My elementary school principal used to tell us to be “bucket fillers.” She’d explain that everyone had a metaphorical bucket, and we should try to fill each other’s buckets with things like kindness and encouragement rather than spilling, dumping, or emptying them.
I had no idea what the heck she meant, and frankly, my twelve-year-old self thought it was a stupid statement. As twelve-year-olds do.
Looking back, it was a pretty solid theory. I’m all for empathy and treating each other with kindness, but it’s equally as important to consider our own buckets. We’re responsible for those first and foremost. When it comes to energy, we only have so much. Each day we have to choose what to put that energy toward.
We can give our energy away. Let’s face it, some things are energy graveyards. Dramatic friends, never ending diets, social media, jobs we don’t like, and people pleasing completely empty our buckets.
Alternatively, we can invest our energy by dedicating it to things that offer an energy return. Good food, movement, enjoyable careers, strong friendships, hobbies, whatever it is that energizes you.
Take inventory of your energy. Are the things, the people, and the activities you’re investing in also filling your bucket? Or are you giving your energy away without receiving a return on your investment? Keep your bucket full.