“Letting Go of What You Can’t Change…” Thinking of a “glass half full” vs. “half empty” is a good mindfulness exercise to help see the positive side…

by | Aug 2, 2014


“Glass Half Full…”

Letting go…  Quote from this website article…click on the highlighted text to learn more…

Letting Go of What You Cannot Change

Turn what you cannot change into peace and contentment with this very moment.

“Glass-half-full/glass-half-empty is an idiom used to describe how people think of their lives. People who see their lives as a glass that’s half-full are thought to have an optimistic and joyful outlook on life—they’re looking at what’s in the glass. By contrast, those who see their lives as a glass that’s half-empty are thought to have a pessimistic and negative outlook on life—they’re looking at what’s missing from the glass.”


I grew up in a home where the “glass was half empty” forever…  My parents had a hard time finding anything positive about most things.  In this negative culture everything seemed to be wrong most of the time.  The entire family was affected by an attitude of self talk and conversation of whining, complaining, and blaming everyone and everything on most every day.  It was a challenge growing up with this kind of attitude constantly present at home.  I instinctively felt something was not right with the almost daily negative conversation toward each other, everybody and everything else in life…always the dark side…  This kind of “glass half empty” world at home is not easy to fight back and will often stick around unless you are showed another more positive model of behavior.

Once leaving home to join the US Navy in 1963, I started hearing more of the positive and encouraging talk from adult mentors who built me up as a young man.  The Navy boot camp experience was tough, but most of the young men in training were always thinking about graduating, moving on to a vocational training school, the first duty station, and going back home for a visit…there was lots of hope and promise about what was in front of us.  We talked up the positive and the competition to succeed was highly motivating.

It took years for me to finally let go of all the self doubt and negative talk that life at home as a kid and young adult directed my attention.  At first there was a consistent need for outward affirmation from others of positive individual behavior and in the value of team success.  It was much later in life that the idea of using mindfulness techniques and exercises like the “glass is half full” helped me during the times when it was important for me to remind myself when others were not present.  I had to learn how to create a positive thought process and personal discipline of staying on top of my game.  It became clear that no one else but me was responsible for maintaining a positive outlook in life…and that it is a work in progress for most everyone.

The referenced link and article, Letting Go, What You Can’t Change is a good way to revisit the importance of using mindfulness techniques and meditation that help maintain a positive frame of mind.  We are often alone or not in a place to get direct positive feedback from colleagues, friends, and family members.  When the negative thoughts start to creep back in think about the “glass half full.”  It really works.  Try it right now…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click the highlighted text for my author page… 


About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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