Last week I was talking with my dear friend, who has a history of people pleasing and putting her own needs last on her to-do list (if they even make it onto the list).
She’s started a new company, with the goal and drive to bring mental health-building tools to schools – she is a gift to the world, and she is starting to see that in herself.
As we talked about her new venture, boundaries came up (a common theme for us) and the need to keep self care at the very top of her list. I referenced that oft-quoted analogy that “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” We’ve talked about this before – and she and I have each talked about it with many other women (& men) in our lives. We both deeply believe this sentiment, even as we need to remind each other to keep it front of mind and action.
I said to her, in the way only close friends (&, sometimes, coaches) can, “you know what your problem has traditionally been? Not only have you not remembered to keep your own cup full, you have poured and poured out to others until there is nothing left, at which point you’ve said, ‘oh – I’m empty and you’re still not satisfied? Here, let me break my cup and give you a piece. And I’ll give a piece to you, too…’ You need to recognize that pattern and stop.” And she has; she has been working on this part of her, this generous, giving, kind (to a fault, clearly) part of her – to turn the most giving and kind parts towards herself, as well.
“You know what this makes me think of?” she asked me, “the Japanese pottery that, when cracked, is repaired with gold, not only making it stronger, but also more beautiful.”
What a spectacular analogy for her, for me, for all of us. When we overstretch, over-give, empty our cups without remembering to refill for too long, we will very likely crack. Thankfully, we can choose to repair our cups, and learn strategies to avoid future breakage.
Self care – a buzz phrase that is getting a lot of airplay these days – is not a foreign concept anymore, it’s not selfish, and it’s not (necessarily) bubble baths and brownies. Different for each of us, maybe self care means time alone or a yoga class or a walk or run in nature. It might mean quiet meditation or an animated talk or cleansing cry with a close friend.
Need some help figuring out what self care means for you or how to take steps to incorporate it into your life? I am here to help with that. Let me support you as you embrace learning how to fill your own cup, and repair those beautiful cracks with the purest gold.
Check out Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold:
Life Coach, Yogi & lover of Meditation, mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, cookie baker, seeker of truth & laughter, volunteer. Passionate about women's stories and the women who share them.