Our boss “should” praise us; our partner “should” compliment us; our kids “should” thank us. But how often do any of these things happen? If we keep waiting around for them, we begin to feel very, very empty.
I’m going to propose something radical here: I going to suggest that it’s time we all begin filling ourselves, rather than expecting others to do it for us.
I wonder how many of you had some resistance flare up just now?
“I don’t have time to say ‘yes’ to me! Whoever heard of such a preposterous idea! I would never be that selfish!”
I can almost see a grandmother – or a Puritan!– poo-pooing the concept. You likely have the same voices in your head, saying that exact sort of thing.
But at the same time, did it ring even slightly true for you?
Even just a small, tiny “ding ding!”?
I’m going to guess yes.
See, most of us innately know we need more “filling.”
Because ask yourself this: are you really at your best when you are drained? Are you able to do your best at work? Be loving and kind with your kids, spouse, partner, parents? Are you able to keep up with the progress you’ve been wanting to make with your health or body goals? Do you feel as good as you want to feel? Are you as happy as you want to be?
Something deep inside us knows that we are not, in fact, at our best – for ourselves or for anyone around us – when we are drained.
Imagine that you are a Well. Think about how much water (time, energy, support) you give out, day after day, week after week. Think about all the people coming to pull water from your depths: your boss, spouse, children, parents – heck, even your home, with its endless chores, upkeep, maintenance, bills.
Agh! I get tired just thinking about it all!
You can see from this imagery why we feel so spent. We feel drained because we are spent!
Filling Your Well
A healthy Well is constantly being fed by some underground source, right?
So my question to you is this: who’s filling your Well?
It’s tempting to think all those people who are taking from us “should” (and I put that in finger-quotes) be the ones replenishing us. Our boss “should” praise us; our partner “should” compliment us; our kids “should” thank us – or at the very least clean their rooms without being asked.
Without being too cheeky, let me ask you: how’s that going for you?
Are you getting praised, complemented, and thanked? And if yes, has that been enough to keep your Well filled?
And perhaps your answer to this question is also “yes.” But frankly, I’m willing to bet it’s not.
Because here’s the truth of it all: no one can fill your Well except for you.
And if you’re not doing it, it’s simply not getting done.
You are the only one who can truly replenish your stores of energy. Even if you are lucky enough to get praised and thanked, that’s a surface-level-filling, and will quickly disappear.
Why Take the Time to Fill Your Well?
We do this – this Well-filling – to feel good, and to be rested. These lead directly to our ability to be more kind and compassionate, creative and loving. We are better at home when we’re not exhausted or depleted. We’re better in our jobs, and with the people there. We’re better in our communities. Heck, we attract better people into our lives when our energy is clear and clean.
But we also fill our Wells so that we can be a whole lot better at all the things we do for others.
Because here’s the thing: when we give from a drained Well, we are giving sludge. We are mildly resentful, or at best, doing it “because it is the right thing to do.” And when you really get down to it, this finger-quote thing of “should” and “right thing to do” are not particularly powerful energies. They are energies that put ourselves above others, or allow us tick off some externally-defined sense of being good in the world.
But the best way to do good in the world is to do it from a free, expansive, non-attached energy.
When we can give without expectation of reward or recognition – even if it’s our own sense of “doing the right thing” – that is when we are offering up the best of ourselves.
The Good News
How does this sit with you? Did I help put a crack in the dam? Are you beginning to see the genuine value of keeping your Well filled. Do you see that you’re the only one who can do it, and that you benefit everyone when your Well is full?
The great news is that it’s really quite easy to fill your well. It doesn’t have to take much time, or cost much money. In fact, it’s best if it doesn’t cost much – we’re not talking about the quick thrill of a purchase, but rather the in-the-moment joy of an experience that brings you some happiness.
The only rule is that it has to feel good to you. There can be no “should’s” involved or even remotely attached (like if you used to be forced to practice piano, it’s probably not a great cellular-memory for you to dig back up).
That’s it! Just one thing, as long as it feels good. It could take 5 minutes or 5 hours – it doesn’t matter.
So now, it’s time to commit. What one thing will you do this week to fill your Well?
- A bubble bath
- A slow Sunday drive
- Dinner out with a friend who is totally supportive and not remotely draining
- Play the piano (if, and only if, you love it)
The key is to go into it deliberately and consciously. Recognize that it’s filling your Well, and pat yourself on the back (go on, do it) for making the time to prioritize your own Well-filling.
And with any luck, it will feel so good that you’ll be jazzed to do it again (or something similarly awesome) the following week. Or even sooner.
Imagine if we walked around all the time feeling like a Well filled with fresh, abundant water?
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about…