Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tend your bucket!
We all have moments, sometimes extended periods, where we aren't the best side of a given relationship. Everyone has down times, bad days, grumpy days and low energy moments. What I'm speaking of, however, is more than that. I am discussing those relationships where you give and give and give, then you give some more, and you're patient, understanding, helpful, supportive, compassionate, caring and loving. That other person is happy to soak it all up...all those wonderful things and all that sumptuous attention from you. Who wouldn't?! It's easy to be on the receiving end of all that nice, handy support! If you're lucky, the majority of the people in your life are equally nurturing and supportive in return, giving you back ample amounts of the energy that you give. Occasionally, and we all have had these types of relationships, there is that person who never gives back.
Viewed from a calmer heart, I can write about this with humor, because it can be rather ironic to experience the extremes with these people. Don't get me wrong, there are times when my own bucket springs a leak. Most times when this happens, I can tend to that leak on my own and resume daily tasks. Once in a while, the leak is rather impressive and requires some additional energy - a helping, loving hand. I am not ashamed to reach out and ask for help at these moments, although I admit that this is a hard won lesson and wasn't easy to learn. I am happy to say that I am blessed with loving, supportive family and friends whom I know I can depend on in times of need. I know this because they tend to their own buckets on a daily basis.
This tending to your own personal bucket is an analogy for being responsible for your actions. Those simple rules we're taught as a child work very well throughout life; Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. If you're having a day where your bucket has sprung a leak, take a moment to look at it and identify the cause. Be kind to yourself, forgive whatever actions were done to cause the leak to occur, and then apply a steady hand to repairing the leak. Look about you afterwards to ascertain if your leak may have caused damage to anyone else. Did your bucket spray all over others unwittingly? If so, acknowledging that you had a rotten day and sincerely explaining that you're sorry can be magical and healing.
Simply be mindful of your actions. That sounds much easier than the true reality, as we all know! There will be days that you need that helping hand to patch the leaks on your bucket; there will be different days where you need help replenishing the water in your bucket. There is no shame in turning to family and friends for help in recharging your heart and filling you back up with love. The only true sadness that I find in this situation is dealing with individuals who simply take and use eternally.
The answer is, suprisingly, if any or all of the above happen, consider it a blessing for that person and an opportunity for them to finally take responsibility for their own existence. It can be a harsh lesson to learn when your bucket is abandoned and runs dry and you're left standing there with no idea what to do next.
Sometimes your patch will hold strong and true. Other times you'll have to do it several times, just like allowing a wound to heal, before the patch finally holds. Most of us recognize the solid sense of satisfaction that is found in tending to our own buckets. We grow as individuals when we take these actions into our own hands, and over time, our buckets spring fewer and fewer leaks.
What began as a way to blow off some frustration about a relationship that I have identified as one that is no longer viable has shifted gears and journeyed to this matter of tending to your own bucket. I recognized today that this relationship has been a successive odyssey of me filling someone else's bucket that has a huge hole in the bottom as well as multiple leaks all around it. I recognized that I have been exhausting myself with this relationship and it is time to walk away and allow that proverbial bucket to run dry. Its owner will either learn to tend to it, or they will not.