+ Discussions

Discuss: Half-Empty vs. Half-Full


I often explain to people that my familial luck is a combination of bad kharma and Murphy’s law: If it can happen, it will happen, and it will not be good.  If you knew me in real life, or knew the member’s of my immediate family, you’d know that weird, negative things just happen to us.  And they happen frequently. 

My life conditioned me to be a “glass half-empty” kind of person, but recently, I’ve been on a hot streak.  Things have been really going my way. 

While I couldn’t be more pleased by this positive turn of events (if I thanked God any more frequently, he’d probably blush), it also makes me a little suspicious.  I feel a bit like someone is holding the other shoe over my head waiting to drop it at any moment…will I get hit by a taxi?  Will I be diagnosed with a serious illness?  Will I have my identity stolen?  Will Uggs suddenly be considered en vogue?

I’m fairly frustrated with my seeming inability to look on the bright side, but I’m making an effort. It’s hard to undo three decades of negative thinking in a single season. But the whole discussion about luck/kharma/grace got me thinking:

Are you a glass half-empty or half-full person?  And do you believe that what you put out to the universe comes back to you? For example, positive people have good things happen to them while pessimists get the short end.

Oh, and before you answer, know that anyone who mentions or quotes from The Secret will be forever banned from this site. 



  1. Govvie says:

    Glad things are going well for you – life can be so fragile. Sometimes I feel like Debbie Downer surrounded by fun people – hate that! But I have been so so blessed in life and try to thank God every night!

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  2. Miss M says:

    Baby steps, Belle. Baby steps. And you are doing great!

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  3. Trang says:

    Girl, I got the same kind of mad luck:-) One year eons ago, I got dumped for a Hooters waitress, kicked out of my own place by my jerky ex, laid off, and dumped by my 'friends” for my jerky ex because he told a better sob story. All in a span of 4 months. But hell, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  4. Sam says:

    <i>Oh, and before you answer, know that anyone who mentions or quotes from The Secret will be forever banned from this site. </i>

    blows you kisses on principle

    I try to aim for the middle area, myself.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  5. A says:

    A coworker recently commented to me “a glass half-empty would be a good day for you, right?”

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  6. Elle says:

    I agree with your sentiment. Approximately every two years my world get turned upside down: terminal diseases, cancer or a car accident. I grit my teeth waiting for something to hit. Sure it makes you stronger but I'd really like a break sometimes. Goodluck hang in there!

    Do you get an anxious feeling if a family members calls you multiple times in a row? That is the WORST feeling.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  7. KS says:

    I think I tend to be a downer. At least this year when some pretty crappy stuff happened. Even when lots of things are going great, that one thing really bad thing will make me feel so negative. I don't like this about myself but I don't think it actually causes things to go badly. It just means I devote too much energy on the bad stuff.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  8. Erica says:

    A true optimist is one that doesn't have to lie to his or herself about the fact that they are angry at life for throwing hurdles at us because they know that eventually, they will persevere. Some may say that makes you a downer or that you don't have a positive attitude, but I whole-heartedly disagree. Negative emotion is human and healthy.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  9. K says:

    I'm generally a pessimist, but I've been trying recently to catch myself when I start getting negative about problems. When I can see myself beginning to mope about how much a situation sucks, I actively try to stop and direct my thinking towards 1 – why it's making me so down and 2 – solutions to fix it. This isn't trying to sugarcoat my problems, but rather coming at it from a different, and ultimately more productive, point of view. I've found that developing a plan of action (even if I can't always implement it) helps me feel better and be more positive despite my pessimistic tendencies.

    One thing I can't stand is when people are pessimistic not about situations, but themselves. That is so counterproductive! I hate it when people harp about how bad they are at something. Its usually not true, but they're making it that way with their consistent negative reinforcement. Anyways. #endrant.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  10. Terri says:

    I agree with Erica. But once the initial blow from the crap passes with some time you should be able to turn it around a bit and move on to better things.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  11. amy b.s. says:

    i have always been a glass half empty person, but i too have been trying to work on this. i think i'm getting better. and still refuse to read the secret.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  12. Rachel says:

    What you expect, you'll get. If you condition yourself to think you'll get the brunt end of everything, you probably will.

    The banner on my cell says “Expect Success” and I've been getting a bunch of it since putting that up. It keeps me in check by reminding me to not doubt my abilities.

    I don't know you, except through reading your blog religiously, so I don't think this fits you, but people that tend to have a negative outlook on life also tend to have self esteem issues. Something to think about.

    October 7, 2011/Reply
  13. Kim says:

    I would just like to say, that Belle, I love you. What I know of you anyway. I have a feeling you are either in love or got a raise or book/ job offer. Whatever it is, you deserve it. Your sentiment is something I've come to enjoy and look forward to. I think I'm probably considered a glass 2/3 full person with an extreme appreciation for the negative and cynical. Appreciate this for everything it's worth because it's bound to come to a quick and tragic end, right? Just kidding! Again, you deserve it. Much love.

    October 8, 2011/Reply
  14. Anna Della says:

    I generally find that successful people tend not to be blithely-strolling-through-life types. However, I find that the blithely-strolling-through-life types are REALLY good at convincing themselves that they're downright outstanding (despite any and all evidence to the contrary). I think something can be said for defensive pessimism and something can be said for having the experience and maturity to realize that getting where you want to be is entirely up to you and will entail a lot of hard work, self doubt, and general crappy-ness. There should be a pay-off and you should have goals–but don't delude yourself into thinking that every day is another opportunity for an ego boost or that success is a chirpy cellphone banner away. Also, you may enjoy this particular episode of this particular podcast:


    October 9, 2011/Reply
  15. Holly says:

    A pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist. From only knowing you through your blog and being much more of a realist than a pessimist or an optimist, I'd say you're more realistic than pessimistic. I find myself realistic because I appreciate the good things but don't expect them – though that doesn't mean I expect the bad things, either.

    October 10, 2011/Reply
  16. Danae says:


    After that post and no blog today, I have to say I'm wondering…. and hoping you're just taking Columbus Day off! 🙂

    October 10, 2011/Reply
  17. Ilene says:

    Hi – interesting post. I believe good and bad things happen to people no matter what they think (good thoughts do not automatically equal good outcomes). However, it is how we deal with it that is important. When bad things happen you need to take it in stride and think that this is just life. I'm not sure if you listen to country but there is a song about a guy who is poor, has a pregnant wife and a young family. His friend shows him how much there is to celebrate in the exact same situation. So basically, yes, I am an optimist but not some happy all the time person but one who doesn't think life is that hard and even when it is – so what, I'm not the first to deal with X and I'm not the last and really, no one wants to hear me complain about life. It's life, it happens. Get over it.

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  18. Leigh says:

    If your glass is only half full, it means it's about time for a refill. 😉

    I don't know that I'd call myself an optimist, but I do try to remember that it could always be worse. It's kind of like being a Panthers fan; as long as we win at least a couple of games, then I can say we've had worse seasons. And things can always get better. We might even get another shot at losing a Super Bowl some day.

    October 11, 2011/Reply
  19. kb says:

    haha. i LOVE this. welcome to my life, too. i.e. one time i was having drinks in hotel george and a homeless man walked in, marched right up to me at the bar. and demanded i give him change for a dollar. and then got mad because i didn't actually have it. true story.

    December 7, 2011/Reply