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It’s said there are two types of people in this life: those who see the glass as half full and those who see it as half empty. I’ve definitely always seen myself as a glass half full person and not a glass half empty type of person. I try to always look at what I can do, rather than what I can’t.
However, there are many people who look at the things they don’t have in life, seeing their “glass” as being half empty. Yet, we all have a glass, and how empty or full you see it is up to you, right?
When someone asked me what I could learn from someone who is a glass half empty type of person, I was stumped. Yet, I discovered that there are some pretty significant lessons to be learned from someone who sees their glass as half, not full.
What Does It Mean When Someone Is a Glass Half Empty Type of Person?
The idiom of seeing a glass as half empty or half full refers to how someone sees life. Both types of people see the same glass (or situation), and their inner landscape determines how they see the glass (or their circumstances in that situation).
The glass is exactly the same for everyone, but some people choose to be positive (glass half full) while others are pessimistic (glass half empty) about a situation.
Difference between a Glass Half Full and a Glass Half Empty Personality
A glass half empty personality is when someone tends to focus on the negative in life. Instead of seeing life as filled with possibilities and opportunities, a glass half empty person sees what they don’t have or what they interpret as not being good (enough).
Likewise, a glass half full person is prone to being optimistic and positive in their view of life’s bumps. When they find themselves in a tricky situation (the glass), they see it as being a chance to do something new and amazing.
Benefits of a Glass Half Empty Personality
Being a glass half empty person isn’t all bad, and it doesn’t mean you are a negative person only. Of course, being a glass half empty or a glass half full personality is only two sides of a sliding scale, and you may be somewhere in the middle – seeing that you have a glass (and that’s enough).
Some benefits of being a glass half empty personality include:
5 Lessons to Learn from a Glass Half Empty Personality
There are a few lessons you can learn from a glass half empty personality type person, and if you are a more glass half full type of person, these can really help you control your instincts and develop an even more balanced life view.
1. Seeing Life More Realistically by Not Holding out False Hope
All too often, we hold out a great and grand hope in life, and when that hope doesn’t materialize, we are disappointed. When you are a glass half empty type of person, you know that these “pipe-dreams” rarely happen, and you have to work for what you have (or get).
False hope can be destructive. It can unhinge you, drain motivation, and cause you to lose all faith in life (and in yourself). A glass half empty type of person has a more realistic view on life and what good things can come their way.
While you may want to be a millionaire after winning the lottery, there are few people who actually win it, and holding out for that hope can be harmful as your life gets put on hold.
A glass half empty person knows they probably won’t win the lottery. They may buy a ticket, but they won’t be devastated when they don’t win.
For them, life goes on, and they (more easily) easily move forward and get their life together again.
2. Recovering Faster After a Life Disappointment
Life has many ups and downs, and if you cling to the ups, you probably feel like you are drowning in the downs. Becoming a more glass half empty type of person can help you make peace with the dips and faith in recovery.
You embrace them, not looking for the sun to always shine again, since you know it probably will, but you also know there will be more downs ahead too.
Like Brené Brown said, “You have to embrace the suck; courage over comfort.”
When life hits you hard, a glass half empty person knows what it is, how to get back on their feet, and to look out for the next punch. A glass half full person will expect this to be the last hit and that it will be smooth sailing ahead – making it harder to bounce back when they get knocked down by the next upsetting event.
3. Using a Growth Mindset to Counter Negativity
Glass half full people tend to expect things to simply happen for them. They think that as long as they show up, the magic will explode and open doors for them. But life’s not like that, and a more balanced view that includes the concept of how hard you have to work to get ahead in life can help stimulate your productivity.
Pessimists tend to value growth, and with continued drive, they can counter negativity and grow from strength to strength and experience more reasons to feel grateful.
4. Wanting More and Working toward It Is Okay
Ever wanted something that you believed was out of your reach? A glass half full person may expect that something special to magically happen for them, but a glass half empty person would realize that they need to work extra hard to get the “unattainable.”
The trick is in realizing something is unlikely, but not impossible. Being glass half empty doesn’t mean you are defeatist in your dreams. It just means your dreams are more real in that you realize you need to make them happen.
A glass half empty person knows that wanting more than what they have (instead of just being grateful for what they have and accepting their “gifts”) is okay, and that striving for more is okay.
They also know they have to make their own success – it’s not an easy journey, but it’s one they walk each day.
5. Perseverance in the Face of Poor Odds
Glass half full personalities believe they need to have the best odds and the best chances at anything.
This can lead to fallacious thinking. However, a glass half empty personality type person will see their own limitations, want more, work at it, and improve their odds.
It takes perseverance to achieve success when you know you don’t have all the right cards. This is perhaps where real courage manifests.
Do you have the courage to look at your hand in life and know you don’t have the best cards, but you walk ahead anyway?
Final Thoughts on a Glass Half Empty Type of Person
A glass half empty personality type is often given the reputation of being negative and of no value, and we are encouraged to become glass half full people.
However, being blindly optimistic and clinging to hope can also be harmful, lead to toxic positivity, and set you up for failure when that hope doesn’t become realized.
A more beneficial option is to try and locate yourself halfway between a glass half full and a glass half empty personality type. Yes, you should have hope and be positive, but you should also temper that with hard work, self-resilience, a realistic outlook, and the ability to bounce back after failures because you know that you will fail.
I always think back to something a teacher once said, a glass half full person is doomed to be eternally disappointed when their hopes and dreams are dashed, while a glass half empty person can always be pleasantly surprised.
You don’t want to suffer disappointment after disappointment, but knowing your strengths and limits ensures you stay more realistic and can be pleased when things go well.
For more on the benefits of being a glass half full person, read our guide on the five lessons you can learn from a glass half full personality type person.
And if you're looking for more resources on personality types, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 13 Subtle Signs an Introvert Doesn’t Like You
- Type C Personality: Definition, Strengths, and Weaknesses
- Pessimistic VS Optimistic: 5 Differences & Which is Better?
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.