The Man Who Gave Away Everything

You cannot pour from an empty cup. This saying basically means that in order to effectively take care of others you have to take care of yourself first. If you are the sort of person who is always giving, who is always being there for others, who is constantly on the go; this saying is directly speaking to you. Nothing is as effective as coming through for others in form of love, care, kindness, and so on when you are coming from the same position yourself. You can only pour from an overflow or abundance that is yours.


This reminds of an episode I watched on Fargo; an American comedy crime drama television series. It is the story of a rich man who was reading the newspaper one day, some of the stories in the newspaper provoked sadness within him; they were stories of people who lived in abject poverty and as a result went through endless miseries. So he thought to himself “what can I do to rescue these poor people from their plight?” He then said to himself “I have all this money, I can use it to change the lives and poor living conditions of these people.” So he gave away all his money and people applauded for his selflessness.


Soon after, the rich man realized that the money he gave was not enough to completely bring about the change he hoped to see. He noticed that a whole lot of people were still suffering from poverty. One day he read another article from the newspaper of people in need of organ donors and it hit him that he was foolish to think that money alone can solve people’s problems. So he went to the hospital and said to the doctors that he wants to donate one of his kidneys. The doctors were happy and commended him for his selflessness; and so the surgery was successfully done and one of his kidneys removed.

After regaining full consciousness from the surgery, the rich man knows he should feel good but he doesn’t, people are still suffering. So he goes back to the doctor and he says, “Doctor this time I want to give it all.” The doctor is somehow perplexed and he asks “what do you mean you want to give it all?” And he says, “This time I want to donate my liver, but not just my liver, I want to donate my heart, but not just my heart, I want to donate my eyes, but not just my eyes, I want to give it all away, everything that I have, all that I am, I want to give it all away.” The doctor says, “Donating your kidneys is one thing, but you can’t give away your whole body piece by piece, that would be suicide.” So the doctors turned him down on this offer. So he went home feeling completely miserable in the knowledge that people were suffering and he couldn’t help. But then he thought he had one last thing which he could offer to alleviate suffering from the world, the only thing he had left- his life. And so he killed himself only so that his organs could be donated.

I know somebody somewhere is probably asking, did his plan work, did he save the world? And my answer to that question is, at the time of reading this article, when you look around you, do you still see suffering in the world? Well, there goes your answer.

How many of us are like the rich man; trying to fix everything yet we are broken ourselves. Moral of the story here is, fix yourself first before trying to fix somebody else, better yet you can’t save everybody, no one can, just do your best with the much you can and be satisfied in the knowledge that you’ve played your part to the best of your ability. Don’t go insane trying to prove a point. Exercising self-care and self-love is just as important. Look out for yourself and your well-being first before going out there to play hero. Always remind yourself, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

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