How to Stop Pouring from an Empty Cup….
As moms, and even more as single moms, we are constantly giving of ourselves to everyone we seem to encounter. We give to our kids, we give to our family, our friends, our work, but the one person we often do not give to, is ourselves. It was a little over a year ago, that I realized I had to stop, because I could no longer pour from an empty cup. I was exhausted and drained, but I just kept going. I was making decisions based on the good of the others and not on what I needed for my personal growth and mental health.
I was out to dinner with some friends, my first night without my kids in quite some time, and I realized I again made a decision because I felt like I needed to, I had to, when deep down inside all that my poor mind and body wanted was peace and quiet. Now, don’t get me wrong, the friends I was with had become an important part of my journey and my life, and it isn’t that I didn’t want to be with them, but where I was at that moment, I needed to choose myself and I chose what I thought would make others happy. I realized I could no longer go on like this and I had to start doing for me. So, while at dinner I made the choice to start pouring back into myself.
I made the decision to start this new lifestyle, start a new path where my choices were now what was going to be mentally and physically beneficial to me and not to others. I felt this huge weight lift off my shoulders within minutes of making this decision. People started seeing a difference in me, but it was never about others noticing, it was about me noticing. I started really looking at who was in my life and did they push me to be a better version of myself, did they understand when I had to put myself and my choices first or did I get crap every time I gave an answer, and ultimately could I be my 100% true and authentic self around them without any hesitation or filtering.
The later of this ended up being one thing that I had to really looked at a lot, because let’s face it as single parents our time to be around adults without our children is quite limited. When we have the chance to be around others, are they people we can be truly open with or are they people you do not get beyond surface level type stuff with? Do you find yourself sitting around with them, wanting so much to have adult conversations about what is on your mind, but also know some of them will not be listening to truly try to understand, just listening to respond? I found myself having this internal struggle of do I do what I need to for inner peace and to pour into my own cup or do I just continue down this path?
I chose to do what I needed to do for me and pour into my own cup. I made the choice to step away from a group of people not because I do not love them or care about them or because I want them completely out of my life. The truth was I felt like I had to hide parts of me, my story, and my feelings or thoughts from many of them. We all met working through the same thing, but the truth is outside of that same thing I did not feel I had much in common with most of them beyond that. I could laugh at the same jokes, I could tell a funny story, I could talk about my kids, but after that I found myself not feeling like I could share anything deeper. There was no one at fault for how I felt, it was just me listening to my gut. We all have heard that saying about how we see more than we ever let anyone know, and I study people’s verbal and nonverbal responses, so if I feel as though responses are not welcoming or open minded, I just don’t share . As soon as I made that choice it felt so freeing. I know that most of them if not all of them did not get it, and that is ok, because what I was going for was pouring back in to my cup, and not necessarily making sure I was filling someone else’s again. I found myself with everything going on in the World, I was pouring every ounce of me into my kids and my work, that by pouring just that little bit back in to me, made me feel like a new person.
They say that when you can speak freely without hesitation that is when you know you are with the right people, and I finally felt that I did not have to hesitate anymore. I found I no longer felt guilty for having to say no to going places and doing things. I found that if I did not have my kids and needed to just stay home in my house for peace and quiet, I could do that. I found myself pouring into my cup again, sipping a to-go margarita on the couch in my pjs, without feeling guilty.
So, to all of you out there who are pouring from an empty or almost empty cup, its time to take some of that back for yourself. Find something that makes you happy and do it, find something that does not make you happy and stop doing it, stop pouring into too many people without first pouring into yourselves. We are always going to pour in to our kids, as we are supposed to do, and we will always pour ourselves in to work because we have to, but beyond that the next cup we all should pour in to is our own. So, grab a pitcher, fill your cup, and while you are at it sip your favorite drink, wear your comfy clothes, and do what makes you happy.
~~ JES <3 <3 <3