A couple of Sundays ago in church the message we received for the day was about “Buckets of Blessings”. The topic was based on the book, How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.
A brief overview of the premise of the book is that everyone inside of them has an invisible bucket. When we are filled with love, joy, gratitude, happiness, etc., our buckets are full and overflowing. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, when we are feeling angry, sad, bitter, unforgiving, etc. our buckets are very low if not completely depleted. And whether our buckets are full or empty, we project the contents of our buckets to others through our words and actions.
Now, the other part to this topic of having invisible internal buckets is that we each are also equipped with dippers, which would resemble a ladle. As we share love, kind words, encouragement, support, a smile, a laugh and compassion with others, we are filling their buckets, even if they have not been filling their own buckets. Yet, when we judge, condemn, refuse to forgive, hold anger and bitterness in our hearts towards others, we are dipping into their buckets and taking away their supply of good. But the most powerful lesson of all is that as we give or take away from someone else’s bucket, we do the same to our own supply. So the question we were left with was “Are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?” We were then each handed a miniature sized bucket that had someone’s name written on a piece of paper inside and throughout the week we were to be bucket fillers by sending positive and well-meaning intentions and energy to the names on those slips of paper.
In my own experience from doing the exercise, it felt good to feel my own energy level rise as a result of doing something good for someone else….even something as simple as sending positive thoughts. So my question to you as it was placed to me, are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?
If you are striving to be a bucket FILLER, here are five strategies that were shared with us on how to keep your buckets and others’ buckets overflowing:
1. Prevent Bucket Dipping
(So avoid negative thoughts, words, energy and actions as much as possible. It isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you step back and observe yourself more closely. By doing this you will quickly recognize if you’re dippin’)
2. Shine a Light on What is Right
(Love and praise all that is good and keep your comments to yourself when someone makes a mistake. For those of us who are parents, we strive to practice this daily by encouraging and being coaches to our kids and praising them for their good instead of condemning them for what they do wrong. If you absolutely HAVE to shine light on a mistake, choose your words carefully and correct with love)
3. Make Best Friends
(Value the people who come into your life for everyone comes into your life for a reason or a season. Appreciate and honor them and take the time to foster a friendship with them as when done in love, friendships are mutually beneficial)
4. Give Unexpectedly
(Do something nice for someone that isn’t expected. Treat a co-worker to lunch, iron your husband’s shirts, watch your neighbor’s kids for a couple of hours so they can go on a date. All of these and so many others are little things that can mean so much to someone else. And in doing something from the heart that is unexpected, it makes you feel great!)
5. Reverse the Golden Rule
(The Golden Rule states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, which deals with reciprocity and the idea that so as you give, so you receive. But why not give without expecting anything in return? Why not give of yourself freely and joyfully to others without expectation of them returning the favor? How freeing would it be to do a favor for someone without expecting them to “owe you back”, or giving a few dollars to a homeless man on the street without questioning whether or not he keeps his word to you and really uses it for the food he says he’s hungry for or if he uses it for something else? Think of how good it will feel to do something good from the heart just because)
I encourage everyone as we travel through this midlife celebration to think of ways we can be bucket fillers instead of dippers. Bless others with the gift of who you are authentically and your bucket will constantly runneth over.