You have heard of the cup that overflowed. This is a story of a bucket that
is like the cup, only larger, it is an invisible bucket. Everyone has one.
It determines how we feel about ourselves, about others, and how we get
along with people. Have you ever experienced a series of very favorable
things which made you want to be good to people for a week? At that time,
your bucket was full.
A bucket can be filled by a lot of things that happen. When a person speaks
to you, recognizing you as a human being, your bucket is filled a little.
Even more if he calls you by name, especially if it is the name you like
to be called. If he compliments you on your dress or on a job well done,
the level in your bucket goes up still higher. There must be a million ways
to raise the level in another's bucket. Writing a friendly letter,
remembering something that is special to him, knowing the names of his
children, expressing sympathy for his loss, giving him a hand when his work
is heavy, taking time for conversation, or, perhaps more important, listing
When one's bucket is full of this emotional support, one can express warmth
and friendliness to people. But, remember, this is a theory about a bucket
and a dipper. Other people have dippers and they can get their dippers in
your bucket. This, too, can be done in a million ways.
Lets say I am at a dinner and inadvertently upset a glass of thick, sticky
chocolate milk that spills over the table cloth, on a lady's skirt, down
onto the carpet. I am embarrassed. "Bright Eyes" across the table says,
"You upset that glass of chocolate milk." I made a mistake, I know I did,
and then he told me about it! He got his dipper in my bucket! Think of the
times a person makes a mistake, feels terrible about it, only to have
someone tell him about the known mistake ("Red pencil" mentality!)
Buckets are filled and buckets are emptied
? emptied many times because
people don't really think about what are doing. When a person's bucket is
emptied, he is very different than when it is full. You say to a person
whose bucket is empty, "That is a pretty tie you have," and he may reply in
a very irritated, defensive manner.
Although there is a limit to such an analogy, there are people who seem to
have holes in their buckets. When a person has a hole in his bucket, he
irritates lots of people by trying to get his dipper in their buckets. This
is when he really needs somebody to pour it in his bucket because he keeps
The story of our lives is the interplay of the bucket and the dipper.
Everyone has both. The unyielding secret of the bucket and the dipper is
that when you fill another's bucket it does not take anything out of your
own bucket. The level in our own bucket gets higher when we fill another's,
and, on the other hand, when we dip into another's bucket we do not fill
our own ... we lose a little.
For a variety of reasons, people hesitate filling the bucket of another and
consequently do not experience the fun, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and
satisfaction connected with making another person happy. Some reasons for
this hesitancy are that people think it sounds "fakey," or the other person
will be suspicious of the motive, or it is "brown-nosing."
Therefore, let us put aside our dipper and resolve to touch someone's life
in order to fill their bucket.