You’ve probably heard this phrase. You’ve even said it to people around you. You cannot pour from an empty cup. But what does it mean? Why do people say that to you?
If you’re running around in life like a headless chicken trying to get everything done, the chances are that you are spending more time looking after everyone else and filling their cups rather than filling your own. The more you give of yourself, the less you have and one day, you’re wondering why you’re so exhausted and nothing feels “finished” – it’s because you have nothing left to give to anyone, and there’s also no sips left for you.
Here’s where we say that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. It’s absolutely fine that you should want things for yourself that don’t involve other people and it’s perfectly okay that you are there for yourself before you help other people. When was the last time you allowed yourself any self-care? When was the last time you decided to even go to a dentist and look at those affordable dentures you’ve been wanting to get sorted? You see, the more you put off your own self-care, the harder it gets to be the person you want to be for others. You have to be able to fill your cup with all the care that you need.
When you choose to help other people, it’s a good pat on the back. You also need to make sure that you’re helping you first. There is a reason that on an airplane they tell you to put your own mask on first before others. Looking after yourself is more than a bubble bath and brushing your hair. You need to give yourself your time back for a while. Even an hour in the day should be reserved for you to read a book or to take the time to go for that walk with a podcast you’ve been looking to do.
Once you have met those needs for self-care, you can then meet your health needs. The dentist and the optician, the pedicure place – these are all to do with your health and hygiene. A bath is not self-care, it’s a basic hygiene need. You have to be able to have it all and sometimes that means sacrificing the time you’re giving other people. You can’t keep draining your own cup for others; it’s a fast track to burnout to do that. Even parents need to remember this, because we give ourselves to our children so often we lose who we are along the way. You don’t have to only do one thing; the key is in finding the balance.
It’s not always easy to put yourself before others, but it’s the best thing to do if you are concerned about your own health. Give yourself some grace, some time and a little room to be there for you. You have to be a priority for yourself – if you aren’t, you’re going to regret it later.
This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author. ☺