If you want to know love, do this… and then just keep doing it until you transform your life.
“You’ve got to fill your own cup.”
This is one of those things that the whole new-agey movement actually gets right. And it’s one of the rare ones where it’s actually more right than they think!
Normally we hear this expression when we’re talking about love. And in this context it really is great advice.
We have a tendency to look outside to others to fills the holes inside us. We all do this, and in a way we’re conditioned into it at an early age. When you’re 1 you can’t source your own food, let alone walk. You need someone to help you when you’re hungry.
And so we learn this sort of ‘dependency’ from an early age. And for the rest of our lives we’re learning the painful lesson that ultimately, we are just profoundly and desperately alone in the world, and we are not, in fact, the centre of anyone else’s universe.
This can be a hard lesson to learn and some people go to great lengths to avoid coming face to face with it. We hold on hard to the idea because, maybe, if it were true, life would be just so easy.
If you found the right person then, bam, over night, your problems are sorted. Like an instant cup of bliss.
There’s no working on stuff. No dealing with your problems in the material world. No working on your mindset to keep yourself positive, motivated and grateful.
You don’t have to do any work at all. Just find the ‘right’ person, and live happily ever after.
This is one of those quirky things where if we examine it in even the briefest detail, the idea comes to pieces. We know that its rubbish. A delusion at best, and a harmful lie peddled by Hollywood at worst.
We can all see this.
And yet, we find it hard to believe it. We want it to be true so much, that we will selectively blinker out that wisdom within us, and we keep finding ourselves falling back into the delusion, over and over.
If we’re not watching ourselves carefully, if we’re not putting disciplines in place to stop us falling into the trap, we all become suckers for love.
It happens to the best of us.
(This is actually one of the things you have to master, I reckon. It’s not enough to have a realisation like “I can see that I’ve inherited my fears about money from my mother.” That doesn’t really help you. It’s only as good as saying, “I can see that my computer has a virus.” You’ve actually got to then do something about it – reprogram your beliefs in this case. Realisation is a good first step, but the solution takes work and time.)
Anyway, in the case of love, we have to recognise that others can’t fill the holes within us. We have to take responsibility for our own experience in life. And then we have to fill our own cup – we have to put in place practices that steadily give us what we are looking for.
So if it’s affirmation you’re looking for, affirm yourself. “I am a good person and a valuable member of my community.”
If its nurture you’re looking, for nurture yourself. “I make time for things that make me happy. I do African dance on Tuesday nights.”
And if it’s love that you are looking for, love yourself. “I love this being who I am and who I am becoming. I celebrate myself.”
But the thing I want to say is that while this is great advice about romance and looking for someone to share your journey with, it’s great advice for every aspect of life.
We have an amazing capacity to self-generate many of the experiences we are looking for.
So if you want to live in wonder, practice gratitude and dropping yourself into awe and wonder.
If you want to experience connection, meditate on the amazing people in your life, and how much you value the bond (and then drop them a text message to tell them that you’re thinking of them.)
Or if you want to experience self-worth, take time to celebrate your strengths and successes.
Whatever we want in life, we should always be our own first port of call.
Learn the art of filling your own cup, and your life can be completely transformed.
… all without ever leaving the house!