The first post I wanted to make is a post on keeping your bucket full. If you don't know what a bucket is, it is more than just an instrument for holding water or other such things. The bucket I am referring to is a metaphorical bucket. It's a bucket that is there to measure your happiness. If you are extremely happy and you feel that you have all that you need, you can be said to have an extremely full bucket.
If on the other hand you feel that you have nothing left to give, you could be said to have an extremely empty bucket. I like this metaphor best when it comes to talking about the current state of happiness that one may have because it is probably one of the easiest concepts to immediately understand. I also feel it is incredibly versatile. In less than five seconds, I can tell someone what it means when I refer to having a full bucket and they get it.
I like it. However, I do not like when my bucket is empty and life has a very funny way of trying to take a lot of water out of your bucket on a very consistent basis. Do you pay taxes? That'll take some water out. Did your family member yell at you today? There goes some more water! Whatever it is, life has a way of siphoning it out at an alarming rate. How then do we go about managing the amount of water that we have in our bucket?
Some people I know live by the work hard play hard rule. Play harder than you work and your bucket will never empty, they say! That however is not always possible. Sometimes your plate can get so full that you don't have the option to play harder than you work. The holidays are a great example of this. Between shopping, working overtime, dealing with your least likable family members, and the probability of adding another notch on your belt, the holidays can be stressful! The water just evaporates at a rate that is unheard of at other time of the year.
What then do you do? I have found personally that the best course of action is to stop and take a deep look inside of yourself. Life isn't going to stop or slow down just because you really need it to. The hits will keep coming and coming. It's really one of the only guarantees that we have! If you look inside however to the things that we all say to ourselves when these things happen, we will all likely realize that we are thinking the wrong type of thoughts. I know I'm guilty of it.
"Ugh, there's just too much to do and too little time. I might as well give up."
"I can't stand my step-brother. His addict behavior just drives me insane."
"I hate when you do that."
These are just some example phrases that come to mind. Each one of these is more self defeating than the last and they assist the world in beating us all down. With enough rework of these phrases however, we can change a weapon of the world against itself. If instead of the previous statements we use these instead:
"Is there a smarter way of attacking this workload?"
"I feel sorry that my step-brother is battling addiction. What can I do to better his circumstances?"
"I hate when you do that but I love that you do that other thing."
-we can turn the world upon itself. A simple change in attacking problems can be all the change that is needed to give our happiness a fighting chance. It's amazing what a little change in thinking can do for overall morale. This is what I myself will aim to do better this year as I myself have used the previous statements in my life. Maybe, just maybe we these changes and more, there can be more water in the bucket at all times.
**Picture above is of a sand trooper that my wife got me. Long story short, I lost one as a child when I tried to hide it between a mattress on top of a car as a kid... but my wife surprised me by buying a new one for me all but twenty years later in life. These are other things that help fill the bucket.