Why The Glass Is Neither Half Full, Nor Half Empty

Photo: getty
negative woman at table

By Christina Donati

We often hear the saying about “our glasses being half full” or “half empty.” When people say that their glass is half full, they are portraying optimism; the latter, a half empty glass portrays pessimism.

Typically, depending on how someone uses this quote, their worldview will become evident to whoever they are speaking to.

Talking about the glass being half full or half empty is a type of worldview and demonstrates that certain people see things positively, and others see situations more negatively.

But is it safe to assume that the metaphor of the glass can describe someone fully?

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I once heard a different way to quote the metaphor about a full glass, and the quote was: “The glass is neither half full, nor is it half empty; it is just refillable.”

The reason I love this quote so much is because it is saying that people cannot look at situations positively or negatively all the time because life is all about balance.

We often hear people saying that they have a goal to be a more positive person, and while this may be nice to do, we have to be able to understand that at certain times we need to allow our negativity to take control.

I bet you haven’t heard someone tell you to be negative before, but being negative once in a while is actually important.

There is a set of emotions that are seen as negative: sadness, anger, frustration, stress, and many others. Although we don’t enjoy feeling these things, it is important to allow ourselves to feel more than positive emotions all the time.

I say this because when we feel angry or sad there is usually a reason why these emotions came to be.

Feeling these negative emotions is our way of releasing whatever we are feeling so that we can move on.

A lot of us try to shut down any feelings from escaping, which, in turn, forces us to bottle them up inside for a long period of time. This is so unhealthy.

We need to not be afraid to let our emotions escape us once in a while because it is how we learn to cope with whatever battle is currently in our way.

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Just like the glass, life is about balance, and emotions work just the same.

We have to trust that the glass will balance the water so that it lies flat and even; therefore, we also have to learn how to balance our negative emotions with our positive ones so that we are even and true to ourselves.

Could you imagine forcing yourself to be happy every time something bad happens to you?

Sometimes you need to allow yourself to cry, to be angry about something, and to feel so immensely stressed out that you work hard at whatever is causing the stress so that you can remove it.

In reality, these negative emotions are actually quite positive.

Sadness allows us to cry and release the depressing thoughts that we are holding onto, anger allows us to deal with an unfair situation, and stress motivates us to work hard.

Therefore, these negative emotions actually work hard to bring back the positive ones that we would rather feel on a daily basis.

All emotions work together, and you can’t force yourself to ignore the negatives when they are a part of human nature.

Now, back to the quote about the glass being refillable — it is saying that we need to feel all negative and positive feelings, and we look at all sorts of situations with a different lens depending on what is happening in our lives.

The glass is refillable, meaning that these emotions will eventually go away and make room for new ones to come.

Therefore, next time someone tells you that your glass is half full or half empty, you should tell them that it is neither, it is just refillable.

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Christina Donati is a writer whose work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Diply, Narcity, MTL Blog, and Unwritten. For more of her content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.