By Nancy S buck, PhD, RN
When you were a child did you learn the value of service? Perhaps your experience with scouts, church school, or some other kind of community group taught you that being of service to others is a virtue. Is this part of your experience?
Have you incorporated this into your morals and daily life practice? Do you and your children periodically purge toy boxes, book shelves, or other storage areas in your home to see what there is that you can give to others? Usually we discover more than a few items that are still in useful condition just no longer useful or necessary for our family.
It’s not surprising then to learn that there is increasing evidence from recent research that being of service to others is one factor contributing to positive Mental Health & Happiness. How wonderful to learn that being of service will help you as well as the people you are helping.
Let’s compare this idea with the common and equally powerful notion and belief in being a rugged individual. Do you believe that you must do it alone in order to be considered truly worthy of praise and success? After all the American way is being a rugged individual who pulls himself up by his boot straps, digs in and works hard, changing and making his own luck to finally succeed and make it on his own.
How many of these cliches do you believe in? Are you using any of these beliefs to guide you toward your personal success?
Hmm . . how then to square the equally powerful notion of being fiercely independent while also being of service?
Perhaps you don’t see these as being in conflict. But if you are so fiercely independent does this keep you ask from asking for help and allowing another to be service to you?
Consider for a moment that no one can be completely independent. NO ONE! Even if you live alone and work alone, there are other people in your world who are going to work to provide you with the electricity you need, the grocery store or restaurant serving you to help you get your food, cooperative drivers on the road allowing you to travel safely to and from your destinations, and on and on.
Acts of service may not necessarily always be acts of kindness. But our lives would be dramatically different if there were not other people in the world doing their jobs and providing us with all of the necessities that make our lives better. These surely are acts of service.
Today consider how allowing others to serve you is actually an act of service and kindness in return. The next time you are determined to do something alone and seemingly independently, please remember that in fact there are many unknown and invisible people providing and serving you.
When you allow another person to offer you an act of service and you receive it, this is your own act of service in return. Receiving these offers with gratitude and kindness makes the exchange even better for you both!
It is equally rewarding for our Mental Health & Happiness to give and receive help. Together and interdependently we build each other’s Mental Health & Happinesss.