Tuesday, November 22, 2011 / by Nathan Clark
“When somebody asks me if I see my cup as half-full or I see it as half-empty, I tell them I’m thankful that I have a cup.”
See, I am one who sometimes loses sight of things to be thankful for. I am getting better at it, but being busy and committed to all the things I do, it’s almost as if I am distracted from being thankful for all the things I have, all the time.
Most people might assume that optimists – the glass-is-half-full folks, like myself – are probably quicker to feel grateful. Optimists are naturally more prone to believing things are going to be OK, and that belief is probably more in tune with being thankful for things than pessimists might be. Pessimists, inclined to believe that everything is going to turn out not-so-good, might logically feel there is less about which to be thankful.
But no matter how well or how badly you might think things are, you can always be grateful just to have a cup. It would seem that if you have a cup, you will always have a chance to fill it. Not everybody has that.
If you have food on the table, a roof over your head, family and friends around you and/or your health, you have plenty more than some others. These are the kinds of things we take for granted, and maybe, say, you’re looking at your home or your relationships as a half-empty cup, there are a ton of people who would be glad to have what you have. Thinking this way is humbling, but it’s also necessary from time to time.
I also think that if you are not grateful for the things you have, you won’t be successful in ever having more things that you want. There’s no accomplishment, no high level of success that can be achieved without motivation, and if you’re not thankful for the blessings you already have, you’re going to be lacking motivation in pursuing additional blessings.
I really believe that taking time to feel real gratitude for things makes you more at peace with where you are in life, and it makes you more connected to your goals in the future. Like I said, sometimes it’s hard for me to do, and I’m sure it is for others, too. Not because we’re ungrateful people, but because we’re going through life at such a fast pace that we naturally feel more thanks when things slow down.
You know the cure for that? Slow things down more often. I love it when somebody forces me to slow down by telling me when I sound like I’m complaining. When I think I have it bad, there always seems to be somebody around me who reminds me that things aren’t bad. This is usually the slow-down I need to starting being thankful for the things I have.
I also work on being thankful for the challenges I have. Challenges and tough times are the things that allow us to learn and grow. Without some of the challenging times we’ve been through in our past, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. Be thankful for the good times and what seem like the bad.
Look at how people who seemingly have no challenges. Kids who grow up rich, then tank as adults because they’ve never dealt with adversity. Spoiled millionaire athletes who are jerks because everything seems to go their way. Part of who you are and how you handle yourself today is due to having been through times of challenge in your past. Be thankful for them, and be thankful for the ones you’re going to face.
I don’t know whether you’re a half-full or half-empty type person. But I do know that you have a cup. As this holiday season kicks into high gear, starting with Thanksgiving, try to be thankful for at least your cup.