In a confusing, complicated world, life can sometimes be better understood with metaphors. Something that has made sense to me for years is the idea that we all have cups of water (the source of life and growth). We choose what we water in our life with our actions; we pour our water on our careers, our relationships, our hobbies, and then they grow. We start out with a cup full of water, and from there, we give. It takes self-awareness to know when your cup is running low, either from giving too much or forgetting to refill it. When it is unexpectedly low (like when an outside force punctures a hole in our cup), we ask our friends and our family to help us patch our cup and refill it. We do the same for them in return.
We should be able to fill our own cups (most of the time). We should be able to give ourselves some of our precious time by doing things that make us feel full of happiness and ready for the unexpected. We can go outside on a hike, read a book, have a glass of wine, journal, take the dog on a walk, give our family members a call to remind them we love them. We can fill our own cups with the joys of life before being required to share our water again. Problems seem to arise when people don’t take the time to fill their own cup or are unaware of how to do so. Sometimes, it’s a lack of skills or sense of self. Sometimes laziness. Sometimes ignorance.
Whatever the cause may be, if you or someone you know is unable to fill their own cup, make it known to them. The first step is being aware that you have a cup to fill, the second is how to fill it, and the third is how to share that water. You can’t know yours is empty if you don’t even know that it’s there.
You can only give so much of your precious time, and when you choose your own priorities, you choose what grows. You decide what matters.
Know how big your cup is. Know how long it takes to fill it. Share your love and time with only the things that make your list. Remember, we only have so much time, only so much life, and we all want to spend that time happy with the things that matter most. Use your water wisely!