We’re told that people look at life in one of two ways: the glass is half empty or the glass is half full. But what if your glass has nothing in it or worse, it’s full of stuff that you thought would make you happy and fulfilled but just leaves you restless for more? If attitude is merely a choice in perception, what is it that motivates us to change our minds?
I met some women tonight whose glasses were drained as children. They went through their youth with no one to teach them that life is something worth fighting for. You can call them victims of circumstance or you can blame society, but blame is merely a deflection from the reality. A pastime. We’re comfortable shaking our heads and welling up with pity, only to return to our own personal misery of half-empty glassdom. Our HQP’s (High Quality Problems) leave us feeling more empty than the bellies of these women and their children.
But that pain is just as real, isn’t it? So what circumstance are we the victims of? When the house and the car and the trophy wife and the Pottery Barn reclaimed driftwood coffee table can’t change our perception of the proverbial glass, who can we blame? Our therapists teach us to blame our parents. Our doctors teach us to blame our nerves (Valium martini, anyone?). Our pastors teach us to blame our hedonism. But here again, blame is still only a deflection. A distracting glare off of the half-empty glass. What does it take to change our perception?
The only answer I have for you tonight is gratitude. Deep, bone level gratitude. These women had more gratitude for the rising sun than I have for my shiny new car. I’m too busy trying not to ruin my car I forgot to try not to let the car ruin me. You don’t have to have much in order to be grateful for it. You also don’t have to feel guilty for your possessions. We covet stuff; it’s what we do. There’s no use trying to overcome that all at once. Martyrdom for the sake of guilt-relief is useless and self-centered. It’s simply that attitude of gratitude for what we have and what we are that shifts our perception from self-pity to wholeness.
I got a glimpse of that tonight. And tonight, my leaky glass became a cup runneth over.