Archive for category HalfEmpty/HalfFull

The Language Barrier

With only a semester of Spanish in college, I served as the language expert between me and Mr. HalfFull on our South American Adventure. We are decidedly not fluent speakers. So over two months in Spanish-speaking countries, frustration, ridiculousness, and perhaps even some learning ensued.

HalfEmpty vs. HalfFull

Chocolate Grandmother

In typical halfFull fashion, Mr. HalfFull poses with his Chocolate Grandmother.

The language barrier further highlighted our halfFull and halfEmpty tendencies. I wanted to understand everything and communicate with ease, whereas Mr. HalfFull didn’t take himself too seriously and had fun making up his own words.

I cringed each time I made a Spanish error and tried to replay what I should have said in my head. But somehow Mr. HalfFull was able to laugh and didn’t stress much.

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Why is Travel so Stressful?

Invariably, Mr. HalfFull and I will end up in a fight before trip. This is our pattern, and we know it.

napping in the park

Mr. HalfFull is an expert chillaxilizer wherever he goes.

HalfFull vs. HalfEmpty Prep

I think this unfortunate routine stems from our HalfFull and HalfEmpty tendencies. I am a planner, who likes to optimize for all contingencies. On the other hand, Mr. HalfFull likes to relax and figure it out as he goes (or not…no biggie).

For me, it’s stressful to think of and strategize for all possibilities. It’s even more taxing when I feel like I am the only responsible party with the entire burden.

I think Mr. HalfFull’s lack of stress makes me doubly stressed. Even though I know it’s not his modus operandi, I try to spur him into action. This exercise in futility further irritates me. Rinse, repeat.

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The Problem with Being Half Full

Last week, I was particularly excited about Wednesday.  I’m not sure why, but I was feeling half full in spite of myself.  On Tuesday night, I even stayed up late with Mr. HalfFull to watch a favorite TV show that started at 10 PM — that’s past my bedtime!  We usually watch the show On DEMAND later in the week, but I had half full energy and knew I didn’t have to get up early on Wednesday.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning after a full night of restful sleep, I was still feeling half full.  It was raining, but even that didn’t dampen my mood.  I proceeded to the kitchen and flipped the coffee mug over from half empty to half full, just to certify my mood to all who entered.

I did not have a long to-do list on this particular Wednesday.  Plus, I was excited to go to a luncheon at my friend’s house.  I even had grand plans to blog in the afternoon!  It was going to be a great day.

damaged car

At least my car didn't end up looking like this.  Although, I'm not sure this was a particularly attractive car to begin with.

But the problem with being that happy and that half full is that something bad is bound to happen.  I’m Ms. HalfEmpty; the universe was out of whack.  So just to put things into perspective, my beautiful car was smashed by an SUV while I was enjoying lunch.

It was a craptastic event, but I think I handled it in stride.  At least I wasn’t in the car, so I wasn’t injured and didn’t have the stress of actually seeing and feeling my car get crunched.  Plus, the driver came to find me and her insurance company accepted liability.

Having a damaged car is a huge hassle with insurance, adjusters, repair shops, and rental cars.  That’s what I get for being too half full.

  • Is it possible to be too half full?
  • How do you handle car collisions?  Do you flip out or remain calm?
  • Do you believe that something bad is bound to happen when you’re too happy?

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Half Full Malfunction

Last month, one of my dear readers (if it wasn’t you, it was the other one) brought an article to my attention that gave me some hope about my half emptiness.  In fact, I felt a bit vindicated.

The article is succinctly titled, “Is your glass always half full? Optimism could be down to a brain malfunction – and it may have caused the banking crisis.”  That’s quite an assertion!  Should I start to worry about my husband’s brain malfunction???

“According to research published today, blind optimism is related to ‘faulty’ functioning of the brain’s frontal lobes.”

Jumping in the Desert

Mr. HalfFull is quite optimistic despite being in a desert in the United Arab Emirates with temperatures over 100°F!

Whew!  I’m not so worried now because Mr. HalfFull doesn’t exhibit blind optimism.  He looks on the bright side of things and is generally a happy person, but still has a range of emotions.

During the brain imaging study in London,

“…all participants showed increased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain when the information given was better than expected.

However, when the information was worse than estimated, the more optimistic a participant was, according to a personality questionnaire, there was less activity in these frontal regions.”

Upset in Barcelona

After a bird poops on my foot in Barcelona, I'm not going to be optimistic!

I guess my frontal lobes are super active all the time!  Can you really fault me for responding to all the information?  I’m just exhibiting healthy half empty brain function.

I realize that optimists tend to cope better with life’s challenges and may be less stressed, but is that only because they are ignoring the facts?  Isn’t it good to see things as they are?  As a woman firmly entrenched in the half empty camp, I believe it’s important to acknowledge the negative too!  Perhaps you shouldn’t dwell on it, but ignoring it completely doesn’t seem like a good practice either.

  • Do you know a blindly optimistic person?  Is he/she annoying?
  • Are you worried about your frontal lobe brain function?
  • Do you tend to ignore negative information?
  • Do optimists have better coping skills and less stress?

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Half Empty or Half Full?

I’ve always been known as more of a pessimist, one who sees the world half empty. But I’ve never really liked the half empty / half full paradigm. What if that glass was filled with cod oil or a fiber drink? You’d be quite happy that it was half empty! Why does the world assume that the glass is full of something good???

Half Empty / Half Full mug

Half Empty / Half Full mug

Apparently my disposition is well known to my longtime friend, who I’ve known since 8th grade. For my wedding, she gave me a basket full of coffee items. (She knows what I love!) One of the items was a half empty / half full mug; it’s actually two mugs depending on which way you hold it. She observed that my husband (Mr. HalfFull) has the opposite world view from her dear old friend. So she put my name on the half empty side and his on the half full side. She knows us well!

We have this mug sitting on our window sill in the kitchen and make a game of flipping it over. When I’m last in the kitchen the mug is half empty. When Mr. HalfFull notices it, he flips it to the other side.

But did you notice how the half empty mug background is white and the other side is dark and sinister? Perhaps half empty really is the bright side (at least as far as this mug goes).

So here I am with a definite half empty world view, trying to see the world as half full sometimes and asking for you to join the discussion.

  • Do you see the world as half empty or half full?
  • Do you agree with the standard half empty vs. half full definitions?
  • Which side of the mug would you use?

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