By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Most of us have heard about the glass half full of water and how it is viewed. The pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The optimist sees the glass as half full. Both people see the same thing. However, they perceive it differently.

There is an old saying that perception is reality. From the standpoint of an individual their perception of something is their personal reality. However, it might not be the true reality.

The flat earthers believe the earth is flat, that is their perception. However no matter what they perceive, the earth is round. It doesn’t matter what they believe. What matters is reality.

This kind of thing happens in our daily lives. When I was in the Air Force, I received a critique every year from my people as their Commanding Officer. Overall the critiques were good. However, as expected, they were not perfect.

I used to publish the scores as well as some of the comments. There were always comments like the Commander walks on water. There were always comments like the Commander should drown in water. 

Neither one of those was true. Like anyone else, I had good and bad qualities. It depended on what people chose to focus on. They could choose the half full or the half empty glass.

Most of us have perceptions in our daily lives. They may be about our job, our friends, family, or organizations that we belong to.

If those perceptions are positive, we tend to enjoy doing those things. It leads to a sense of well being. If those perceptions are negative, we tend to not enjoy those things. It leads to a sense of depression and unhappiness.

We often see this happen with political parties. The glass is half full when the individual’s favorite party is in power. The glass is half empty when they are not. 

The actual impact on day to day life may be minimal. However, there is happiness when things appear right and unhappiness when things appear wrong. The result is sometimes a lot of self imposed stress.

Just like any issue that we have problems correcting, the first step is acknowledging that we have a problem. If we are unhappy most of the time, we need to ask ourselves why we are the ones not noticing all the good things that happen around us.

Then the next thing to do is to look for those good things. When we see them, we need to embrace them. Life is too short to spend all our time thinking that the glass is half empty.