Friday, March 23, 2012

to thine own self: part the second- the satisfaction cup theory

Happy Friday friends.

I meant to have this message up first thing this morning but, well life happened.

First off, a big thank you to all of you who have contacted me about my post "To Thine Own Self".  I have received more emails, facebook messages and phone calls about that post than anything else I have ever written.  All of you are thanking me for having written it, but the truth is, I need to be thanking you for all your feedback. It has been a long journey for me and it makes my heart sing that others can also benefit.

I wrote the basic bones of what I do in my life to stay the happiest possible.  There is more. I never intended to write "how to" guides on being happy. I feel like I am much more adept at writing about hot glue and paint, than self improvement. However, I also want to share the things that make my life better. I think we should all be a lot more forth coming with the things that could help other people.

So I'm writing today to share with you the theory of the "Satisfaction Cup".  My father came up with this theory some years ago. Our entire family has adopted it into our lives. It goes something like this:

Everyday you wake up with an empty cup to fill.  During the day, you will fill this cup with the things you do. Every person has a different recipe for what they need to fill their cups with in order to feel happy and satisfied by the end of the day. For example, I have learned that everyday, I need to have a few hours of productive work, a few hours of creativity, some quality time with my family, exercise, a little play and down time.  If I can fit all these things into my day, I go to bed tired and very happy.

Like I said before, everyone is different. My best friend needs a lot of play in her day to feel satisfied. Another friend needs a little service to others to be happy.  You might need reading time or religious worship or lot of time to sit and do nothing. You must get real with yourself and figure out what it is you need to feel satisfied at the end of the day.

Keep in mind that there are days that vary. For instance, if you go on vacation, your day will be very different. Sundays at my house are different from other days of the week. The satisfaction cup is a general application to your everyday routine.

You will know at the end of the day if your cup isn't full. The feeling is unmistakable. You feel hungry. Maybe literally hungry, maybe figuratively hungry. If I find myself snacking late at night it is most often because my cup didn't get filled for the day. I'm not really hungry for food, I'm just trying to satisfy. Sometimes I do other things at the end of the day like waste time on the internet shopping or channel surf on t.v.  Most often the things we do when our cups hasn't been filled are negative and unproductive.  Sometimes they are even destructive, like picking fights with people or gossiping.

Yesterday I filled my cup to overflowing. I got up and got the kids bathed and dressed. Took The Boy to school and then took the two babies to the doctor for check-ups (work). After the doctor we went to TJMaxx and I shopped for a birthday gift (play). Then we went home and we had a picnic outside for lunch (quality family time). Then I ran on the treadmill and did sit-ups (exercise). I cycled the wash, did a little work on the computer, did a general pick-up through my house and baked a cake for Frankie's birthday party tomorrow (work). I took The Boy to scouts and then I spent some time creating party hats and favours for the party (creativity). We had dinner together and studied spelling words and then it was time for pajamas and bed and then a little veg time holding the babies and watching kids shows (down time). At this point I was absolutely exhausted and I ended up falling asleep instead of writing this post. But it didn't matter because my cup was already full and I was satisfied.

Not everyday is this busy or this productive. But if I can squeeze in just enough of everything I need to feel happy and satisfied, in the evening I know that my overall outlook on life will be healthy and upbeat.

Everyday you empty the contents of your satisfaction cup into your "Life Satisfaction Cup". If this cup isn't kept full, you will start to feel the effects. You will have a searching feeling. You will feel unsatisfied with the life you are living. You will tend to focus on the negative things instead of the things that make you happy.

So here's what you need to do: 

First, identify what it is you personally need in each day to feel happy and productive. Be honest. I wish I could say that giving service was one of the things I need. Alas, it is not. Think about how your long term goals play into this.

Second, check yourself throughout your day to make sure you are managing your time so that you will be able to get in all the things you need.

Third, know that everyday is different and be flexible.  If you work like a dog one day, you might not need much work in the days that follow to feel satisfied.

As I said before, happiness is not an absolute. There are so many factors that happen in our lives that play into how we feel emotionally. But the point is to work on those things that we can control.

Working toward happiness is always much better than the alternative.

Next Friday I will share with you the last aspect of my own person happiness plan. I hope you find these things as pertinent as you did the concepts in the first post.

Now carpe the diem out of today!

Sharing pics of Frankie Valentine's second birthday on Monday!


Nancy Wyatt said...

Great follow up! Once again you said the right thing at the right time!!!

married with children said...

freaking "a"! once again you hit the nail on the head and now "this one" is my favorite post. you say it...perfectly! thanks! and HEY ~ i was gonna post something about points to happiness too...must be on a lot of people's minds.

elizabeth said...

I just may be printing this post out.
And I just may have had to leave my desk at work (shhh!!) and wipe the tears from my eyes, b/c these words hit so close to home right now that it's actually scary.

So again, thank you :)

jamie said...

This is so good...again...
Am now referring these to my friends who are struggling in these areas.
Thank you, April...once again...