Empty Cup.

Sitting in a small tea shop in Beijing, China. - Jonathan Bennett

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

I read this quotation today retweeted to PostSecret’s Twitter account and my head started reeling.

It’s so blindingly obvious; but why is it so often that we forget the basics of how we look after ourselves along side others? I’m sure for many just like I, the idea that one’s life goal is to touch and make the lives of other’s around them better is the major purpose, be it love, leadership or friendship, is the best case end.

On a day to day basis I find myself forgetting that I’m in another land away from the things I know and understand; from the people that I love and that takes a lot from me - giving 24/7 a day is not easy either.

I find it easy at the end of the day feeling like I am empty, hollow - a husk - and at it’s deepest I can always bring it back to the times that I put the needs, feelings or concerns of others before the needs of myself. I often find myself stretching my ability to deal with my own challenges, let alone the challenges of others, and given my strong sense of self-management and awareness, psychology and dealing with mental illness (I’m just about feeling ready to talk about this after many years…) I find myself surprised at how I so often forget.

The thing that I speak to others about so often, remembering to look after and tend for oneself, to aspire to owning and growing your “third” (Personal, Love, Professional), is the one thing that I forget about the easiest. I find myself constantly reiterating that to take care of oneself is not to be selfish, but to self-preserve and enable yourself to again return to giving to others.

My day is a constant stream of asks, questions, emails, Instant Messages, social media interactions (but thank God I don’t have Facebook), WhatsApps - the list goes on. In my quest for mindfulness I limit my interactions with anything outside of my immediate sphere of importance; the task at hand.

But still, the warning bell begins to ring and still I ignore it. Meltdown ensues. Looking back at my “Being human” post I also remind myself that it’s okay to have a bad day. Accept your faults, squishy insides and all, and move on.

I have to start to say “no” more often. There is only so much of me to go around. I must remove the pressures I place on myself unnecessarily. Reminding myself what I can put in is as much as I can get out, and that starts with me.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Over the past couple of years I have been on a journey to understand, and appreciate, mindfulness and meditation. Meditation for me is one of the hardest things I do, and one of the hardest that I keep practicing at, but yet it’s one of the only things that I persist in attempting every day, normally without falter. I look forward to when I can share more about my experiences with my journey with meditation and mindfulness.

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” ~ Mandy Hale.

And of course, no serious post would be complete without a Parks and Recreation gif.