The idea of self-care or filling the cup has been coming up quite a bit lately inside and outside of Wellness As One. There have also been concerns that self-care in the face of tragedy or trying to create change is impossible or needs to be mutually exclusive. Maybe you have heard them within or from others too? Concerns like: How can I fill my cup or build emotional resilience when it feels like so many things in the world are falling apart around me? Doesn’t that make me selfish and irresponsible to focus on myself? And further, what if I don’t know how or what will fill my cup and/or I am too afraid to do so because of fear of failure, success, what will other people think, (fill in the blank)? This blog post will focus on the first two questions and then Part II will come next month to offer places to consider for the next set of questions.
The questions above are all very old and conditioned narratives that we as humans have dealt with in some form as long as we have been around as a species. What is so interesting (to me!) is that while we are cognitively aware that we have to take care of things in order to keep operating, we often get talked out of that being true for ourselves.
It is my experience that the most responsible and caring thing we can do for ourselves and others is to really listen to and support ourselves. In that practice, we are able to offer the same gifts to those around us. In other words, when we take care of ourselves, we don’t consciously or unconsciously pull other people to fill something in us they can’t fully fill. This does not mean we stick our heads in the sand and push away or neglect everything and everyone else. When we listen within, we get information needed to nourish ourselves and connect with others. We have enough then to offer where it is needed or we called to offer. (An aside, scientists have found that ostriches are not trying to hide when they stick their heads in the sand. They may be taking care of their eggs, eating, etc – ie taking care of themselves! For more on this click here for the Moment of Um podcast on this.:)
When we realize we are the only ones that can fill that cup for us, it allows us to have more space to give freely of our energy to where it is needed or wants to go. We get to be in charge of/to steward the energy, nourishment and gifts we get minute by minute. We are able to see how everything we do is for us, because we benefit first from everything we are doing/being/creating. The experience shifts to being a part of, rather than excluded or left out. We get to be filled with all that we are offering to others as well and can then give from unconditional love, overflowing love – rather than resentment, burnout and fumes. That abundance allows us to be the change we want to see in the world so no-thing and no one is left out – including ourselves. The conditioning in our world to stay in the either/or place is strong, but it is possible to keep practicing with filling our cups for the benefit of all.
For practice -see what it is like to pause and attend to yourself throughout the day. Setting alarms or reminders or listening to recordings of things you love or appreciate (even about yourself!) can be a way to connect, nourish and fill your cup. Feel free to leave a comment or email on what you notice as you play with this too!