Is the glass half full, or half empty? This is the daily post today, and I am inspired to respond. I know this is a question of optimism, but it is also, I think, a question of character. I know people who naturally assume that things will turn out in a positive way. They go about their lives just believing that things will work out. I am not like these people, but I definitely wish I were. When bad things happen to these people there is some horrible little piece of me that instantly thinks “well, you should have seen that coming” and then is truly astounded when they manage to live through it.
On Friday I did something I thought I never would. I had a very long conversation with someone I thought I might never talk to again and had an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. It was awful. And it was wonderful. And it felt great, and it hurt more than I could have ever anticipated. I did not go into this conversation feeling optimistic, I systematically teased out every single thread of discourse and took each of them to the most negative conclusion before I even showed up. Is this pessimism? I don’t know. To me, it is really just trying to be prepared. I hate to be surprised, I hate when things happen that I did not anticipate anywhere – even when these things are positive. Another way to put this is absolute control freak.
The truth is, that when it comes to this person, my problem has always been optimism. No matter what has been said, or done, I have always somehow believed in him. Occam’s Razor be damned, I have always hoped for an illogical silver lining with this relationship. This is so far away from my natural state of being that I am finally understanding that this is the reason I have lost all control of myself over the last three years, these are the choices I have made. What does it mean when you believe in something that no one else understands? And I don’t mean random people commenting on your life. I mean your best friends, your closest family, and your therapist. It means something, but I don’t know what. Maybe it is something to listen to, and maybe it is just something to fix about myself.
After this conversation I was walking to my car and an older gentleman in a mini van drove by me and then stopped and backed up and opened his window. I obviously immediately assumed that he was going to grab me and throw me in the van and brutally dismember me (half empty?) but he did not. He stopped to tell me that he had seen me talking and just wanted to tell me that everything would be all right. He was there to make arrangements for a meal after his father’s funeral, but he saw me and wanted to offer me comfort. This kind of grace overwhelms me, and I just don’t know what to say so I stood there and cried and then practically crawled into his (possibly murder) van to hug him.
I am trying to formulate the question of “half full or half empty?” differently in my head. What I am realizing, much too late, is that for me, I do not need to believe that things will turn out the way I want them to. I do not need to believe that I will get everything I want in life. I just need to believe that no matter what happens, no matter how bad things get, I can handle it. Because the truth is that I always have, and this for me is optimism.