Health and Wellbeing

The Love Cup.

November 28, 2014

love cup

The title of this piece refers neither to a glass of wine nor my favourite bra. As much as I love both of those cups,  I’m going somewhere a little bit deeper today.

Imagine yourself as having a cup inside your chest. It probably sits about where your heart is but we’re not going to squabble about the actual visceral space and proximity of our imaginary vessels.

I like to think of this vessel as a love cup.

It may look similar to the silver bowl I received at my birth from some family we can no longer recall, or it may look like a golden, jewelled goblet.

Or it may look like one of those wacky novelty cups with flashing lights and a penis straw, let’s not get caught up on the details.

Sometimes, when I spend time with certain people I feel like my love cup has been depleted. You know these people to which I refer.

You’re friends, sure, but for some reason you can’t quite put your finger on when you say your final goodbyes after spending time with them and you walk away you feel less buoyant than when you arrived. You feel a little flat. You feel a little empty. You feel a little –

sucked. dry.

You may have been friends with this person for a million years, or you may have only just met, but this depleted feeling you feel makes you feel a tad beige.

They are sipping from your love cup.

Slaking their thirst on the juice of your heart, and that’s ok, as long as you know and you only allow them to drink so much.

Other times, I spend time with people and I feel like my love cup has been replenished. You know these people too.

The conversations may not be that different. You talk about what you’ve been up to and THE STUFF that is life and love but there is something inexplicable about this person in your life.

They fill your love cup.

When you’re with them it’s like a ray of golden sun is shining down and whether you are crying or laughing is irrelevant, because just by being in the proximity of this person you are being replenished.

When you say your final goodbyes and you walk away from them you feel light, and energised. You feel happy for just having spent time with them. You feel like whatever issues you discuss are lighter for having shared them, and maybe you even had a hug.

Love cup to love cup, beaming straight into each others hearts.

I’ve talked to a number of people about the love cup recently and when I tell them my analogy they invariably say –


Lately I’ve had to really look after my cup.

My cup is looking a little battered and tarnished and I’ve realised that I don’t have enough banked in my cup to spend time with people that don’t fill it up.

While writing this I took the tarnished silver bowl/cup thing with my name on the side out into the late afternoon sun and I polished it gently with toothpaste. The very act of doing so was a silent, minty, ritual to honour my cup.

I am only spending time with people that fill my love cup for a while.

I need to fill that vessel ten times over and let the love overflow for a bit because I don’t want my cup to run low any more.

the love cup

But we should all do this, shouldn’t we?  It just makes sense. Why would you hang out with someone that makes you feel bad?

Our lives are so busy and our time is so precious, why on Earth would we spend time with people that make us feel less than awesome?

How is your love cup, and the people that you share it with?

Is it time for a stocktake?


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  • Reply Genie November 28, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Why can’t there be a bottomless love cup?

    There are people in my life who I dread hearing from. Because every time I do it’s because they have a favour to ask me. I do love helping people, but it has to go both ways. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I don’t usually ask for favours unless I’m 99% sure the answer will be yes. Like, I only ask favours to people that either owe me a favour or two or they really wouldn’t see it as a favour.

  • Reply Carly Findlay November 28, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Yes! This!
    I found myself in a bitch session recently and I came out so drained. It’s a reminder to surround myself with positive people and discuss amazing things.
    Gosh I love you and your blog x

  • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel November 28, 2014 at 8:17 am

    You need to have love cups complete with penis straws in the Holsby Shop. I’d take a neat doz. the older I get the less tolerance I have for love cup depleters. And magically, love cup replenishers seem to be filling that void. You get what you ask the universe for – and what you are prepared to give – don’t you think? xx

    PS You make my love cup overfloweth.

  • Reply Zanni Louise November 28, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Gosh I so relate to this. For the first time in my life, this year I have cut off from those energy drainers. I have actively avoided them. And I have done this not just for myself but for my daughter. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to hang out with people/kids who treat her badly. We both put up with a lot of crap from people, but you know what? I am done with that. I am sick of being the eternal good friend to all people, and then being left with nothing for myself. This is the year I have taken back, and I am happy with that.

  • Reply Champagne Gillian November 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for this, amazing words. I found myself very depleted a little while ago and distanced myself from someone. I feel so much lighter for it.

  • Reply San November 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Accentuate the positives….delete the negatives… life’s too short. YEP, we went thru that…. still are…. I think it’s an ongoing process. Some friends are for a season, some for a reason and some for a lifetime.
    We like to think we’re ‘love cup fillers’ but then I guess that’d be in your opinion!! So, if’n we get a chance to catch up? t’would be luvly. Yo’ Mama knows where we live :o)

  • Reply Glen November 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Great post Danielle….and a sore point.You are not alone, we all struggle with this. The first warning sign is that some dudes talk about themselves the entire time and don’t ask you how you are, what you think, nor do they listen when you speak, because they aren’t interested. They are just waiting for you to finish, so they can continue.”That’s enough about me, what do you think about me?” syndrome.

    We went through many many years of this. A rotation of friends would usually invite themselves, drag their unhappy souls in and skip home, leaving us drained and suffering from compassion fatigue, and lots of bloody dishes!! We were rarely, if ever, invited to their houses. It was mostly one way. I grew to resent it. It’s not quality time if you’re not getting anything out of it. Give and take, not just take….and our animals are not open for criticism, it is their home,….don’t like our beautiful girls, easy, don’t come.

    We’ve more than contributed, so now we choose with whom we want to spend our valuable time, and there is a time limit on “the others”. Then home!! The up side of this is of course, is I have trained my mind to look at things differently, rarely get angst, and trust my intuition. I got it, and I know you get it.The gems that are our genuine friends are pure gold, and we have an absolute hoot!! The time goes way too fast, and your sides hurt from laughing, and you think about them with love and affection often. They fill your cup with soul food.

  • Reply Jenny December 1, 2014 at 8:41 am

    We have just had 4 days of cup drainers staying with us and were left empty both emotionally and financially. So your post was a timely reminder for me and also an explainer for my partner that we do not have to be all things to all people and friendship should always be a two way relationship. We have already started to plan how we can avoid this happening again when they stay with us for a few days on their way home. Great post with perfect timing as we all enter the crazy season that is Christmas.

    • Reply Danielle December 1, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Oh wow, they’re coming back??? Yes, you need a plan. Or a go on a holiday!

  • Reply Nicole- Champagne and Chips December 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I seem to attract slurpers, or am attracted to them. My partner constantly refers to my ability to pick up waifs and strays. Sometimes I rehabilitate them, as with my partner and the glorious Ted, but often they just become slurpers. In the past few years I have recognised this tendency of mine and tried not to hand out so many straws to the slurpers but it is a difficult habit to break. At the same time I have developed some fledgling friendships with some beautiful generous souls so at least there is some cup topping-up going on as well.
    Such a beautiful post x

    • Reply Danielle December 7, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Yes!!! I’m a waif and strayer too. Keep your straws under lock and key, my dear. They are precious x

  • Reply Nina December 19, 2014 at 2:37 am

    My son read a book that had a similar analogy, except he calls it his ‘bucket.’ I think his teacher taught them about that. So from time to time, he’ll say ‘Mama you filled my bucket,’ or ‘so-and-so at school filled my bucket’ or ‘I filled someone’s bucket today.’

    It’s so true. We’re more mindful of how we act towards others when we think this way. Are we filling buckets, or are we dipping into buckets?

    And certainly, not spending time with those who dip into our buckets is a waste of time. I too am trying to set boundaries, and being very clear about that from the get go. No passive-aggressiveness anymore. Sometimes I wonder though about people you *can’t* avoid, or it would be too much of a social faux pas to pass up their invitations. What then? Advice?

    • Reply Danielle December 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

      I think obligation is highly over rated, Nina. I try to work on ‘if in doubt, blow it out’ with social events. Time is so precious, organising the family to go somewhere or organising time away for something that is going to suck the life out of me? Forget it.
      Obviously, sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do….

  • Reply Is it bad if I don't live for my family? June 26, 2015 at 7:34 am

    […] time with people that fill our love cup, partaking in pursuits that fulfil and inspire […]

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