Imagine walking down the street, minding your own business when someone comes out of the blue and crashes into you, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Now…Why did you spill the coffee?

The obvious answer is that you spilled your coffee because someone crashed into you.

While it may make perfect sense to blame the person who crashed into you, allow me to suggest another answer.

You spilled your coffee quite simply because there was coffee in your cup.

If you had filled your cup with tea, you would have spilled tea, right?

Instead of focusing on the person who crashed into you, let’s instead focus on what is inside your cup.

Whatever is inside your cup is what will spill out

In the same way, when life comes along and crashes into you, causing you to lose balance and maybe even fall; whatever is inside you will come out.

Remember the last time you got angry.  For most of us, it wasn’t that long ago. Try to recall your anger and what instigated your frustration or pushed us to become intolerant, annoyed or aggravated. Let’s reflect on that for a minute.

It’s easy to believe that we are calm or peaceful, and fully in control of our emotions until our character is tested.

Samuel L Jackson asks on TV commercials for Capital One Bank… “What’s in your wallet?”

Now is the time to ask yourself… “What’s in my cup?”

When life crashes into you, what spills out?

Is it love, kindness and patience?

Is it joy, gratitude or humility?

Is it peace, understanding and tolerance?

Or is it anger, bitterness, and harsh words unleashed by a quick temper?

Perhaps it’s shame or embarrassment that leads us to speak defensively.

Maybe it’s impatience that stops us from listening and caring fully.

Or selfishness that closes us off from seeing another person’s different perspective?

Your life is the cup, Only YOU can choose how to fill it.

Every thought we think or allow into our consciousness, be it positive or negative, fills our cup.

Every word we speak, be it words that bring happiness or words that cause pain, fills our cup.

Every action we take, from the smallest kindness to walking past someone in need, fills our cup.

It’s easy to blame our spills on others.  This is how a child responds to challenge. But we cannot blame on others, what we have poured into our cups.

What we are challenged to do is to open our hearts and minds to seeing, speaking and doing good, and to remove ourselves from influences, attitudes and actions that lead us to seeing the worst in ourselves and others.

Welcome the moments when life crashes into you.

Be prepared to be tested and know that you will often fail.

Try to find equal joy in your failings as much as your successes. Both are teachers in equal measure.

Be mindful that what spills out of your cup, often spills onto others: sometimes leaving stains that can never be washed away. This is when we must be willing to ask forgiveness.

We alone are responsible for filling our cup.

When life crashes into you, the question that each of us must answer is:

What will spill from your cup?

Author: Patrick Goodness