Consider, if you will, the following avenues you might take through life:
- Helping other people, potentially at your own personal expense
- Helping yourself, potentially at the expense of others
Now, ask yourself: which of these do you feel most accurately describes your priorities?
There are no right or wrong answers. Personally, I would say number one describes me better. But if you’re more inclined towards number two, you are well within your rights to be so. We have the Free Will to choose either path as we see fit.
There is no judgement here.
For anyone who prefers to tread the second path, I wish you well; the rest of this entry is going to be addressed to those who, like me, prefer the first.
* * *
So, my fellow followers of the first path: having considered the options, you have come to the conclusion that you would like to serve the interests of others more than your own.
(May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on what I see as a highly noble decision.)
The path of Service to Others is just as difficult to walk as that of Service to Self. Both have their, shall we say, pros and cons. Be mindful of this; in the long run, no-one finds their chosen trajectory “easy”. As followers of the path of Service to Others, it is important for us to exercise compassion for those with whom we disagree just as much as for those more sympathetic to our chosen calling.
You may find that, inside, you have a latent desire to achieve perfection – to be the ultimately selfless being. This is admirable; but forgive yourself when you inevitably fall short of this ideal. Remember: no-one is perfect. Whilst perfection is our ultimate aim, we all face stumbling-blocks on the road of life. To expect yourself to achieve a level of pure 100% Service to Others is to place on yourself an unreasonable demand, and an unrealistic goal.
Be kind to yourself!
Try to tackle your work in small steps. You might, for example, plan to take at least one consciously selfless action per day. These don’t need to be huge gestures; it could be something as simple as doing the washing up for your Mum without waiting to be asked, because you know it will make her happy. Keep making a conscious effort to perform these little acts of kindness.
After a while, they will come more naturally. When you find this to be the case – when doing these small services for others has become your ‘default setting’, as it were – try to up your game. Think a little bigger. Is there anything you can think of that, whilst it could potentially be a serious inconvenience to yourself, could also seriously benefit the lives of others?
Although you may have a tendency to run yourself down in your line of Service to Others, try at all times to maintain your physical health as best you can; remember, you are less likely to be able to help others if you are unwell.
I would love to write more – message me if you feel I can be of any direct help – but I’ve got to stop. My girlfriend’s back, and she needs a hug.