Stop Expecting Other People To Fill Your Cup

Whether it’s considered half empty or half full, the only person responsible for filling it is you.

Unsplash by Braden Barwich

Society is so twisted. For a number of decades things have been moving in the direction of external validation — so much so that some even act in a way that suggests it’s a necessity. By external validation I don’t mean the ticket stand in a parking garage, I mean validation from anyone or anything other than yourself.

History made such a seamless transition from one perspective to the other in that it allows us to feel as if whatever we tell ourselves isn’t enough. We have even gone to the extent as to post selfies on social media with a caption that screams “fishing for compliments” and then will argue every comment that offers one afterwards. Essentially, we reject the compliments we give to ourselves, yet argue the ones we receive from others.

One of the most valuable things that we have to offer ourselves is our own acceptance. That being said, the least valuable characteristic of one’s self is the number of people who have made the effort to tell you they accept you. Furthermore, if a person doesn’t act in a way or speak to us in a way that supports this theory, then we assume they don’t care about us at all.

The only validation that you need is from yourself. You are the only person who knows what you need to hear and the only individual who knows enough about yourself to decide whether or not it was meant when it was said. The other side of this coin is that when you cannot find the acceptance of you, you will never be able to give others a reason as to why they should.

In my previous relationships, I lost who I was and I will be the first to admit that because I know it to be true more than anyone else in this world. Because of that, I also knew that if (when) that relationship ended, I would be in dire need of quality time with myself in order to figure out who the person was that I was going to be stuck living with when he moved out (aka myself — whoever that was).

So when that relationship came to a head, I knew it was time to do some soul searching. I spent boat loads of time with other people before I mustered the courage to force myself to be alone long enough for it to quit feeling lonely. I found out more about myself in those few months than I had in the few years leading up to it. When I was given back all of the decision-making power of every moment in my life, something in me shifted. I was deciding to do all of the things that I had put off to the point of incompletion for so long before then and it felt good to start saying yes.

When my ex and I broke up, I wrote 6 things on my bathroom mirror:

You are kind.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

You are worthy.

You are strong.

You are important.

Every morning when I woke up and went in the bathroom, I would recite each out loud. I’d be lying if I said I meant it the first dozen or so times I said it, but I’d be even more dishonest if I told you I refused to believe the opposite shortly after. These were all of the things my previous partners had challenged and by making my opinion the most important one in my life, every unkind thing said after that point began to fall on deaf ears. I knew who I was; therefore, any compliments, props, kudos, brownie points, praise, or whatever else you want to call it, just became a plus.

The most unexpected moment of cognizance happened when I began putting myself out there again…and not just in the world of dating. I was open to friendships, casual conversation, professional mentoring, a convenient hookup — really anything at that point — and it wasn’t that my morale had been compromised or I no longer cared, but quite the opposite actually.

When I made the effort to ‘fill my cup,’ I became eager to share the contents of it with others. I made it a point to use positivity, mindfulness, and kindness as the main ingredients in discovering and creating Madison 2.0. It was as if I began to sympathize for the people who had walked out before they knew all that was waiting and began to empathize with myself in that I never cared enough to commit to myself sooner. For the first time in my life, I felt as if a person would be genuinely missing out if they were unwilling to give me the time for even small talk.

I think many of us have had opportunities to make this fundamental shift in our lives, but most of us choose not to because we would rather have someone else be the author of our book. Stop running to other people when the only person you need to hear it from is yourself. When did it become every one else’s responsibility to tell you you’re great every day? It is not your significant other’s job to tell you you’re worthy and it’s not your friend’s job to tell you you’re pretty. It’s not your boss’s responsibility to give kudos for the bare minimum and it’s not the internet’s responsibility to validate or invalidate your caption. You have a mind that is waiting to be empowered. Empower it.

Written by

Writer. Poet. Philomath. Dog Mom. Traveler. Creator. Wanderer. Teacher. Empath. Author of “Unapologetically Human” - available on Amazon

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