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We can’t pour from an empty tank.
Oftentimes, and too many times, we find ourselves feeling drained, unable to give, unable to invest in someone or something.
We feel something sucks the life out of us every time we try to give or receive anything in life.
We feel wrong, lost, as if there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing.
Also, frequently, we feel like we are on a roll, like life is going the right direction—we take, we give, we receive whatever comes our way, happily and with grace.
Anyone relate? Anyone feel like sometimes we know there is a trigger for each behavior we exhibit, but we are too busy with life to listen to our subconscious mind?
What changes us from one state to the other?
Life can get loud; life can get too demanding; life can suck the energy out of us if we let it.
I, personally, have been on the fast lane for most of my life, and I used to chase opportunities and events like there was no tomorrow—no rest, no pause, no breath.
I had my ups and downs, and I disregarded what my soul and mind were trying to tell me while being caught up in the hook of my previous “perfectionist” nature. That lifestyle led me to feeling drained multiple times, exhausted, and thinking that “powering through” was the key to success.
But now I understand that the key is simple: “You can’t pour from an empty tank.’’
How can we give time and effort to a project, to a person, to a pet, to a life plan if the universe in us is empty and is emptying our “matter” like a black hole?
How can we give advice, be there for the ones we love, support those who need us if we, ourselves, need to refill our substance, our essence, after life’s big rush slowly deprives us of our uniqueness?
Here are a few steps to make sure we are in sync with ourselves and our tanks are full and overflowing with love and the ability to exchange beautiful life encounters with the people who we care about and want to invest in:
1. We need to always find the time to reassess and reevaluate our big moves. This is when time stands still, we make sure we are on the right track, acknowledge our successes, embrace our failures, and then (and only then) “power through” our life’s journey.
2. Self-care is essential—it is not as absolute as it seems. Self-care can manifest in so many different shapes and forms—some find comfort in spending their day in bed, others in writing, listening to music, staring at a wall, taking a walk, relaxing with a best friend, playing an instrument, or crazy solo dancing. The sky’s the limit here.
3. It is okay to decline and say no, even if frequently. We each operate on a certain pace and way of life, and sometimes, a burden can be camouflaged as an opportunity and might not be the right step for us at the moment. The key is not in always working hard; it is in playing smart, knowing what we want, and most importantly, what we do not want.
4. Find a haven. Find a safe place that can literally embrace you when sh*t hits the fan and when you need a place and a time where no one and nothing exists—just you, yourself, and your peace. Just being in that place can put your feet back on the ground and make you realize what matters and what doesn’t.
5. Be selfish. Yes, I mean it. This was a challenging one for me that took some time to wrap my head around. We need to put ourselves first in our big decisions and encounters. Selfishness in its right use is a virtue, not a disadvantage. If we are satisfied and fulfilled, our tank will reach maximum capacity—it may even overflow.
6. Respect yourself with all your baggage. Invest in yourself and in your wonderful being; love the good; accept the bad; try to change it for your own growth; write things down; see them; grasp them; enjoy them; seek help when you need it. Ego is overrated; asking for help does not change your persona or your strength.
7. Acceptance. Last but not least, the most trivial point we regularly fail in having is doing everything and accepting everyone with love. The more we accept people with love, grace, and support, the more overabundance and pouring we can offer.
When the tank is full, life’s road trip will become lighter, worriless, and smoother. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!