Pessimism and Pinot Grigio


I’m definitely a glass-is-half-empty kind of gal. Especially when it’s wine—then someone usually refills it.

People often say, “Why can’t you be more positive?” Here’s the thing: Bug off. ThoughtBubble

If you’d like me to change, there are much better ways to phrase it than “Why can’t you be more…”

That is just an all-around bad way to ask people to do something. I’ll go as far as to say you’re not asking them anything—you’re sugar-coating an insult.

Not sure about that one? Let me put it into a different context. When you’re a parent, you do not say to your child “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “Why can’t you be more athletic?”

You just don’t.

You might say “Did you see how your sister waited patiently in line? She likes to read the names of all the candy bars. Why don’t you try that?” Or “I know you don’t like basketball, soccer, or football but have you thought about karate or fencing or dance?”

So, instead of “Why can’t you be more…” try something else.

“We don’t have any more Chardonnay but, when you finish that, we have a whole bottle of Riesling.”



Glass is Half Empty

More wine? Yes, please. The glass is half-empty.


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.


31 thoughts on “Pessimism and Pinot Grigio

  1. I dunno, you seem pretty positive to me. I’m pretty sure your glass is fuller than mine. You bring a good point for thought, how we word our words spoken to other people can mean all the difference. Excellent thought bubble. I think your glass could use some topping off though, it’s not quite to the rim…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can be positive. But, on the whole, I really do see things in a negative light. Negative light — that’s a strange phrase. Anyway, I’m one of those people who has to work on staying positive. It does not come naturally to me.
      Yes, the way people word things can make a huge difference in how it is taken. Thanks, AJ. 🙂 *runs off to fill my glass*


  2. Lovely as always, Sarah. Perhaps I should re-phrase that: Lovely as always Sarah!
    I agree. We should not be expecting others to change. We should be learning to appreciate our differences.Having a discussion about thinking and behaviour in a non-threatening or non-accusatory manner, in general, would be preferable perhaps. We do try to teach children the responses and behaviours we wish to see them develop, as you have so well described. But with adults, it’s a different situation.
    I never liked it when people told me to “smile” or “cheer up”. It shows so little understanding or empathy. I am usually smiling, or think I am, so if I am not there’s a good reason. Telling me to smile will only make me smile less.
    Fill up my glass please! I’ll drink to that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Norah. My glass is more than half full, but now and then we all have bad times, and telling us not to feel what we feel is insensitive and insulting.

      I will never forget years ago sitting at a bus stop fighting (unsuccessfully) against tears because I had just been told that I would be completely blind within a year. (Doc was wrong, thank goodness!) A guy saw me crying and said, “Smile! It can’t be that bad!” All I could think was “How the hell do you know how bad it can be?” I might have just lost a loved one, been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or, I dunno, been told I was rapidly going blind…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, Janet, how totally insensitive and lacking compassion. How much nicer it may have been if he had asked if he could help you. I’m very happy to hear that the diagnosis/prognosis was wrong, and I hope you enjoy your sight for the rest of your life. Losing one’s sight would be a very difficult thing to cope with. It would require major changes to lifestyle, as well as perception of self. Thank you so much for responding and sharing your story.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OH, I just love the “helpful” people who tell you to “cheer up” and “smile” and so forth. They are the worst. I think most of them don’t even know they’re being rude. *sigh*


    • I could stand to be a little more positive sometimes. It’s just that this particular phrase really rubs me the wrong way. I mean, honestly, when you say, “Why can’t you be more…” it’s not a question, it’s a statement that someone doesn’t agree with your behavior or lifestyle. I know people who wouldn’t say this to their child (and would agree that it’s not a nice thing to do) yet they will go ahead and say it to an adult. O_o
      And, yes, like I said above, the “cheer up” thing is extremely irritating. I believe it definitely shows a lack of empathy. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, as always. *fills your glass with sparkling wine*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the drink. *clinks glasses”. Years ago I did a course which explained the difference between “I” statements and “you” statements. It is very useful to remember the difference in impact each can have.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmm. I agree that no one should be criticizing you like that – but I will say that there’s medical science showing the power of positive thinking. That said, I would never say you need to be more positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree. I know the power of positive thinking. But the way people “ask” you to be more positive can sometimes be more hurtful than helpful. I consciously work on being more positive — it has amazing results.


  4. Wonderful post, Sarah.
    Three things here for me:
    1. Thank you for making a stand in favour of the non-positives – like others, my glass is more than half full right now but it hasn’t always been, in fact there have been times when it’s had only a couple of drops in it and, while I value cheerfulness, I want to recognise the whole of me, and that includes the sorrowful parts. So I don’t want to identify as “positive”, although there seems to be a lot of pressure, particularly in the blogosphere, to be so.
    2. I loved that you assumed that parents would be automatically considerate of their children’s feelings, making them aware of alternate ways of being without criticising the way they’re currently behaving. I don’t think all parents manage this.
    3. 1 and 2 are often connected, and I love how you are supporting your kids to recognise that they can make choices but they’re lovable just as they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 You are so welcome. I’ll always make a stand for the non-positives among us. There really is power in positive thinking but, I agree, people have “down” moments, too, and there does seem to be a lot of pressure to be Mary Poppins. (Also completely agree about the blogosphere being particularly full of this kind of pressure.)
      Aw, thanks. You’re right. Not every parent does this. Unfortunately. But I truly appreciate your comment about supporting my kids. #3 really hit me. Parents always think they’re doing it all wrong. Thank you, Anne.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Any of us can stand to be a little more___________(fill in the blank). It seems that certain topics are “okay” when they are not. I’ve always liked the scripture that asks, why do you point out the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? Nonetheless, you come to a fine conclusion. Open that second bottle!

    Liked by 1 person

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