You’ve heard the question a hundred times:
“Is the glass half empty or half full?”
If we are operating in noxious negativity mode we see the glass as half empty. It is absolutely true. It is half empty. Of course it is. Any dang fool can see it’s half empty. When we are feeling negative, we focus on what is missing and lament the lack of water in the glass.
When we are feeling more positive, we see the glass as half full. Of course it is half full. Anyone can see that. We focus on what we desire, and celebrate the presence of water.
Then there are those who see it as completely full – all the time. These seemingly crazy people are not just positive; they are what this psychologist calls pathologically positive. Pathological Positivity is an empowering mental supernormality that lifts us above the normal perception of “reality.” It is a higher level of thinking. We see the glass, and our lives, as completely full – even in the toughest situations.
How is that possible? How can we see the glass as completely full? Must we make up facts to justify our theory – our pathologically positive position? Do we pretend there is more water?
Not at all. We notice and pay attention to what really is – and simply accept the truth. The glass is indeed filled half way with water. It is filled the rest of the way with something just as valuable, and even more immediately necessary to life, than water.
In truth, the glass is completely full. The glass is half full of water and filled the rest of the way and to overflowing with precious air.
What if it is lying on its side? What if it is shattered into a thousand pieces? How can it then possibly be full? Because the glass does not contain the air, it is immersed in it. In the same way, our lives are not only filled with opportunity, we are immersed in such an abundance of opportunity and resources that we cannot contain it.
Normally, we don’t notice the air in the glass – or even around us – because we are used to it. Air is the most immediately important and most abundant life giving substance on earth. We are completely immersed in it. We’ve never been without it.
Pathological Positivity is a genuinely practical approach to finding solutions to every problem. The pathologically positive do not ignore or avoid reality, but intentionally and doggedly insist on widening their view of reality, expanding their horizons, broadening their perspective. They see the possibilities that hide in problems and find or create constructive tools to handle life’s inevitable and interesting challenges.
There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.
~Thích Nhất Hạnh