little, or a lot?

Well, of course, today I was put to the test.  There's nothing like making sure you're willing to stand behind your own words.  We were not having a good day.  I was tired, I had a headache, Hallie after weeks of dryness had two big accidents, Hanna just wanted to eat and eat and eat again, and there was crying and screaming and I was frustrated, irritated, agitated, and every other tated you've ever heard of.

I was literally curled up on the bathroom floor while Hallie sat on the potty "trying again" when I realized my attitude needed to change.  So I had a headache.  Well, couldn't I be grateful to have a head? And to live in this modern day where they've invented the fantastic Tylenol?  And couldn't I be grateful that my daughter gets enough to drink that she has such nice clear "accidents"?  And couldn't I be grateful that she has healthy lungs and a strong heart that allow her to bellow at such levels for so long?  And couldn't I be grateful that my body is willing to supply enough milk for this hungry baby?

I can.  Am I feeling better after reviewing all that?  Well, I have yet to actually go get the Tylenol, so my head still hurts, but yes.  I gave Hallie a big hug, we had a little talk about accidents, and I told Hanna that there was plenty more where that came from if she started feeling hungry again.  So, yes, I think this day is shaping up.

Hanna says, "Don't worry. Be happy."
Will I actually talk about milk and cups and attitudes of gratitude when the day comes to teach this lesson? I don't know yet. But I have yet again confirmed my theory that we make our own happiness.  It's out there, waiting for us to find it. 

And so is my Tylenol.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, my! Such an interesting and varied life.......

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  2. I 100% agree. Happiness is a choice—not an automatic reaction to a situation. I am sure there are miserable people at Disneyland and happy people in the hospital. What a blessing that it is a choice! Wouldn't it be horrible if we couldn't choose to be happy when something awful happened? If we were automatically required to be miserable? That would be sad. And how much more sad it is when people waste their opportunities for happiness by being miserable, intentionally, and only wallowing in the cloud and never seeing the silver lining.

    And, haha, I vote next time you get the Tylonel as soon as possible when you have a bad headache.

    Sorry about your day. Congratulations on having two wonderful daughters though!! :) One to suck you dry and the other to keep your house nice and moist. ;D

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  3. I like your comments. Isn't it hard to pull yourself out of a funk? Good job.

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  4. ames. you are my hero. you are a great mom and a great example to me. love you!

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  5. Mims--one to suck you dry and one to keep the house moist! You crack me up. I think optimism is a habit. Even those who seem to have mastered the positive attitude have days where they need to remind themselves what matters.

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  6. Maybe I'm lower on the spiritual totem pole. As I've transitioned into being a mother of children I've had to learn that I will have bad moments, I will feel bad, but they do not last forever and I am not defined by my bad moments. I guess what I'm saying here is I'm probably one of those people who can see the glass empty and full in the same day. As long as my fulls outweigh my empties still I'm happy with it. I think it is pure amy-ness to step back and be grateful for the glass. You amaze me woman, and someday I hope I'm that cool. Keep posting stuff like this so that I can get there.

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