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Half Full, half empty or just a glass?

We often hear the question, “Do you see the glass as half empty or half full?” It is a question to determine whether you are an optimist or a pessimist but I find that it is limiting as it leaves no room for my favorite kind of person, a realist! A Pessimist sees the negative in every situation – always looking for the worst case scenario. The Optimist refuses to see the bad and constantly searches for the silver lining. A realist on the other hand acknowledges both the good and the bad and tries to figure out how to make the total package work together.

A couldn’t imagine being either an Optomist or a Pessimist – either choice seems exhausting and counter=productive to me. If you refuse to see the good and focus only on the bad, you go through life exhausted and emotionally drained. There is only so much negativity and loss of hope that the human spirit can endure and only so much Lobsterism that your friends and family will put up with as well. Pessimists are drainers – they are no fun to be around, they do nothing for your self esteem and are impossible to work with. Not only do I not want to be a pessimist, I don’t even want to be around them.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the happy smiling bubbly people that see the world through rose colored glasses. No matter the situation, no matter the problem, they always look for the positive spin, ignore or disregard the less attractive elements and refuse to see or even acknowledge the bad. I don’t want to be an optimist either – not because they are draining, but because their skewed take on reality often leaves problems unsolved or even worsened. Optimists are annoying people, they make terrible friends because sometimes bad things happen and no amount of smiling or positive spinning can make you feel better about them and you just want to grieve the situation instead of searching for the positive spin.

Think about your own personal relationships – how many people do you know are pessimists, how many are optomists and which do you think you are?

As for myself, I don’t think I am either – I am a realist. In everything there are positives and negatives, light and dark, yin and yang – it is the way the universe works and without that balance of good and bad, the Universe would be a very scary place. Being a realist is about balance. Being able to hope for, plan for and work for the best possible result while looking at, analyzing, preparing for and solving the problems, the negatives that are sure to arise from every decision or act. When a child falls off their bike and skins their knee, an Optimist will say, “You gotta get right back on that bike and keep on riding! You’ll be fine!”, the Pessimist will say, “I don’t think you should ride anymore – it is too dangerous – what if you fall again?”. The Realist will wipe away the tears, bandage the knee and say, “I know that was scary and your knee hurts, but the more you practice, the better you will become at riding so until then, let’s wear knee pads and keep on trying!”

Realists base their attitude on the philosophy of, “You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge.” If you don’t discuss the problems and the risks, how can you prepare for or fix them? If you don’t see the benefits, if you have no hope for a positive outcome, if you have no goal – how could it ever be reached? Sometimes it can be hard to be a realist because others around you may not want to know about the risks, they may not want to hear about the problems and others may get frustrated with any kind of positive encouragement or wishful thinking. It is hard to be a realist when you are surrounded by optimists and pessimists, their forces tend to be polarizing and the realist might constantly feel the need to fight to stay balanced between two very strong forces. It is hard but sometimes you just have to be willing to stand up and scream, “Full or Empty – it doesn’t matter! Just drink the damn thing!”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 6:49 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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