You didn’t think I would leave you hanging, did you?
Although serving yourself and serving others are not opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s good to know how they work together. Yesterday, I discussed how serving yourself can serve others. Today, I’ll talk about how serving others serves you.
When you’re serving food at the Women’s Shelter to women and children, the extra 10 lbs that you’re carrying starts looking like a good thing. Or when you’re tutoring a young boy with learning disabilities whose struggling to read 1st grade books in 5th grade, the promotion that you didn’t get loses it’s sting.
When you serve others, you gain some perspective on the world and stop nitpicking your life. You begin to appreciate all that you have in your life.
Open Yourself to Opportunities
Giving always opens you to new experiences. When you give your time in service to others, you open your eyes to possibilities. On a very practical level, just being in a different setting shows you another way to live. It may not be completely desirable, but you may find that optimism in the child you are tutoring is contagious and helps him to learn. You begin to be optimistic in your own life.
When you give you might also find business opportunities. No, not to take advantage of those in a bad situation, but you might find out that homeless people were only a paycheck away from being homeless. That might prompt you to help people save more or become more financially literate before it has to come to that.
Giving also alerts you to resources you didn’t know you had. You learn that a lot of things you think of as necessities are luxury items. You learn to replace them and use the resources for other endeavors. For example, you might find that the extra $120 a month you spend on Starbucks can be used to start a cottage business or take belly dancing lessons (a personal request). You can also discover hidden talents that you possess. For example, you could move up to organizing the Salvation Army dinner and discover that you have management skills that you start exhibiting in your work life.
Practice Being Present
Serving removes the focus from your busy life to the activity at hand. It temporarily interrupts the chatter of “not good enough”, or “I need more”, or “I want”. You express the Divinity within you in a free flow (that is, if you are paying attention to what you are doing). Serving has a way of bringing us to the moment. We can let our guard down and let our True spirits shine.
Service is like the infinity sign. Serving others is in a happy dance with serving yourself. At certain points in life, it will be necessary to weigh heavy in one direction. Eventually, you’ll find that you feel more centered and fulfilled, when you are healthy, loving, and happy, while you sharing your gifts of love with the world.