Challenges face each of us, especially when times are bad. I spoke with a young woman recently who just had her fourth child who is experiencing huge medical issues. The new infant is generally quiet, calm and pleasant and this birth would have been ideal had it not been for the medical issues since he was born. Do the young mother and father consider their cup half empty or half full? I can’t be sure, but it’s heartwarming to see them struggle together to make ends meet and to keep their family safe, in a haven of love.
Another couple I know is facing cancer. It’s a frightening experience since there are still so many unknowns. Additionally there seem to be other issues which complicate the cancer matter. How do they see their world? The wife generally sees the world as “her cup being half full.” She’s been described, in fact, as having a “Pollyanna attitude.” Is this good? Some see it as unrealistic in the face of the challenges to what is ahead. The husband usually sees his cup as “half full” but sometimes he can’t seem to see beyond that “half” measurement. There are days when he is so filled with despair, he is sure his cup is “half empty” causing him to scowl and be angry at the world.
I’ve learned over time, we cannot always change what is before us. Often in fact, it is easier to accept what has been served and move on. Getting angry rarely is the answer for anything. What’s worse is anger most often brings pain to those in nearest proximity to the angry person. I’ve been told “venting” is a good and natural way to deal with things. It relieves pressure that otherwise would be bottled up inside leading to a giant explosion; or becomes the catalyst for high blood pressure or depression. Anger is a genuine emotion, but I believe, however, to say hurtful things, is harmful because words spoken in anger can never be erased, and verbal cruelty can leave deeper scars than a physical wound.
So how do we deal with challenges before us? Do we scream at the world and hope someone hears us? Do we lock up all the rage within us only to have an explosion at a later time? Do we talk to our dearest friend about our issues and try to work them out if possible or at least accept them? These are certainly options, and there are more.
It is different for each person; this is how we are made. My personal perspective takes me to someone dear who will allow me to unload my grief without anger and unkind words. Does this always work? No, but for me, facing challenges in this way, is the most conducive to all persons involved.
According to a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German Philosopher, "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." This thought led to a national study of the effects of difficult life experiences on mental health at the University at Buffalo-the State University of New York and the University of California, Irvine. The study found that those who experienced unpleasant or undesirable circumstances had better mental health and well being than those who had no history of hardship in their life.
If you are experiencing challenges which threaten to overwhelm you, I hope you can look at your world with your “cup half full” and find peace and rest with whatever you face, and grow stronger despite the trial before you.