At a reunion last year, the guy who was my best guy friend in high school told me that he always thinks of me as one of the most upbeat and optimistic people he knows. I was flattered . . . and also pretty sure he was remembering someone other than me.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Glass Half-Empty or Glass Half-Full?
by Carol Fragale Brill
Fast-forward to last week. Over breakfast at a local restaurant, our server asked Jim how often I remind him of my mother. Jim said, “Hardly ever. Carol is always really positive."
Now it’s true that in my twenties, I proudly displayed one of those posters about using life’s lemons to make lemonade, and more than once over the years I have been accused of being the gullible one searching for the pony in a room full of do-do.
But . . . upbeat, optimistic, positive . . .Me?
When my old friend, whom I’ve seen maybe ten times in 40 years, called me an optimist, it was easy to chalk it up to a memory glitch. When the guy who has lived with me for almost 35 years and knows me better than anyone says I’m positive, I have to assume he isn’t confusing me with someone else.
Upbeat, optimistic, positive? Me?
I asked Jim what specifically I do that looks positive and he said, “You believe anything is possible—that you can achieve everything you set your sights on.”
I never think of that as optimism, I think of it as being over-achieving, perfectionist, persistent me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that on the outside, others might see me as a cockeyed optimist. It’s just so not what it feels like being me on the inside. Maybe outwardly it looks like I believe in limitless possibilities, but inside . . . inside, I imagine every pothole and pitfall—agonize about every possible thing that could go wrong. Time and time again, my insides say the glass is half-empty. It takes a lot of work to convince myself it might actually be half-full. Yet even when times get really tough, I rarely give up hope.
They say that courage is fear that has said its prayers. Do you think that might be the definition of optimism, too?