I recently listened to a conversation that was part of the Soul Craft Festival. It was a wonderful talk with Jamila Reddy about showing up and giving yourself permission to create. It was powerful, refreshing, and really got me doing a lot of self reflecting. The part of the conversation that struck me the most powerfully was about making sure your metaphoric cup is full. In a nutshell, we cannot show up for those we love and help support them through their struggles if we have ignored our own needs and struggles. This metaphor of a cup is simple and straightforward. Your cup needs to be overflowing in order to truly show up for those around you, otherwise you are taking from your own cup to fill theirs. Half full doesn't work here.
This is something I struggle with; perhaps you do, too. Sometimes it doesn't feel like we have a choice on whether we show up or how full our cup is. I have three young children who need and do not yet have the ability to see peoples' cups or how much they are asking of a person. I cannot decide to not show up for my kids just because my cup is not full. The same is true of my partner, who struggles in a very real way with anxiety. "Sorry, can't help you today, my cup isn't full." That doesn't sit right, does it?
But this isn't an accurate picture...or at least not completely accurate. It is not an all or nothing type thing.
The idea, I think, is to work daily at filling your cup so that when these moments arise that take from your coffers, you have extra to give. It might take a little while before you feel like your cup is overflowing, but if we work at it, we will get there. This can look different for different people, but I think it all starts with self care. While I cannot decide to take the day off when my children need me, I can make decisions prior to the need to help make sure I am cared for before caring for others.
I don't think we need to overthink this. Getting a good night's sleep is self-care. Taking ten minutes to read your favorite book or stitch a few lines is self-care. Eating healthy foods, or maybe even eating a treat seem like they fit the bill. None of these things are "WOW!" type activities, but give yourself permission to take part in them every day and I think that cup will start to brim.
Showing up for yourself is hard, but you are worth it. Please give yourself permission and be there for you just as you are for others.