Is Your Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

Alexander was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, so Judith Viorst decided to write a book about it.  Forty-two years later, Walt Disney Pictures has decided to take it to the big screen.  Poor Alexander!

We will read it, watch it, and laugh at all the mishaps of his day, all at his expense, and then feel a little bit better at the realization that our own circumstances could be worse than they are.  Everybody wins, even Alexander, as he learns that everyone has a bad day from time to time, even people who live in Australia.

Have you ever come to the place where you actually enjoyed your misery?  Is there a point where the self-pity party seems so well deserved that you do not want to leave the party too soon?  It is said that misery loves company, so the inclination is to invite other people to our party so they can see how unrelenting and difficult life can be.

In such a state of mind, we are prone to faulty thinking that assumes the worst, and our perspective is viewed from negative spectacles!  That is when the cup appears half empty.  Of course, it probably is leaking, or we will spill it if we try to fill it to the top, or any number of other things that can go wrong will, indeed, go wrong.  We might as well move to Australia!

In 1972, Kris Kristofferson wrote and recorded a song titled, “Why Me, Lord?”  With Rita Coolidge and Larry Gatlin backing with vocals, the song became his biggest hit in 1973.  The lyrics are from the perspective of seeing the cup half full.  He writes, “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known?” Rather than asking why so many things go wrong, he seems to wonder why anything ever goes right. His is not a sense of entitlement, but of gratefulness.

I have heard people begin a thought with, “In a perfect world…” Often what they mean is, “If everything went the way I want it to go…” However, it is not our world. We are merely given a small spot on this earth for a brief time over the course of millenniums, and every breath of this life is a gift from God.

Soon Thanksgiving will be upon us, complete with football and parades and huge feasts and family and friends. However, we would do well to practice living every day with an attitude of gratitude. Yes, things could be better, but they also could be much worse. Let’s take a moment and give thanks today for those blessings we are privileged to enjoy.

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