Growing up we used to have a clap-back for the boys who would tout at us. “Usuzithande waqeda yini usuzothanda mina?”, meaning “have you loved yourself enough before you decided to love me?”. Back then, it was just us telling the boys to “buzz off!”. But, as we grew older and looking back at it now, we realise there was more meaning to it than we realised. This was not just a simple question, and it raises so many questions and meaning into it. Do you love yourself enough to know you can love someone else? Do you care for yourself enough to know you have enough care for others? Before you pour into others, is your cup full?
Time and again, life lessons have proven to us that you cannot give what you do not have, nor act upon something, when your energy is depleted. The same applies to personal relationships. Building a healthy relationship requires you to be healthy yourself in the first place. You cannot take care of others, while you also need care for yourself. The phrase “you cannot pour from an empty cup” has a lot to do with self care. If anything, it should be the first rule when it comes to building and maintaining relationships. Take care of yourself first, before you can take care of others. The same goes in love. You cannot love others when you do not love yourself.
When you are depleted you cannot offer our best selves to the world. You have to be mindful of our own needs and ensure that you are taking care of ourselves first. This means taking time for self-care, getting enough rest and eating a healthy diet. It also means taking time for the things you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family or engaging in hobbies.
It is also important to recognise when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This can be a sign that you are in need of some self-care and it is important to take the time to focus on your own needs. When things get overwhelming and you cannot seem to catch up with your own self, take a break from what demands the most of you. Disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life, and catch your breath. This will help you reset and restore your personal energy. It does not have to cost you so much.
The most important to remember is that you cannot give what you do not have. Unless you refill what has been depleted, you cannot continue giving. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to make sure to take care of yourself so that you can give your best to the world. Besides, how will you know how to love and care for others, when you do not know how to do it to yourself? Unless, if you are toxic.