There are two common challenges we may face with selfless service:
ONE: Over-serving and neglecting to love ourselves
TWO: Having our service or love rejected.
TAL Family member Kathy said this about the first challenge:
“I have to admit that this is the first month I have not listened to every day.”
“I guess selfless service is something I do so much that I feel my soul is sucked out of me every day.”
“Since I work with middle school kids, I give every day and I stop taking care of me…so, I don’t want to be reminded to give more because I give away too much already.”
Can you relate to Kathy at all?
I’m certain every mother listening can relate to the feeling – motherhood is by far the most demanding and thankless job out there at times.
I think it is common for you mothers to be all-consumed with nurturing your children – it’s built into your nature to nurture.
However, if left unchecked, this natural state of giving so selflessly can backfire in major ways when a mother serves others at her own expense for too long.
What major ways you ask?
Well, unhappiness, stress, weight gain, depression, mid-life crises to name a few…
As we’re focused on Selfless Service, it’s worth discussing how to not overdo it.
GIVE is just ONE of the 12 pillars of a Truly Amazing Life.
It’s super important to remember the others and take care of yourself.
If you find yourself serving constantly and feeling empty inside – it’s time to reclaim some balance.
Selfless service can go to far when we allow self-neglect to happen.
If it feels like it is “sucking your soul out of you”, there’s something wrong.
We need to love ourselves in order to be able to truly love others.
You can’t love and serve others long-term without loving yourself in the short-term.
You are important.
So perhaps, as you write about service today, pay closer attention to how you feel.
If you’re not feeling a joyful connection to your soul…
…remember to take time for YOU today.
Meditate, Exercise, Read, Play, Appreciate.
We need time to re-charge our spirit and soul regularly.
When you plug yourself in, and love yourself in that way – it allows you to then give your full, bright, best-self to others.
It’s easy to get burned out and used up…
…So recharge and refresh yourself with the other pillars today.
And what about when other’s don’t receive your service?
I know this can present a challenge for many of you.
You are so kind, so eager to serve and bless…but often people don’t want help.
Or perhaps you have a hard time getting along with some people.
TAL Family member Crystal said that in the past she tried to serve a brother who was really struggling, by sending thoughtful text message to him each day.
Then the brother told her Mom to tell her to stop because he didn’t like it.
The result of that attempted service was feeling depressed and inadequate…the opposite of joy.
What do we do when we care so much about others but we don’t have a clue how to help or serve them?
It’s a tough challenge.
Every parent faces this at some point.
Everyone who cares deeply about their family and friends will face it at some point.
But the harsh reality is sometimes people don’t want help. Or if they do, they don’t know how to receive it.
This is where patience, trust, and unconditional love come in.
We can’t force people to receive our love…we are only in control of giving it.
We can’t take away people’s challenges from them, and it would be doing them a disservice if we tried.
People have their challenges for a reason, for their own personal growth.
Ours is the opportunity to give loving, sensitive kindness.
But sometimes that is not received well.
When I was very sick in the hospital, in massive pain…sometimes when people would visit I wasn’t welcoming because I just felt angry about my situation.
I didn’t want to see them or anyone and it was hard to hide that sometimes.
But even though outwardly I probably appeared to reject their loving act…to this day I am touched and moved with gratitude for their loving kindness toward me.
Their service continues to bless my life years later.
Though your love be rejected, don’t stop loving. Keep on loving. Just keep on loving.
Give people space – don’t be overbearing. But love doesn’t mean you have to be thanked.
Love means you keep on caring.
TAL Family Member Debra H. said she was having a difficult time with a co-worker, and she decided to give her some shoes for her daughters dance team fundraiser.
“She’s starting to soften,” she said. “Service softens eventually. Eventually kindness always wins and blesses lives.”
So today, remember to love yourself.
And also, remember that love always wins, whether we see it now or not.
Just keep on giving from a place of sincere loving kindness.
Make Today Amazing!