I learned many years ago that a glass half filled with water could be described as half full, or half empty. Both descriptions would be technically correct, and so it came down to the perspective of the observer. If the observer generally focused on what they don’t have in life (a negative perspective), then they would see the glass as half empty. In contrast, a person who tends to acknowledge what they do have (a positive perspective) would see the glass as half full.
I am sure that we all know people who are constantly complaining about some aspect of their life but, hopefully, we also know people who are content with what they have. This would appear to have very little to do with a standard of living, but more a simple perception of their world. There are very affluent people living in large houses who are constantly complaining, and there are people earning minimum wage and living in a 1-room apartment who are very happy with their situation. It is all perspective.
It is a shame that we can so easily get caught up in the rather materialistic game of keeping up with our friends; neighbors, and the TV advertising, that we forget to acknowledge what we actually do have. The simple fact that we have friends, neighbors and a TV is worth an appreciative smile as there are people without any of those things!
There are so many aspects of life where we should perhaps be acknowledging how lucky we are, rather than complaining about it. It is all perspective.
I will be happy today if it is sunny because I can get some outdoor jobs done. I will also be happy if it rains because there is plenty to do inside! I win regardless of how the weather works out! That same perspective can be applied to pretty much any set of circumstances.
I have noted Ray’s problematic and challenging areas many times here (and in his book), but I have also recognized his display of willingness to learn and adapt. If my life is typical of yours (and allowing for some details changing, I suspect that it is), then there are always positive spins that can be applied to negative circumstances. They may not be immediately obvious but they are there.
One quote that I have never forgotten:
“I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”
Regardless of our circumstances, there are always going to be people who are dealing with worse situations than us. We should recognize the simple fact that things could be a lot worse, and celebrate what we do in fact have.
(Thanks Carolyn for the idea of this Post)