Filling your Empty Cup: Lesson in Self-Compassion

Updated: Feb 12

A lot of us struggle with being alone.

Without the voices of family, friends, colleagues, or even our neighbours, the only voice left is our own.

How one communicates with self is telling. There are many people in this world who are kind and patient with others, yet short and critical with themselves. It’s an odd disconnect. We live in a society where manners count, likability matters and we do not hesitate to rise to the occasion. Yet do we, actually?

What makes you ask that question?

I’m calling out the dissonance. If you’re the first to help when someone makes a mistake, yet you beat yourself up for the rest of the week if you flounder - one could call your sympathy disingenuous. More specifically, a pretense. You offer up a kind word because that’s how you’ve been socialized. If you’re unable to show yourself the same degree of kindness and empathy, then maybe consider that your behaviour with others is not a real reflection of self.

What do you mean by a reflection of self?

Behaviour that reflects who you are in your true authenticity. Masks and personas discarded.

How you talk to yourself, when no one is listening or paying attention, offers a real reflection of who you are.

There’s an old adage that states, “You cannot give from an empty cup.”

Wise and philosophical, it rings true. We can even test it out. Say, I see someone who is parched with thirst. I offer them water with a big smile on my face. Except, this person is fully dehydrated, and my smile counts for nothing, they could really use the water. My smile broadens as I state, “Well, I don’t actually have water. I just see that you’re really thirsty and it felt good to offer.” Cue shocked silence. The stranger looks on at me, taking notice of the peculiar, broad, plastic smile frozen to my face, while slowly stating, “Thanks… for nothing.”

While those around you might be less than likely to notice the falsity interwoven throughout day-to-day interactions - you know. You're aware of the degrees of separation that exists between the self that shows up in public spaces and who you are when you’re behind closed doors.