Living a Life of Service to Others

Whatever your belief system, religion, morality, culture, upbringing – most of us humans have a deep need to be of service to others.  We may volunteer for the military, at our churches, for the Red Cross (especially after tragedies like hurricanes), at local hospitals, and so on.  Even if we are elderly and/or disabled, there are countless, tiny ways we can be of service every single day.  Below are some tips and ideas that can put you on the pathway to fulfillment you did not realize you still had in you!

  1. You can help anyone. The person across the street or the one next door.  Maybe you are outside getting your mail when you see them.  Even holding on to your walker!  Just say ‘hi’ and talk a moment.  Maybe you’re on your scooter buying groceries and see someone at the produce section.  If you are a shut-in or in a nursing home yourself, there is always the telephone.  Call someone, anyone.  Or visit someone you see that maybe never gets visitors.  The angrier they seem, the lonelier they most likely are.

If you are a younger person, maybe your see someone at the gym or sitting alone at study hall.  At church, maybe they are sitting alone in the back.   At work, maybe it’s the workaholic, or the one who always eats alone.  Maybe a neighbor would like you to walk with them or walk their dog.  Or wash their car.  Or take them somewhere if they are elderly.  Adopt a ‘grandparent’ even.  That one is especially fulfilling.  And the color and/or culture barrier?  Don’t Let It Get In Your Way.  The things you can learn are well worth it.

This doesn’t have to be a big issue, folks.  You don’t want to stalk someone and try to “save” them!  Just a small kindness here and there to people.  A smile, a pat on the back.  If they want to talk after a bit, they will.  Just reach out a couple of times and see.  Even chatting up the tired lady or guy at the check-out at a Wal-mart can be a blast, especially if you leave them smiling!

2.  Do not talk about your own problems.  Not your finances, family problems, aches, medical issues, gutters, car breakdown, whatever.  If you find yourself straying off into talking about your own issues, simple say something like, “Enough about me, tell me about…” and ask them a direct question about themselves.  As much as we love to talk about ourselves?  Well, so do they!

  1. Tell no one. WHAT?  That’s right.  Tell no one what you’ve done when you do a little service.  It’s your gift to give, not something to go bragging about.  Keep it in your heart between your and your God.  As long as you and the person you served know, that’s enough.  Telling anyone else and it’s just your pride showing.
  2. You’ve heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around.” If all you’ve done with most of your life is take, then all people do to you is take.  When you begin to GIVE, then what happens?    People begin to give back.  So, give.  Pay things forward.  Trust that the little things to do of service to people get paid forward and it comes back to you.  So get out there and start the ball rolling.  Don’t try to do everything in one day.  Try just one thing a day.  Maybe even one thing every other day.  Don’t try to be Mother Teresa!

One thought on “

  1. On the Relationship of Generosity to Joy

    …scientists have found that the more we experience any pleasure, the more we become numb to its effects and take its pleasures for granted… It is like a drug that must be taken in ever-greater quantities to produce the same high. But there does seem to be one thing in the literature that powerfully and lastingly changes our sense of well-being. It is what the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop [Tutu] had been advocating throughout our first day: our relationships, and specifically, our expression of love and generosity to others in our life.

    Richard Davidson, the neuroscientist…has drawn together the neuroimaging research into a unified theory of the happy brain… There are four independent brain circuits that influence our lasting well-being, Davidson explained. The first is “our ability to maintain positive states.” … The second circuit is responsible for “our ability to recover from negative states.” …The third circuit, also independent but essential to the others, is “our ability to focus and avoid mind wandering.”…

    The fourth and final circuit is “our ability to be generous.” That was amazing to me: that we had an entire brain circuit, one of four, devoted to generosity. It is no wonder that our brains feel so good when we help others or are helped by others, or even witness others being helped, which [Paul] Ekman had described as the elevation that is one dimension of joy.

    This entire quote is from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams from The Book of Joy

    Liked by 1 person

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