If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.” ~Buddha
Why are you here on this earth? What is your purpose? What are you supposed to be doing with your life? These deep questions burn in all of us. Our souls’ desire is to lead fulfilling lives that have meaning.
My life’s journey has always been linked to helping other people; I just never saw it as serving them. As I have grown to know myself, I have discovered that I have this huge heart that wants the best for myself and for others. I now live to serve, and this brings me great fulfillment.
The Difference Between Seeking Validation and Serving
It wasn’t always easy for me. I spent a great deal of my life questioning why I was here and what my life was all about. I had been through so much pain and had suffered at the hands of others. I couldn’t understand it all until I took a stand. Enough was enough. I needed to be different.
Little did I know that being different meant discovering myself and not simply changing my circumstances.
I was always a helpful person, but it was about seeking validation for what I did, not about the difference I could make in others’ lives when coming from a place of inner strength.
I started learning about who I was and why I was behaving the way I did. I would often be so angry with myself for doing things for other people that I really didn’t want to do.
I was angry that I didn’t say no when I really wanted to. I was seeking validation in these moments and wanting to be liked. I realized that I could say no, and that I’d been saying no to the wrong person. I needed to start saying yes to me, and that meant no to others.
I also wanted to be sure that I wasn’t being mean and hurtful to others by saying no to certain requests, and so I started asking them. I realized quickly that true friends are the ones who tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
I wanted more of that in my life, and I knew if I were open and honest with others in this same way, I would help them discover something great about themselves. This was true servitude, and it came from a more empowered place.
The focus was on serving them and not seeking validation for myself.
The more I gave to myself, the more I was able to give to others, and the more I then received.
When we give, we always receive.
Why Serve Others
As I discovered how beautiful I was, I learned to give away to others from a place of inner strength. I could now give curiosity and compassion instead of frustration. I could listen and be present to people and give them respect. I could appreciate people for who they were, not the behaviors they displayed.
I started helping people gain insights into their own lives and the power they had to create and change them.
They started finding fulfillment and meaning for themselves, and this impacted their relationships. The sense of fulfillment this gave me showed me I was living my life on purpose.
Serving others can create this same joy and meaning for you.
How I Serve Others – Pain vs. Suffering
One way I serve people is by creating awareness about the difference between pain and suffering and helping them let go of what they need to release.
Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.
I remember my first love going overseas for a year after she had completed her studies. I felt abandoned, and the pain I experienced felt devastating. Abandonment seemed to be the story of my life.
She was still young and needed to experience the world. She met new people and started going out. I knew she loved me and still I was worried for us. Then the worst thing that could have happened hit me like a brick in the chest: She met someone else.
I still remember the phone call. I was standing in the kitchen and I was so excited, as I had decided to put my studies on hold and had committed to going over to see her. Her words were cold: “Don’t come over; I've met someone else.” I was broken.
I spent so many years suffering from that blow. The pain of the breakup was inevitable. The revisiting of the moment in my mind was suffering.
I had a choice, and I chose to wallow in this pain. I spent hours thinking what I could have done differently. I did not see myself as good enough, and so I thought it had to be my fault.
I am now in a place where I realize that suffering is optional, and so I serve others by sharing this. Living in each moment and being present to the beauty that shows up is something we all have the power to do. We just have to choose it.
Some Ways You Can Serve Others
Create awareness for them about how beautiful they are.
We come into this world with infinite potential and then become conditioned to live to society’s expectations. This is the way it is, and yet we have the potential to change it.
We can have such doubt about ourselves. Am I good enough for this relationship? Will my writing stimulate people? Will I fit in with this new group? Society may limit our potential, but these are self-imposed doubts.
Serve people by reminding them of their potential. Remind them that they can choose self-doubt or self-belief. When we believe in ourselves, we show up differently in the world.
Get people to be curious about their lives.
Challenge people when they are closed off to other interests. Help them see the value in exploring the riches life has to offer. Be curious for them about what life can be and let them pick up on that.
Share the passion your talent brings.
We all have special talents that make this world a richer place. Serve people by showing them how beautiful life can be when you live passionately exploring it with your talents. This may be in writing, painting, singing, or any area of life.
Believe in yourself to show others its possible.
You can achieve almost anything you want if you believe in yourself and you put your heart and mind to it. This level of self-belief allows you to know that you will be okay, no matter what happens.
Serving people is easy when we know who we are and what we are about.
I believe our true purpose in life is to give our lives away to others, and that we receive happiness, fulfillment, and meaning in return.
by Stephen Light