A cup full of empty


Have you ever heard the analogy, ‘fill your cup from the inside?’ or ‘fill your own cup’?

Sometimes it’s used in reference to weight loss. Often I’ve seen it used in the new age spiritual community.

There’s a Facebook page – “ComeFillYourCup“, a weightless book titled “Fill Your Cup“; the list could go on and on.

The general gist is that it is your own responsibility to take care of yourself; no one can do it for you.

I would love to say I agree, on it’s face it sounds wonderful… and while I don’t completely disagree, I think the analogy does more harm than good.

I have three very simple reasons why.

1. There is nothing on this planet that lives this way. I have to date not seen a single example, human, plant, animal, anything, that lives this way.

There is no thing on this planet that thrives, much less exists on it’s own, filling it’s own cup.

If you should have an example of this, I would love to hear about it; please let me know.

Let’s take the human race for example. How are we doing- the ones who are trying to fill our own cups?

Let’s take obesity for example.


Global Obesity Map of 2013

“Obesity is usually determined by BMI (body mass index) measurements. Someone with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), from 1960-2006 “the percentage of obese adults ages 20 years and older more than doubled, increasing from 13% to 35%. Between 1980 and 2008 the average body mass index (BMI) increased globally by 0.4 per decade for men and 0.5 per decade for women. 
Currently, 21.8% of the total global population and 33.9% of the US population is obese.”

I use obesity as an example because it is often such a struggle for people, myself included. I have struggled for years with weight and I clearly attribute my success in overcoming the challenge to powerful connections with people who cared enough to inspired and supported me to change.

I didn’t do it by myself, I had some help.

And it’s not just me, you can see the same thing in a wonderful documentary by Joe Cross’s movie Sick Fat and Nearly Dead, where the same thing happened.

Someone caring enough for another to be their inspiration and support.

Here is just one example of people caring, striving, inspiring and supporting each other together.


Finding inspiration with each other, these men lost a significant amount of weight in just a few days. Click through for their story.


2. More often than not this fill your own cup ‘philosophy’ is used as an excuse to abdicate our responsibility in our relationships with each other and everything we are connected to:

‘I can’t do if for you, you have to do it on your own.’

That phrase is all kinds of wrong. Sometimes someone can do ‘it’ for you, sometimes you can do ‘it’ for someone… and no, you don’t have to do it on your own.

If we follow the design of everything else on this planet, in this universe, we are all intricately connected, and if we acted that way… our world would be a much more pleasant place to be:



3. The analogy is flawed at it’s base, there is no cup. It is not a cup, it is a river.

You see, if we have the awareness that we are all connected, it’s quite clear that someone else’s thoughts, emotions, and actions have a profound impact on each other.

We all have a profound impact on each other.

If we flow together in the river of life’s experiences we can endure and overcome any obstacle that greets us.

While it may be prudent to follow the advice of the airline attendant and ‘put your mask on first’, let’s be full of care to remember that the ‘first’ part implies the ‘second’…

Help the person next to you put theirs on.

If you try to fill your own cup, expect to have a cup full of empty.

It’s not a cup, it’s a river, and we’re all in it together.

With all my love,



  1. Jhahn says:

    The “Come fill your cup” page that I found after reading this is merely a group of followers of the Christian faith who feel that putting the words of the creator into their hearts is filling their cup. It is Metapgoric.Doing so together as well. To uplift one another, to encourage one another. I found that they have a huge retreat anually as well to glean from one another. So, I believe your call on this page is negative and uninformed.

  2. Brian Saffran says:

    OK, so if you don’t want to call it a cup… call it a vessel, or A Body.
    If it is a river which flows, not a lake or a pond, it still has its banks, a bottom, and a top, a beginning and an end… and ebb among the flow.
    The water curls around itself, making little whirlpools, too.
    But what of the Sky, above the River?
    What if I wish to fill A Balloon (not a cup) with Hot Air and rise above The River?
    As Morpheus said to Neo, “I can only show you the door…”

    “A Dream is Like a River, ever changing as it flows…” – Garth Brooks

    My cup is always full… half of air, and half of water.
    It fills itself in the same way A River Fills Itself With Rain.
    I know I have everything I will ever need…it is implied by my existence… why would I exist if I didn’t have everything what I needed to do it? I know I need other people or they wouldn’t exist in the same way I wouldn’t exist either. Just as A River would not exist without The Rain.
    Same is true of any other person anywhere… We are here, because we’re here, be cause we were here, so we shell be here, until we’re not.
    We ‘Work’ because it feeds a need in our existence. (LEARNING)
    We ‘Play’ because it feeds a need in our existence. (ENTERTAINMENT)

    The goose which lays golden eggs can still die of neglect.
    The worse thing you can do to anything or anyone is ignore/neglect them.
    Just look at Dr. Masaru Emoto’s Rice Experiment.

    Namaste young Padawan

  3. Ktal says:

    My cup floweth over! Lol. That’s a tattoo for you know where… 😉

  4. Serena says:

    To fill you own cup is not meant to discourage people from being loving and giving to others. It is based on the fact that we cannot wait and depend on others to ‘make’ us happy when that power is really within us. Yes, all of nature is interconnected, but this does not translate to a dependence on others for a sense of self-worth/self-esteem/ happiness. A loving gesture towards someone can steer them on the right path, but a majority of the time, people will not take steps to improve themselves until they are self-motivated.

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