You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Pretty obvious, right?

In this context it’s a metaphor for making sure we take care of ourselves.

Prioritising self-care, perceiving it as a necessity rather than as an indulgence.

That’s because self-care is about self-preservation, not selfishness.

We’re so often brought up to believe otherwise – putting others’ needs before our own. That’s important, of course, but we need to learn to recognise when we are crossing the line between caring so much for others we forget to care for ourselves.

When we forget to care for ourselves the tank begins to run low…and empties. Shudders to a stop. With a fair bit of smoke and drama, too, probably.

So do whatever your situation, do what you can to make time, however, whenever, and wherever you can to replenish our internal tanks.

Most of us have seemingly endless to-do lists. If it all seems insurmountable, why not think about what has to be done today, and what can wait – and what doesn’t really have to be done when you think about it. Our priorities can sometimes get a bit skewed, and we can get distracted doing stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Readdressing priorities is something I’ve been doing more of recently. More time spent reading, colouring, being creative playing with my pretty stationery, taking time out with a gentle walk…

More time saying “no” (politely!).

Less time on social media. Instead, I try to check it in bursts.

If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t.

Trying to remember what is worth investing my time and energy in, what to leave, and what to send out to the universe.

It’s not always as simple as that, of course. Life gets in the way. Pressures come from all sides.

But if you remember, (even sometimes if not all the time) you can’t pour from an empty cup you’ll get through.


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22 Comments on You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

  1. Margaret
    March 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm (3 years ago)

    So true. And one of the most eye-opening things my bereavement counsellor said to me was, “self-care isn’t the same as treats.”

    I remember saying, “everyone’s telling me to do self-care, but if I go on a lovely holiday, my son will still be dead, right? So what difference will it make?”

    But self-care isn’t the same as little treats (though that can be part of it). Sometimes it means having a nourishing meal, or getting exercise, or tidying up so you feel more peaceful at home, or going to bed earlier, or changing the way you talk to yourself. It basically means “treating yourself as though you were someone you loved.” So you can still practice self-care even if you can’t afford massages and holidays and little pink drinks.

  2. Robin
    February 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks for your insights. I am an oncology social worker giving a presentation on self care for caregivers, healthcare providers, and patients. I would like to use the cup photograph and quotation. Is it yours? May I have permission to re-use? If it’s not yours, is it free clipart, or where would I need to get permission to copy?

    • Leigh
      February 15, 2016 at 4:40 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi there, no the image isn’t mine – it’s been shared on Facebook. There probably wouldn’t be a problem with using it in a presentation for health reasons x

  3. Jenny
    October 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm (6 years ago)

    What an inspiring and motivational post darling and couldn’t come at a better time when I am running myself ragged trying to fit it all in and do it all 100%, but when the cup is empty its empty. Great metaphor. I needed to read this today thank you. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. Why not invite your friends to come share too? I would love to get to know more bloggers and widen my blogger share with me circle. All posts, old and new are welcome. #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Empowerment from the inside outMy Profile

    • Leigh
      October 15, 2015 at 4:40 pm (6 years ago)

      Bless you Jenny thank you xxx

    • Leigh
      October 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm (6 years ago)

      So important to achieve the balance, Susanne – you don’t want to tip over and get nothing done! xxx

    • Leigh
      October 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm (6 years ago)

      Absolutely, makes it worth repeating! xx

  4. Mary Smith
    October 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm (6 years ago)

    I tots needed to read this! I have been reading around this topic a lot recently and trying to figure out my passions, goals and what I want in my life so that I can prioritise those things and have direction. I often find myself since the loss just completely worn out with life and trying to do everything and time being demanded by others – deffs need to take care of self before others x GREAT POST
    Mary Smith recently posted…The Ordinary Moments 40/52 – Harvest FestivalMy Profile

    • Leigh
      October 7, 2015 at 11:03 am (6 years ago)

      Grief really is exhausting isn’t it Mary? So important to take care of yourself. Glad the post has been useful for you lovely xxx

  5. Mrs H
    October 5, 2015 at 11:26 am (6 years ago)

    A fabulous post. Self-care is something that I’ve been struggling with for a while. But it is so important. And you are right self care is not selfish. It is crucial. Hugs Mrs H xxxx
    Mrs H recently posted…My Captured Moment – A special afternoon tea partyMy Profile

    • Leigh
      October 7, 2015 at 11:05 am (6 years ago)

      Absolutely right, Mrs H. Self-care is a must-do, not a maybe. Thank you xxx

  6. Mummy Tries
    October 4, 2015 at 8:03 pm (6 years ago)

    Another amazing post lovely, and a reminder to us all look after ourselves… You take care my dear, and if you aren’t feeling the love then taking a step backwards is the only way forward xxxx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…We Need to Talk About the Elephant in the RoomMy Profile

    • Leigh
      October 7, 2015 at 11:05 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you lovely – absolutely right xxx

  7. Beth
    October 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm (6 years ago)

    Brilliant post lovely x
    The image seems to have resonated with so many x
    Self-fullness is so very different to selfishness x

    • Leigh
      October 7, 2015 at 11:07 am (6 years ago)

      It’s an amazing image isn’t it? Says so much so succinctly. Self-fullness different to selfishness – love that too xxx

  8. mummyshambles
    October 4, 2015 at 8:31 am (6 years ago)

    True, Leigh..
    You really can’t give the best of yourself if you’ve nowt in the tank – so to speak.
    Good post. 🙂 X
    mummyshambles recently posted…Chasing SleepMy Profile

    • Leigh
      October 7, 2015 at 11:06 am (6 years ago)

      Completely right. Thank you! xxx


3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

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