Recently I read a quote that said “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and it really got me thinking. Originally today while I was thinking of writing this post, my intentional audience was fellow stay at home moms, but really this can apply to anyone. It’s a simple concept, if there’s nothing in the cup left, no matter how you turn it, you won’t get what you’re wanting to come out of it. Maybe a single drop or two, but I’m guessing that’s not enough and it’s not what you’re wanting to come out.
For me, I read the quote as a metaphor. When you’ve given your all (poured everything out of the “cup”) yet the demand for more is there, how are you going to meet that demand? You can’t. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You need to refill the cup. Think of the cup as yourself and as what’s in the cup as everything you do and everything you need and want to do. If all these things are an ounce of liquid, and the fill line on the cup is the span of a day, likely you’re going to run out of room (time) and all the liquid (all these things, tasks, goals) may not fit into the cup. So, you’re faced with a decision of what’s most important. This is where my first interpretation of “you can’t pour from an empty cup” comes into play. If you’re giving your all, cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids, animals, working, driving, taking care of your family etc. are you setting aside time for YOURSELF and your basic needs? Not just your basic needs, but are you setting aside time for personal growth, time to do things that make your soul happy, time to enjoy yourself? Chances are that if you’re not setting aside time for these personal needs, then you’re less likely to be able to give your all to these other needs-your family, your work (housework, business, whatever). If I’m going to do something, I like to give it my all and do it right the first time. You have to remember to take care of yourself. Being a stay at home mom I know that personally my needs are usually set on the back burner and I think “I don’t have time to take a shower right now, I’m hungry but I need to do this and that first before I make myself something to eat, I’d really love to read that book about personal growth but I don’t have time” and the reality is that when I actually take the time to do things for myself, then I’m much happier and more likely to accomplish all the other things that I need to get done in a day. If you’re unhappy, need a shower, if your yearning for some personal time, then seriously take the time to take care of those needs. You will be more likely to excel at other things that you don’t necessarily love doing (like going to work or cleaning) because you’ll be happier (from doing the things you love) and you’ll have more energy because you won’t be weighed down by all the negative thoughts of “I never have time to take care of myself. This is unfair. This sucks.” You might even have a better outlook and be more motivated to be more time efficient so that you actually have time to take care of your needs.
When you take personal time to do things for yourself, in a sense you’re “refilling the cup”. You’re re energizing yourself, you’re “recharging your battery” if you will. Take care of yourself, because trying to pour from an empty cup is illogical, can be frustrating and doesn’t work very well.