Fill your Own Cup


Humans are the best kind. They want to help and give. Although sometimes they don’t understand that they cannot give what they do not have. Most people are so generous, they always want to help others but in that list, they exclude themselves. Same goes for those who want to give. It is not their fault that they do not begin with themselves, they have been taught to go out and help others. Nobody teaches them to go within first and help themselves. So to some, giving is just an act of charity. Maybe some just have material things and give from a point of guilt.

One cannot have love or compassion for others if they do not have it for themselves, for in having it in them, they really understand it. This is what people call filling your own cup, for in reality you cannot fill another if yours is empty. This is like knowing. To know others, first you have to know yourself. One cannot claim to know others if they do not know themselves. It is however easier to show others that you know them or love them, there could be lack of sincerity here but on a self-level, one cannot lie to themselves. It takes a longer time for one to know themselves and love themselves more than it does to act like you love others. This could be attributed to the narrow road that few choose to follow. Or better still going through the eye of the needle.

The master Jesus is quoted in the gospel of Thomas saying, ‘he who is knowing but lacking in themselves is utterly lacking’. There is a lot of inner work and cleansing and forgiving that is required for one to know, love and have compassion for themselves. Most people evade this process because it involves facing our own fears. It is said that we have to face our demons by walking through them and not running away for if we do the latter, they will always be chasing us.

A time comes when we want to be in a relationship, seeking to be loved. This, most people do before they have given themselves love or without really knowing what self-love is. While in the relationship they will always feel like they are not getting the love they expected to get, so they move on to another relationship and another. The cycle will continue because the person is not balanced. So they always go out looking for another person to feel balanced, but it does not happen that way. A person who is balanced will know that they are first complete even before getting another partner in their life.

There is this famous statement that people say often when they are ‘in love’ with someone. They say, ‘he or she makes me complete’. This does not seem accurate, however long the connection between two people may last. You cannot complete another if you do not feel complete individually, where is the balance? If one gets wronged, then they first run to another person instead of coming to themselves.

We all walk along the streets in the towns we live in. While walking, we cannot fail to notice the homeless sitting by the road, always holding their hand out. They have a certain look on them, one that could make you feel guilty if you just passed by.  Most people get overwhelmed by such sightings and therefore take it as their obligation to always give something to those they see on the streets. Otherwise they will be worn down with a sense of guilt. It is quite clear with this example that most of us are driven by guilt and not compassion for the help that we offer. Alan Watts in one of his lectures points out that the ‘do gooders’ are the trouble makers in the society. They do not act from a place of love, rather from fear which hides in the name, guilt.

They are more concerned of how they will be perceived if they just walked by, without helping. They want to be portrayed as kind by the public. In this generation there is a frenzy with taking pictures of those moments that one is doing charity work. Most people will then start showing of how generous they are. True compassion however, does not dictate to anyone what they should do. Can one walk away from the homeless and still have compassion for themselves and the homeless too?

So people fear judgement from the external environment. We are always our biggest and the harshest judge and without being aware of it, we end up judging others. This is because we have not learnt to forgive ourselves. You will always see the fault in others, except, what you see in others is also in you. So much forgiveness and love has to happen on the inside. The only challenge that lies on the path to doing inner working is beginning. Once one has begun, then they will understand the profoundness and will never turn back.

There is a metaphor of a man who goes and knocks on a door but goes away quickly before the door is opened. He then comes to the people and tells them that he opened the door and also what he saw inside. He does this continually and some day, he knocked on the door and somebody came and showed him how to open it but he declined the help. He still went back to his routine. There are people who act like they know yet in reality they do not.

They come preaching what they have heard without really doing it themselves. The whole time they are running away from themselves. To this people their cup will always remain empty so they will never understand what they are talking about and yet people will follow them. If they were to allow the door to be opened for them, their cup would overflow and they would have much to give even without preaching it.

True happiness and love is seen in a person without them necessarily saying they have it. Like a lighthouse, there light will be seen and felt from a distance. So if one really gave their attention to helping themselves then by this, they would be helping others without so much struggle. If one natured their garden, then the butterflies would come, without them going out to chase for them. Going out to look for them would be frustrating and cause suffering.

Inner work also called shadow work is quite important to the individual seeking to know themselves. One goes all in to release the darkest and the lightest parts of them. This is a never ending process that in turn changes their life immensely.

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