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Half Empty or Half Full?

Glass Half Empty or Glass Half Full? We have all heard the famous expression – Is the glass half empty or half full? This rhetorical question can be answered in three different ways and depending on which answer you give you can determine if you are a pessimist an optimist or a realist.

If the glass is half empty then you are a pessimist, you have a state of mind that tends to see the negatives and you often feel like you have no control of the things around you. Then there are the people who believe that the glass is half full. If you think that then congratulations, you’re an optimist. You believe that all is well and you don’t worry about the future, you like the idea that tomorrow is a new chance to start over. There are a few people that don’t fit in either of those boxes; you believe simply that it is only a glass of water it is neither empty or full. If you believe that then you are a realist, you have a firm grip on reality and you see everything for what it is.

Each and every one of us is wired differently to think either positively or negatively. It’s almost impossible to change which view you have on life and although I try my hardest to be an optimist, I believe that I am a pessimist. Sometimes I take on the realist view and optimism is something that can also cross my mind but I have accepted that I tend to see the world in a negative way. It’s not my fault either and nor is it yours. You see, studies have shown that we are either negative thinkers or positive thinkers. Negative thinkers can think positively but it requires more effort for them as their brains react to situations in a negative way. Positive thinkers can also see the negative side of things but naturally they will revert back to the thought that comes logically to them. Some people believe that you have a choice. You choose what viewpoint you want to have on life but I believe that you can’t. You’re born a certain way and everything around us from that moment including our relationships, our experiences and our environment can influence which person you are going to be.

I’ve always been a negative person and it annoys me sometimes because I want to see the bright side of life. I want to believe that great things will happen and I want to be excited about the future but I don’t think my mind works that way. I fear a lot of things and it doesn’t take much to put me in a bad mood, I’m not always a grumpy person, I have my optimistic days where I feel like nothing can break my spirit but then it always does. Life is a balance of positive and negative. Some of us favour one over the other and once we choose one it’s extremely hard to change. I know what you’re thinking. Can you not just tell a negative person to cheer up? Or a positive person that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows? No you can’t. We are the way we are for a reason. Optimists always see the possibility and pessimists always see the problem.

Could you imagine a world where everyone was an optimist? There would never be any self-doubt and everyone would walk around with a smile on their face. It sounds great but for some reason that image isn’t tangible for me. Alternatively, a world full of pessimists wouldn’t really work either. The world would be full of insecure people and nothing would ever be achieved. Life works the way it does because the world is full of different people with different views on the world. We all have our place in society. Optimists and pessimists bounce off each other and the realists, well, they are just in a world of their own. Looking at the world from the outside they don’t favour optimism or pessimism; they just live and see everything clearly. I praise the optimists of the world because they have managed to ignore all of the negativity that surrounds them and they have found strength to believe in the best possible outcome.  I wish I was a sunny, happy and positive person and sometimes I am but most of the time I’m not. This doesn’t make me a miserable person. Being a pessimist isn’t such a bad thing. Pessimists tend to be more sensitive to everything around them and this makes me a better writer. I feel everything deeply and they say that the best writing comes from emotion.

I took an online test to reveal which box I fit into. I was curious. I labelled myself a pessimist before the test began. The answer I received was surprising. I was called a realist. I was confused at first but then it all made sense to me. Although I favoured the pessimistic view of life most of the time, I can think positively from time to time and when expressing my opinions, I take on a realist view. So that’s what a realist really is. Maybe the realist isn’t someone who sees the world in a logic way. Maybe the realist is someone who is a mixture of an optimist and a pessimist.

I still believe that a person has one main view of the world. Mine is a pessimistic one. Although I’m actually a realist and I see the world in many different lights, I think negatively before I even have the chance to think positively, proving that we are all wired to think in a certain way. We can try and break free from these labels, but we will always return to the thoughts that come naturally to us. We are either negative or positive thinkers. There is no way around it.

What about you? Do you believe that you are a pessimist, an optimist or a realist?


  • Becky Hayes Becky Hayes says:

    ‘Optimists always see the possibility and pessimists always see the problem’ – Found this line so so true!
    I’m definitely a more negative person as well, but do try to be positive. I feel like it’s a creative person’s curse in life 😛 We’re more sensitive so see all the world’s problems.

    • Thanks Becky! I think it must be a creative person thing. Every creative person I know has insecurities or anxieties and sees the world in quite a negative way. We’re all weird… but I wouldn’t change it for the world :)

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