Columns, Opinion

RAMONES: Filling the cup

So, I had a bad day. I bombed a statistics exam, a paper I thought was good was deemed ‘unclear,’ my cork board fell off my wall and my dorm room was freezing ‘-‘- along with the outside air. (I’m from Miami: I don’t do cold.) I could feel my downward spiral of complaining ease upon me like a warm down comforter on a cold night. I knew it could only get worse from there.’
It’s so easy to complain and focus on everything bad going on in the world, especially during months when there seems to only be bad things in the world. I’m with you guys. I practically want to snap the necks of those ‘New Age’ junkies who tell me, ‘It’s all positive thinking. Feel good about the money leaving your bank account.’ I admit, sometimes I indulge in sending out ‘negative energy’ into the universe, and I know I get exactly what I ask for ‘-‘- a bad day.
Having a bad day is up to you. There’s really nothing you can control in this world but the meaning you choose to give to the events that happen. I promise you this isn’t any of that ‘see the cup half full’ nonsense, it’s about filling the cup up yourself.
Imagine a line of cups sitting on top of an endless countertop. The cups are labeled with the events in your life, such as breaking the heel of your brand new boots on some crack in the sidewalk, your fifth birthday party, missing the T and your first day of high school. Inside the cups can be anything ‘-‘- orange juice, coffee, vodka, egg yolks, manure or urine. It’s really easy to say that your first day of high school was the worst day of your life and breaking your heel is proof the world is against you. That’s the meaning you filled your event with. It’s the stuff you filled your cup with, not the cup itself.
Your perception is the culmination and integration of the interpretations you give to your life events. I’ll admit that a lot of ‘bad’ things happen in the world, but in those events we find opportunities ‘-‘- even if it’s just learning for next time. Whenever something happens, take a deep breath and ask yourself, ‘What does this really mean?’ If you say it means that everyone in this world is evil, fine, then let it be so and you’ll keep bringing people into your life who will prove you right. If you choose to make it mean there aren’t really any bad people in the world, just people doing the best with what they know, then you’ll get a different result.
Once you figure out the empowering meaning to what happened ask, ‘What can I learn?’ Then ask the more important question, ‘How can I use and integrate what I learned?’ If you’re the type of person who even after you figure out that the door says push, you keep pulling, then don’t use what you learn and see what it gets you.
Lastly, ask, ‘How can I share this?’ When you know how you can share what happened to you, it presupposes that you have figured out a positive way to answer and integrate all the previous questions.
These questions help refocus your life. What you focus on is what you get. If you choose to continue to give disempowering meanings to your life, then you’re going to get a poor life.

Stephanie Ramones, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a weekly columnist for The Daily Free Press. She can be reached at

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