Friday, March 9, 2012

Filling & Emptying Buckets

Recently, OCDiva's teacher read a story to the class called, “How Full Is Your Bucket?”. The basic premise was that we each go around with an invisible bucket, when we say/do good things to or for someone else, we are “filling their bucket” and our own "bucket". But when we are negative or unkind, we are “dipping” or emptying the “buckets”. It was meant as a lesson on bullying and how we should lift people up, not tear them down. It made me start thinking about how sometimes someone says something that might not seem like a big deal, but it bothers us. We dwell on it and become more upset as the day goes on. The comment could be from anyone about anything.

Maybe it was your Darling Husband, “Honey, I’m glad you found the time to color your hair.” (Is he trying to say I look old?)

Maybe it was one of your kids, “Mom, it’s so great when you actually make dinner.” (Will they turn into substance abusers because I made Bertolli Pasta instead of spaghetti sauce from scratch?)

Maybe it was an Aunt, “It’s so nice that you were able to hire a sitter so you can go to a spa.” (Does she think I’m neglecting my kids?)

Maybe it was a friend, “Oh, I guess you’ve just been too busy to clean this month (as they survey your messy living room when they stop in unexpectedly).” (What do they mean “this month”; my kids can achieve this level of destruction before lunch?)

Maybe it was an overheard stranger, “Uggs are so ugly!” (Didn’t they notice I am wearing Uggs?)

Maybe it was a celebrity fashion stylist, “It’s so sloppy when people wear workout clothing every day, especially when they never work out.” (But they're comfortable, doesn’t carrying $500 worth of groceries in the house and putting it all away count as a workout?)

I always wondered why we sometimes dwell on comments like those. Some are innocuous, some are not. After hearing about the story OCDiva's teacher read and the “bucket filling” exercise the class engaged in after the story, I think I know "why". Comments like that make a "dip" in our “buckets”.  Too many "dips", and eventually your “bucket” is empty, and no matter how much self esteem you have, it's hard to feel good when your "bucket" is empty. 

I am going to challenge myself to try to fill the “buckets” of those around me every day, which will in turn fill my “bucket”.  

So who emptied your “bucket” today? What are you going to do to fill someone else’s “bucket”?


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  2. :) This is an awesome post and totally agree with it!!

    My "Bucket" Was filled today when I was on the bus with my friend and our two boys. My son dropped his blanket on the ground and he threw a fit when I picked it up. I was telling my son to say please and ask nicely for his blankie back before I would give it to him.

    I was also explaining to my friend that he always says his manners all the time at home and I will keep at it til he is polite and uses his manners. As the bus stops I go down to his level and start talking to him to say please, when a random lady who was sitting near my friend came over and touched my shoulder. While doing so she said "Keep up the good work with him and his manners and he will turn out just fine, You are doing a great job!" & Hopped off the bus.

    Seriously I have major self-esteem issues about my parenting and that lady took two minutes out of her day to stop and compliment my parenting styles was the nicest thing I have ever seen! She will never know how much better she had made my day just by saying those few words!!

    THanks for the wonderful read and great inspirational idea!!

    :) Bethy "Betty Boop"

  3. I love this challenge. I'm going to try thinking of it in these terms and filling buckets myself, too.

    It's too early for any dips to have been taken out of my bucket yet today. The most recurrent one I get, though, is when eating at a restaurant (with Li'l D) with too much gusto. Waifs near me will say things like, "I guess they can't all be thin like us."

    Perhaps there are other things not-them people would prefer to be first. :)