Imagine you take your bike out for a ride on a hot summer day. Anticipating you’ll get thirsty, you bring along a water bottle, but you forget to fill it. The bottle is present, but it’s useless. The same applies to ourselves. Unless our cup is full, we have nothing to share with others.
This is a common theme in the life skills classes that Jer and I teach. Whether we’re talking about healthy relationships, goal setting, or self-worth, I always find myself repeating that we can’t care for others unless we care for ourselves first.
There seems to be a false belief that caring for ourselves is selfish. But if you think of yourself as a cup or a vessel, what can you give if you are empty? We are limited in how well we can serve others until our cup runneth over.
Maintaining a Full Cup
Having a full cup means that we have made our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs a priority. When our cup runneth over, we are well-rested, well-nourished and full of energy. We have taken the time to fulfill our emotional and spiritual needs.
Think back to a time when you were physically, emotionally or spiritually drained. Think about your performance as a spouse or parent during that period of time. No matter how strong we are, it’s hard to give our best to others when we are living in crisis mode.
It’s during these periods of crisis when we feel that we don’t have the time. During these stressful times, putting ourselves first seems selfish. But it’s during these times that it’s most important.
Tips to Replenish Your Cup
1 – Believe that it is impossible to serve from an empty vessel.
This seems obvious. But so many of us say that it’s important to serve from a full cup, but when it comes time to put ourselves first, we don’t do it. Perhaps it’s because we don’t truly believe it. Or because that false belief that we’re being selfish is creeping in.
2 – Prioritize your needs.
On any given day, I know that I need seven to eight hours of sleep, two nutritious meals, one hour of physical activity, and time for prayer and meditation. I plan my days around this. The good news is that other than sleep, there are creative ways to fit these activities into any schedule. There’s no better time to meditate than while sitting in traffic.
3 – Learn to say no.
This is hard sometimes. For some of us, we struggle to please people. Other times we really want to say yes, yet know that now is not the time. When faced with these choices, ask yourself if it will drain or replenish your cup.
Just like the water bottle, we are useless when empty. We are at our best when our cup runneth over. To get to this place, we must believe this is true and make our needs a priority by learning to say no.
Would you consider giving it a try for the next week? Observe how you are able to give a better version of yourself after your needs have been taken care of. If you’re having trouble prioritizing and scheduling, give me a shout. I’d love to help you out.