Stop Trying to Pour from an Empty Cup: To All my Giving Friends and Family

If you consider yourself a giver, then you can understand what it means to pour from an empty cup. Giving doesn’t always mean materialistic things. It can mean giving your time, mental and emotional support in any relationship. A giver is always trying to help someone even when they don’t have it to give. They find joy in trusting that God will provide all their needs or may even convince themselves that the other person may deserve it more than them, so they give.

Mental and emotional giving can threaten your mental status. If you continue to operate in a place where you are always attending to another person’s needs, wants, and desires then before you know it, you have lost yourself and have nothing left for you. You must keep in mind that; someone needs to be filling your cup as well. It might not always be 50/50 but some sort of exchange needs to be made to maintain your mental and emotional balance. The absence of these can lead to depression, anxiety, and many other serious concerns. For example, let’s take a car without oil in its engine. If you continue to drive that car without oil, eventually the motor will blow up, leaving it beyond repair sometimes. Now the car needs a new motor depending on a few variables, but the human body and mind are much more delicate than that. When those things have caused a shutdown, the damage is hard to fix and sometimes irreplaceable. We must be mindful of what and how much we give people especially when not getting anything in return.

The worst thing in the world a person can waste is your time because you can never get it back. However, you can use the time you have to try and make up for it by making the best out of the time you’re in and with those that are around supporting you.

I have learned that people will drain you if you allow it. Givers are those who don’t always look for something in return and it seems like the takers know just how to spot a GIVER! In any situation, I believe that one should pray for discernment and knowing when to assert themselves.

First, I recommend finding out why you give so much and work on healthy giving. I wanted people to know that I am a good person and I felt that God sent them to me for a reason because I like to help. Also, every time I was approached, I put myself in their shoes because I knew what it was like to not get help from anyone. I knew how much it takes to ask for help. I learned that I had low self-esteem, was prideful, independent, and I wanted people to like me, befriend me. I was so afraid that if I didn’t help people, they would be mad, or I would lose them in my life. I used to feel like it was my duty to help people out of their bad situations. I wondered why people were so attracted to me, coming to me telling me their issues or some who would just outright ask for my help. I guarantee you every time, I gave in. When I needed them, I couldn’t get help. They didn’t have it; they weren’t available, or they knew just what to say to make you want to end the call. Some would never even call back to check and see if you figured it out or if you were good; Despite the times you’ve come to their rescue. The real test comes when you find yourself in a real crisis or bind and you can’t find not one soul to help you. Thank God you can call on him and he’s always there!! Psalm 23 states, “my cup runs over,” think on that a little while!

Next, I was raised to treat people how I wanted to be treated. I watched my grandmother and mother give endlessly while we didn’t have much. Givers have big hearts with compassion and empathy. I was very naïve thinking that people would reciprocate what I was putting out. Giving can be detrimental to our well-being. I used to find myself giving, giving and giving to others, and sometimes placing my own household in jeopardy because I have nothing left for myself.

Remember that your job can also force so much out of you. You can find yourself working long hours for little pay. You can find yourself in situations where you’re doing all the work and getting the short end of the stick. You can give so much of yourself until you don’t even recognize who you are anymore. This can cause burnout, dislike for your job and co-workers. Only give what your job description asks of you unless you can handle more in a healthy way. Always remember to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You can’t continue your success with an empty cup.

Teach people how to fill their cups. Show them how God fills your cup and trust and know that if he fills your cup, he can fill others! It’s not YOUR job to always fill someone’s cup, especially if yours is empty!

The truth about giving is that you should only give what you can afford to lose. This means that it’s not okay to give everything you have and not keep something for yourself. Through many obstacles, disappointments, hurt, and pain, I have learned to set healthy boundaries, and most importantly, I have learned how to implement the word NO and build my own self-worth, self-esteem, and self-love!! One person can only do so much. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to be just a tad bit selfish when it threatens your well-being.

You don’t have to continue to try and pour from an empty cup because it won’t benefit you or the person you’re trying to help. Pouring from an empty cup can cause bitterness, resentment, dislike, maybe even hate so just say NO! Say enough is enough! Walk away from things that don’t allow you to be your best self, HOLISTICALLY!!

A few suggestions to help fill your cup:

  1. Surround yourself with those who want what’s best for you and can fill your cup in return

  2. Take breaks when needed, don’t overdo it

  3. Exercise physically, mentally, and emotionally

  4. Do what makes you happy, brings you peace and joy

  5. Develop and implement a self-care routine

  6. Understand and live your purpose

A GREAT mentor once told me that in order to take care of others, I must take care of myself!!

Katrina Williams

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