Self-Responsibility; Taking Charge of What’s In Your Cup

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We’d just finished eating dinner and were sitting around the table.

Sometimes they come over to me in the playground and they say that I’m stupid, he said to me quietly. He was fiddling with his hands and looking quite upset.

That’s hard, I tell him. When people behave like that it can be hard to deal with, you’re allowed to be upset. It doesn’t mean it’s true though. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be like them, I continue. You can just walk away.

Think of it this way. I pull three of the empty glasses towards me that are sitting on the table.

If this glass is full of milk, and you knock it so that some spills over the side, what comes out? I ask him.

Milk, he says.


And if this one is full of water and I knock it over, what comes out?

Water, he says. Right, I say.

And if this one if full of Orange Juice and I bump it, what comes out?

Orange juice.

Right. So what spills over is only ever what’s on the inside. You can’t knock the glass with water in it and have milk come out. Just like, you can’t accidentally spill the glass with orange juice and have milk come out.

People are the same. What they do and what they say is not so much about you as it is what they are feeling, or “full of” on the inside. If they say those things to you, you can remind yourself that what’s coming out is what is in their cup. You get to decide what your cup is going to be full of.


I’d had the idea to write a blog on self-responsibility for a few days now, but every time I sat down to write it, it wasn’t coming together. It was dull, uninteresting, righteous. It felt like a lecture in how to behave given from the podium, rather than an exploration of what truly self-responsibility is; a liberation.

When it comes to my coaching work, my own work with my horses and the way that try to navigate the world, I always try to assess what my part is in what I am experiencing. Self-responsibility is always the start point.

The sooner that you let go of the excuses; the sooner you stop blaming other people, horses or things for your experiences; the sooner you embrace the fact that your power to affect change and to create what you want as opposed to just experience what may appear to be a sequence of random events and circumstances we call life…

 …the sooner you step into the driving seat and begin to exert influence over the only thing in life that you can truly control; your attitude, your responses and the choices you make.

In other words, you get to choose what’s in your cup.

When I began to apply this thought process to my life and riding, things took on a whole new meaning.

Deciding what’s in your cup means that you anchor yourself in your intention. It means looking to yourself in each and every moment to decide how you want to proceed. It doesn’t mean that everything will always go to plan, but it does mean that you are involved in a dynamic process of introspection that allows you- or at least calls you- to stay in alignment with your values and your aspirations.

What could be more liberating than that.

“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing your best in this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment” ~ Oprah Winfrey

xx Jane

3 thoughts on “Self-Responsibility; Taking Charge of What’s In Your Cup

  1. Nice one. I always told students at school who were upset with what someone had done to leave what comes out of the other person on the floor and think about it before ‘picking and of it up’ or indeed leaving it all down there on the floor. I like your ‘fill your own glass’ analogy. I wonder why this gets knocked out of so many people.

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