Is the glass too heavy?
While stumbling around facebook desperately avoiding college work I came across this image shared by a friend of mine to do with mental health with a short story. My initial thoughts were “oh here we go again, here is another short-sighted (albeit, well meaning) attempt to tackle a topic in three lines”.
Meaning beyond the surface
Now in my lovely naive view of the world, I thought to myself this is brilliant, an actual story online, with meaning beyond the surface. Thinking I had just found some metaphorical gold I decided I needed to tell people about it. In hindsight this could already be a really popular story, but if you haven’t read it, it’s definitely worth doing so, below.
The main meaning behind the little story is to learn not to hold onto things that may bother us, regardless of their importance or even their size (queue the audience for some Oscar award winning clapping and cheering). It’s beautifully stated and in theory is a lovely idea.
Putting theory into practice
However, as with most things that are wonderful in theory, they’re not so simple to carry out in practice. For instance, I know how Lionel Messi manages to round every defender on the pitch before slotting another goal home. But, when I attempt this, it somehow ends up in me falling flat on my face before I have even made it to (let alone past) the first man.
I guess what I mean to say is that even talking to someone is not always so easy to do. However, what I have discovered (at the ripe old age of 25) is the difference in how I feel before and after I talk to someone about something that has been stressing me. Before talking to someone, I feel like that 12-year-old boy again, who is about to tell a girl that he fancies her, all tongue-tied with nerves that give me pains in my stomach, like the world is going to end if it goes badly.
After I have taken that devastating leap and actually told someone that I’ve had a rubbish time, things have been crap and that stuff hasn’t been ‘going to plan’, I suddenly feel a whole lot lighter. It’s like finally getting that breath of air after you’ve been holding your breath underwater for too long.
Changing your perspective
It’s amazing how even just talking to another person can change how your perspective. I suppose the take-home message for me was not that this internet meme told me anything new, but that it allowed me to view my own issues and decide if they were burdensome enough that I could talk about it, which is always worth thinking about.
A lecturer walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down! -author unknown