Updated: Oct 22, 2020
You cannot give from an empty cup
Have you guys ever heard of the phrase “Selfish people live longer?” My mom, Serena, used to say that all the time, and I never understood what that meant. I used to be upset that my mom glorified being selfish. How could you just do things to only benefit you? You don’t care about anyone else? She was never a lovey-dovey mom. She’s a cancer, so she was always tough. I would witness my mom make plans and sometimes cancel them that day, or look at her best friend calling her and purposely not answer the phone. I then came to the conclusion that she was evil. I now know that my mom is not evil and she was just practicing self-care.
As a child I was always giving, which is funny because I am an only child. I rarely received emotional attention, so I felt like it was always my duty to give that to friends, families, and boyfriends. You know the person that everyone goes to with their issues? I’ve become that person. Again, I get it and had no problem being the consoling voice in a moment of anger or sadness. From family issues to boy issues, to shitty life decisions, I was always there to help. But who helps the person that everyone takes from? The problem is not that people come to me for advice, favors, or a shoulder to cry on. The problem is when I need advice, a favor, or a shoulder to cry on no one is available. At this point my cup is empty. I continue to give and give and give from an empty cup. Like literally, there is not a drop left. So, what happens to me when my cup is empty? I become drained. I’m sure you’ve heard something like “You can’t give from an empty cup.” Self-care is more than a face mask and meditation, it’s internal peace. Because I am drained and my cup is empty, I become stressed and mentally ill.
I’ve been there for some people so much where I’ve made their issues my issues. I’ve been there for people so much that I expected the same treatment in return and I didn’t get that, and that stressed me out more. So now, this big cup of giving is empty and somehow, I still find ways to take care of everyone else. I am drained. My problem is that too early in life I felt like I had to be there for everyone and ALL of their issues. Never be afraid to protect your energy and keep your cup filled. Little things matter like saying “No” to going out with friends, or not answering your phone if you don’t feel like talking. Making the decision to not necessarily not care about someone else’s problems, but do not put too much energy into THEIR issues. You want to be healthy mentally. Take care of yourself first and be like Serena. Remember, selfish people live longer.