I was reading one of my affirmations today. From the book, “Journey to the Heart”, by Melody Beattie. She inspires me almost daily. Today she wrote about redefining the meaning of service in our lives. It really spoke to me.
I think that I have lived a life of some type of service or another for most of my life. Wanted to give, do, be there for others. Those others were family members, friends, classmates, pets, neighbors. Whether it was cleaning the house, walking the dog, babysitting, helping a friend through a difficult time, giving a ride, I was giving and helping and doing for others. I believe that I always gave genuinely and willingly, and I really don’t think that I wanted anything in return. Nothing, that is, except love and acceptance. With my family, love and acceptance came easy for me. Sure, there were times when I was sick and tired of being told what to do, or having to deal with being a big sister, or having to do stuff around the house because both of my parents worked. But I never felt unloved or unappreciated. I was pretty secure in that regard.
Friends? My peer group? That was another story. No matter how okay I felt at times about myself, I really never thought that I measured up. I was too fat. I didn’t have the most modern clothes. I didn’t have my own car. I wasn’t in the popular crowd. I didn’t stand up for myself very forcefully. In those days, for much of my life, I didn’t really love , or even, like myself all that much. I wanted to, I really think I did. But it just didn’t come. My view of myself was based on what others reflected back onto me. So, when the light was shining from others, I felt a bit better. When they weren’t so kind, neither was I to myself.
The new and improved definition of service is one in which the service comes fully from a soul that truly loves itself. And, you know what? That TOTALLY makes sense. I mean, how can I truly give of myself to others, if that “self” is unworthy of love? Doesn’t that have to come first? Self love before all else? At times in my life, I have thought that self-love seemed kinda hokey. Not anymore. I really think it is true and necessary to make lasting change to ones’ life. And, I see the transformation.
For me, there is nothing like giving, or serving another, when there is absolutely nothing in it for you except the knowledge that you put a hand out to someone to pull them up. Not recognition, not awards, not admiration. But, to truly serve others in that way, you need to love yourself enough to give that. Be secure enough in yourself to share what you have with others. And have faith that you are special enough to have that gift to give them. It is about being led to what we truly need to do, not what we think we ought to do. That is the purest form of love. Love of self that you are willing to share.