Filling My Bucket


“You fill a bucket drop by drop. You clear your mind thought by thought. You heal yourself moment by moment. Today I make one drop, clear one thought, and get present to one moment. And then I do it again.”

~Lisa Wimberger



I first heard about bucket filling 5 years ago, when I was working in a new school district.  I was visiting a school, and saw posters talking about ‘Filling Buckets’.  I was intrigued and asked the principal what all this bucket filling was about.





She proudly explained that it was a new program to promote character building, better social skills and relationships in the school community….with parents, teachers and students.  I asked how it worked and here is a bit of an explanation…..


It is based on the premise of the cup that overflowed, but instead we all have an invisible bucket that determines how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel about and get along with others.  When we feel good about ourselves, and things seem to be going well, our bucket is said to be full.


Many things can fill a bucket; from a smile, to a kind word or DSCN4696deed.  Just the simplest things can add drops to our buckets giving us emotional support and kindness….filling us with feelings of joy and happiness and self-worth.  And when our bucket is full, we tend to want to act kindly toward others adding to their buckets….which then keeps our buckets full.


Of course there is another side to all this.  Sometimes we use our dippers, and take from people’s buckets with unkind words and deeds.  It can be the smallest of words or acts such as bringing light to someone’s mistakes through criticism or sarcasm.  And when we empty someone’s bucket, we then spread the unkind words and deeds because people with empty buckets feel bad about themselves and spread those unfriendly feelings.  Using our dipper has another downside, for when we empty someone’s bucket, we empty ours too.





Now all this may sound like something just for children, but the premise is a good one for all of us, regardless of the analogy we use.  I rather like the visual of bucket filling as it is easy to understand and visualize.  So I thought about this concept of bucket filling as I have contemplated empathy and self-compassion this month.



In order to further our efforts at self-compassion and self-love, we must refill our own buckets often.  And I have been thinking about what I am doing to keep my bucket full, while filling the buckets of others at the same time.



DSCN4709I find making sure I have enough sleep, getting daily exercise and eating good foods that are good for me all go a long way to keeping my bucket full.  Taking time for rest, meditating, and spending time in nature also add to my bucket… well as participating in activities I love, spending time with people I love, expressing gratitude, laughing and doing little things for others.  The possibilities are endless, and grow exponentially once you start.



And when I am feeling down or miserable, and am not sure why, I think of my bucket, and pick one thing to do that will plug the hole in that bucket.  It really is amazing how quickly that bucket fills again.  For me the bucket is a symbol of my connection to my soul or true self.  When the connection is weak I am disconnected (bucket empty), but when I feel connected to my true self (bucket full), I find my inner happiness again.  So I think I will keep working on filling my bucket…how about you?




bucket collage (1)

How do you fill your bucket and the buckets of others?







Special Note:  The pictures here are of my meadow.  The ox-eye daisies and lupines grow from May through June.  I picked them and put them in a flower bucket.  Filling this bucket brought me such joy!




I leave you with a few additional words on bucket filling.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

bucket filling

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

10 Replies to “Filling My Bucket”

  1. Such a beautiful concept. So glad people are teaching things like this to our young people. Thank you for passing it on to me.

  2. thought-full post Donna. I fill my bucket with thanks because ingratitude is the fastest way I empty it. So thank you for all your visits and comments – I know its a busy season with that lovely meadow and garden plans and plants to tend. Glad to see you taking time out to tend yourself too.

  3. What a lovely way to think about this. I think many women have been taught that filling our own buckets is “selfish” — when, in fact, making ourselves happy is a prerequisite for making others happy. Thanks for sharing this concept.

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