If I were to ask you to go to your kitchen cupboard, grab a glass and then try to fill another glass with it, you couldn't do it. Not the “grab a glass” part, I'm sure you have one or two in your kitchen. You'd have to fill up your glass first. You know you can't fill another glass+ until the one you're holding is first full. We operate on the same principle. Without filling the ‘glass’ of our own hearts, we cannot continue to pour out our love to others for very long. Taking the time to stop and fill up our own glasses can feel like it's one of the hardest things you'll ever do.
We are so willing to love someone else, appreciating all the little things regardless of the status of their bank account, receding hairline, illness or IQ. However, turn that mirror around and those are the very things that cause us to feel unlovable, undeserving, unwanted. So, in this month in which we set aside an entire holiday to celebrate how much we love other people, I challenge you to take the time to practice a little Self-love. It can be a simple, if not easy (those are not necessarily the same) thing to do even if you're resistant to the idea at first.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” - Buddha
Start your day by writing down 3 things you are grateful for in general. It need only take a minute or two. Then, add one about yourself. What is it that you do like about yourself? Your amazing mane of hair? Your willingness to help a friend in need? How good you feel after your morning workout? Pick at least one and write it down. This doesn't have to take long. In fact, it shouldn't. List the first thing that comes to mind. And if you really think you can't find anything, make it up. What would you appreciate about yourself if it were true, if you were looking at the best version of you? Write it down, create your future ahead of yourself. Then, throughout the day, take a moment when you remember to appreciate that quality again, “Man, I can really make some great tasting, nourishing food!”.
Allowing ourselves to appreciate all those things in ourselves that we admire in others is one way to fill our glass. Another way is to take some time out to take care of yourself. Get that massage you've been craving. Buy that book you've been wanting to enjoy and set aside some time every evening to read. Set up that appointment to take care of yourself, rather than continue to put yourself second. Or third. Or dead last. Make your bed. Stop - and literally - smell the flowers. They're everywhere this month.
I think you'll find that, just like the flight attendants tell us: when those oxygen masks fall, it's only when you take care of yourself first that you are then able to help someone else.