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Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Modeling perspectiveTake a moment to describe three people you know. Perhaps your kid’s coach, your neighbor, and a close friend.

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Tally up the negatives and positives. What do they indicate?

Actually, they say a lot more about you than the people you’re describing.

Research indicates what we perceive in others has a lot to do with who we are. According to a study in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the tendency to positively assess people in our social networks is linked to our own enthusiasm, happiness, kind-heartedness, politeness, emotional stability, life satisfaction, even how much others like us.

A lead researcher says, “Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits.”

The opposite is also true. The study found that how negatively we view others is linked to our own unhappiness as well as a greater likelihood of problems such as depression, narcissism and antisocial behavior.

Apparently whether we see the glass as half empty or half full, we’re describing ourselves .

This puts a whole new angle on the burden of setting a good example! I tell my kids to look for the good in others. And I try, I really try to do that myself. I realize it isn’t reasonable to cast a positive light on every person we know. But clearly, making an effort is worthwhile. Besides, my kids toss my words right back at me when they catch me critical about bad drivers or annoying politicians. “Aren’t we supposed to look for the good in others?”

Those kids are real beasts. I mean sweethearts!

Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything, a resource guide for raising life-long learners and also a collection of poetry titled
Tending. She writes about learning, sustainability, and hopeful living for GeekMom.com, Mothering.com, and her blog. She lives with her family on Bit of Earth Farm where they raise cows, chickens, honeybees, and the occasional wild scheme. She's slow at work on her next book, Subversive Cooking.

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