Finding True Joy in Service to Others
Something that I have consistently seen in myself and others throughout my awakening journey is that we put the needs of others before our own. When we heal ourselves, we naturally want to share that experience with others. But "service" to others can also have a dark side where we find ourselves sacrificing our health and wellness.
It's my experience that focusing on others is a habit that might be one of the hardest to break. It's also the pattern that is holding you from sharing the exact thing your wish to experience the most -- the wellbeing of all! Sacrifice is a pretty strong cultural program, so it's no wonder we feel reinforced in the belief. The external world celebrates the individuals that put the needs of others before themselves. Because of this, sacrificing yourself for others may give you an egoic rush of feeling good. You will know this is not sustainable because after the act of "service", you will feel drained and depleted.
Why is this habit so hard to break? Because sacrificing our needs for others is likely the strategy we used to gain love, safety and belonging in the world. It's part of the foundation we have built our entire lives upon. Imagine a house with a crack in it's foundation. If you go into fix that crack, the entire house may come down.
We don't honor our own needs because we are afraid of losing everything and everyone we love. Because of this very intense fear, we lose connection with our true service to ourselves and others. Facing the change and the potential loss feels like we are jumping off a cliff into a wild unknown world.
Become a Cliff Jumper:
Moving towards this fear and opening your willingness to change is everything. Bring some awareness to the ways you cope (mine was always mass quantities of pasta). This starts to show you where the damaging pattern of "service" is occurring. Do you drink excessively at parties? Overeat at family events? Get on your phone and zone out when your kids start fighting?
Then start playing the what if game. What if I stopped going to events out of an inner obligation? What if I quit my job? What if my husband stopped loving me? What if I end up all alone? What if people were hurt by me not fixing everything for them? These questions may trigger fear, but when you begin to shine the light on these things, you will likely see that it is not always true. It's just your fear, keeping you from exploring the unknown world of pure joy and freedom that comes from service to others.