In our culture of overstimulation, it has become popular to think about the notion of self-care. I do agree that an empty cup cannot quench thirst, but the problem I have is this idea that we can fill our own cup.
I think the idea behind self-care is to put something bigger than yourself in front of you long enough to distract yourself from whatever it is that is provoking stress/negativity. Although it is healthy to take a moment from your triggers, simply doing something else will not make the problem go away. It might help you with perspective, calm you down, create more space to balance your emotions, but it will absolutely never create resolve.
The care our souls really thirst after, can only be found and unlocked by the transformation and redemption of something greater than we are. Self-care is a hypersensitivity to ourselves, and we are warned about looking at ourselves too closely because it leads to egotism and to self-centeredness. Self-centeredness will never please God because it overlooks the needs of others.
The goal of self-care is to self-gratify, and that will always usurp our ability to love our neighbors well, to avoid making judgements, to bear another's burdens, and to be forgiving. It is trading the authority of God for our own shallow and unsatisfying ego.
It's funny to me that when God told us how to love our neighbors, he directly correlated it to our ability to love ourselves. We're pretty understanding and gracious and conscious of our needs, right?! It's natural to be, so he says, "hey, love your neighbor LIKE THAT!"
I propose that we practice a different kind of mindfulness - the kind that focuses on our great God and His precious love for us. This kind of thinking will not only reframe our momentary thoughts - alleviating stress - but will help take it a step deeper by experiencing reconciliation, closure, forgiveness, and lasting peace. We will be shifted from self-centric, to other-centric.
Mindfully meditating on God will put something (someONE) bigger than ourselves in front of us, reminding us that He is so very big and encompassing, and that HE will fill our cracked cups to overflowing, and that same bounty can be caught by others. So, instead of merely quenching our own thirst, we have become a wellspring for others.