Successful Anxiety Bites Group Therapy Workshop Graduate practicing yoga by a pond

Mom buns and Muscles

A photo shoot happened to be going on at my gym today. And not just any old photo shoot, but one involving humans with toned, chiseled, muscles who look like they could bench press a full-grown adult (and not break a sweat or ruin their perfect hair and makeup). I’m watching them pose, in different precariously placed bathing suits while I’m schlepping a kettle bell in my mom bun and sweaty (unflattering) gym shirt.

I notice that I start to scrutinize my own body at that point- picking out each piece that had changed since having children. I realize finally that it was affecting my own workout and energy (because comparison takes a lot of effort). It’s at times like this, that I force myself into a dialogue with…myself.

The Proverbial Cups

Let me back up a bit and lay the groundwork for how this conversation goes. I start out by picturing my life as a series of cups with different labels (work, money, family, relationships, hobbies, creative outlets, parenting, etc.) and one large jug filled with a certain amount of water.

Then I ask myself what cups are most important for me to “pour into” at this moment? I only have a finite amount of liquid and I’ve got to choose where I spend it and how much wisely.  Depending on the season of life, the cups will need to take on more or less to fit my own life goals, dreams, and priorities. Because of this, I need to take a look (often) at what I want to prioritize (or fill first and most) in my life.

So I ask “Do you want to take the water out of another cup to more fully fill up the exercise cup?” and the answer I got back was a resounding “no”. At this point I’m unwilling to take any water out of my other cups, and I’m comfortable with my exercise cup -fully aware that at this rate I won’t be sporting 6 pack abs (that’s ok). What I’m putting in works for me right now and honors my current priorities and goals ( who knows, maybe in 10 years I’ll decide that competitive body building is a dream of mine 😉).

Dreams and Priorities

So my challenge is for you to do the same and  give your life a little assessment by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What are my current “cups” and on average how much am I filling each one?
  2. Am I pouring too much or too little of that precious water into any particular cup?
  3. Are my goals and priorities lined up with the energy I’m spending?
  4. Is it time to rearrange the cups?

Change is a funny process, and sometimes we don’t even know what we want until we spend some time checking in with ourselves without judgment or expectation. I hope that the next time you start to get anxious about not being “enough”, that you remember we ALL have a shit ton of cups and only so much “water” in which to fill them.  Filling them all is impossible, so the next best thing is to make choices that speak to your unique, authentic self.

Yasmine Binghalib is a Relationship Specialist and Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in private practice in Placerville, California. You can learn more about her and the services she offers by going to

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