Is the glass half full, or half empty?

This is a running joke between me and a very dear friend of mine. I, the eternal optimist, see the glass half full; he the realist (not pessimist! as he points out) sees the glass half empty. We love to tease each other about our different perspectives on life, people, circumstances.

This came to mind recently as I’ve been wrestling with my expectations of other people and situations. As you can imagine, the wrestling comes from being disappointed, sad and frustrated when they aren’t met. I’ve been told that as an addict, it’s important not to have expectations – because they can lead to disappointments and resentments, which are recipes for relapse.

But as I’ve chewed on this and brought it up as a topic in meetings and with my therapist, I have questioned: “Is this really how I want to go through life?  Not having expectations?”  Sounds awfully dull.  Sounds a lot like seeing the glass as half empty!  I’m not ready to make that switch!

Honest – yes.  Open minded – eh…  Willing – not so much.

I’ve been here before.  It’s time to revisit my world view…again.

Without being cliché, what I’m realizing is it’s about accepting things they way they are, not the way I want them to be.  Accepting that people in my life — even friends with 10 and 20 years of recovery — as broken human beings in need of compassion and grace, not judgement and rejection. It’s about living in the moment, and trusting my Higher Power to take care of me. My expectations are about control – and I have to accept that I am powerless over people, places and things. It doesn’t mean I accept injustice, bigotry, discrimination, etc. But, most of the situations in my life recently that frustrate and disappoint me don’t fall into that category.

So is the glass half full, or half empty?

That’s not the right question.  In fact, there is no question.

It’s a glass of sweet nectar – the sweet nectar of life!  Drink deeply and enjoy the refreshing gift.

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I see life as full of possibilities and the world full of beautiful people possessing unique and often untapped talents. I’m a learner and connector, seeking ways to leverage the abundance in this world through strong community.

6 thoughts on “Is the glass half full, or half empty?”

  1. That sweet nectar is overflowing…I like the stuff you write here about expectations. It’s good to struggle with that question…I guess I would say that having expectations isn’t bad – any more than having a plan for every day of one’s life is a good idea – except that hardly any day has worked out as I planned. It’s good to plan – because it shows that one is hopeful – but one should approach those plans and expectations from two perspectives I think: 1) with a sense of humor – things don’t always work out as we planned – and so we should remember that and perhaps laugh a little when the plans go awry; and 2) on a spiritual life we can trust that God can take whatever screwed up expectations we have and make something good and true and beautiful arise from it.


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