Cup Half Full? Change Your Cup!

Cup Half Full? Change Your Cup!
Photo credit: MaxPixel. (CC0)

I saw a cartoon the other day that posed the well-known question about whether the cup is half full or half empty. And the punch line was that if you think your cup is half empty, get a different another cup.

This not only made me smile, it made me reflect. This bit of wisdom disguised as humor applies so much to our attitudes. Anytime we see nothing but grey skies around us, literally or emotionally, we simply need to change our cup, or our attitude. If you spend your time looking at the grey clouds, or the weeds in your garden, or the faults in others, that's all you'll be able see.

Richard Bach in his classic book "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" tells of making clouds go away by focusing on the blue spot in the sky and seeing it get bigger. I don't know if he meant this physically or metaphysically, though both work, but it definitely is a great metaphor for life.

I have noticed that when I start weeding in the garden, I only see a few weeds, but as I get into weeding and looking for weeds to pull, it seems as if more and more weeds appear. The more i look for them, the more of them I find.

In order to see something else, you must look for something else, or you must look elsewhere. In order for your cup to be half full, or even abundantly full, you have several choices. You change the cup (your attitude), you can add more liquid to the cup (take action), or you could combine the contents of your cup with someone else's cup (team work and cooperation).

What Now?

We are never stuck in one place, one attitude, or one reality. Everything in life is constantly changing and so are we. The cells in our body are replicating themselves daily, the blood in our veins is constantly circulating. Nothing is permanent. Our thoughts are also "on" all the time. And they change. They go from up to down, from inward to outward, from positive to negative.

The great thing about our fluctuating thoughts is that we can redirect them. We are not stuck with negative, disparaging, or fearful ones. We can refocus our energy, our mind, our words, to a state that will provide us with a cup that is not only half full, but overflowing with love and gratitude.

And What About Gratitude?

Much is said of the power of gratitude. It ties in with my earlier comment about weeds. The more I look for weeds, the more weeds seem to pop up. In the same fashion, the more you notice things to be grateful for, the more of them you will "discover" or notice.

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How else does this manifest? Think back to one of those days where you "got up on the wrong side of the bed". For whatever reason, you woke up in a bad mood. And what happened? The day went from bad to worse, of course! Instead of counting your blessings, you focused on everything that was going wrong thus seeing things that you might have otherwise overlooked if you'd been in a good mood.

It's the same thing as when you're newly in love. Isn't everything just more beautiful then? Isn't everyone just so much nicer? The colors brighter, the temperature better. Everything seems just so wonderful when you're newly in love.

So do you think things are really different on those "happy" days? I would expect that they were no different than the day before, but because you were seeing them though the eyes of love and joy, it all seemed better, more vibrant, more lovable.

Whose Eye Are You Looking Through?

This secret of life is even stated in this common statement: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In other words, the item, or the person, is beautiful only if the person looking thinks it is beautiful. Thus is the whole of life. If we get up in the morning grateful to be alive and happy to have another day to experience life on earth, we will notice all of the things we have to be grateful for. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if we get up grumpy and complaining about this and that, we find more to complain about.

Like attracts like may pertain not so much to relationships and people, but more to energy. Misery loves company they say. But happy energy attracts happy people. If someone starts laughing uncontrollably on the subway, after a while everyone joins in.

Laughter, joy, and love are contagious. So fill your cup with laughter, with love, with bubbles of joy and let it spread to others. Let your cup be the one that "runneth over" and touches everyone around you with its energy.

Recommended Book

The Infinite View: A Guidebook for Life on Earth by Ellen Tadd.The Infinite View: A Guidebook for Life on Earth
by Ellen Tadd.

The Infinite View offers tools and insights needed to help readers transform their understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on


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