by Vera Remes
Glass half empty
My husband used to be a “glass half empty” guy. Being a police officer, this served him well and kept him alive, I suspect. As a glass half empty guy, he was always thinking how a situation could go sideways when confronting an unknown.
Now that we are retired, his glass half empty mentality remains. That was until, only recently, when his focus changed. No matter what was going on, he continued to look at the less positive side of things—the what ifs and might bes.
I’ve learned over the last 28 years of marriage that confrontation does no good and that, if left to marinate, my husband will eventually figure out for himself how glorious life is. That said, I still suffered the initial cringe when I could focus further down the road than he could. At the point when I felt that his recriminations were actually hurting him emotionally, I knew I needed to confront him.
Waiting for him to figure it out on his own was a long process. On one particular day, I needed to short-circuit the process to end his angst. As we were driving down the long bumpy road to our home, I listened to him grumble about all the things wrong with our lives. I responded, “Listen, we have a great life. We don’t work, we get a steady income each month. We hunt, fish, do crafts, walk in nature and pretty much do our own thing. Getting up each morning, we plan our days with what we want to do, not so much with things that must be done. How many people can say that?”
The turning point
My response was met with quiet. He’s going to blow, I thought as I waited through the silence.
When we arrived home, I noticed a small difference, a calmness and maybe, just maybe, an appreciation for what we do have, even if it’s not always everything we want.
Over the next months, I noticed a difference in him. He had a new ability to think and focus on the long range. More recently, he traded in our old car and purchased a new one for me. My recent double hip replacement made it difficult for me to drive or ride in our big truck or our sedan, which was low to the ground. I had not said anything but I made verbal and crackling noises each time I got in either car or the truck. He evidently took notice of my discomfort and decided to remedy the situation, despite our financial situation.
I am grateful for a husband who takes such good care of me. While he always has done so, it feels a little different now. I think refocusing and being in a state of gratitude for what you have encourages you to create situations where others will be grateful—a domino effect. My advice to others is to start from within. Be grateful each day for what you have and let that attitude spread. It has shifted my focus, transformed my life, and I believe it can transform yours, too.
In other words, fill your cup up daily with blessings. Focus on those blessings and stop thinking of a glass half empty.
Focus on keeping an attitude of gratitude
A short while ago, I needed to refocus and keep track of my blessings. So, started a gratitude journal. I found myself writing the same things almost every day—my husband, my dogs, my horse and my friends. I knew something had to be done if my gratitude journal was to really mean something, so I adopted the technique a friend told me about.
Before I drift off to sleep each night, I go through a few letters of the alphabet and think of something for which I am grateful that starts with each letter. Qs, Xs and Zs are tricky, but, as I lay in bed, I can now discover that I am thankful for the x-ray ordered that led to my emergency hip operation. I am thankful for the quips that my husband constantly makes and the delicious zucchinis we grow and spiralize for “pasta” dinner instead of spaghetti. This alphabet method makes you search your life and appreciate what you have.
What ideas do you have to keep an attitude of gratitude? Share them in the comments, or email us.