Jay Shetty said, “We are wired for service.” As soon as I heard it, it resonated with me. It hit me somewhere deep inside. I knew it to be true. I knew from experience that the times when I served others, helped others or gave to others were the happiest experiences in my life. Yet, like anything, we can go overboard. When we do things to excess, we lose balance and something else suffers. For many, self-care suffers.
Self-care can easily fall by the wayside if we are not careful. When we tip the scales back by caring again for ourselves, it can seem selfish, but it is necessary. It seems self-care and service are at odds, but I strongly disagree. Self-care is a priority, but service is still the key to happiness. Both are important to a healthy and happy life.
In an instant when my husband died, my career no longer mattered. My house no longer mattered. My accomplishments no longer mattered. All that mattered was taking care of our two babies. And that was a struggle. A really arduous struggle, especially because I could not sleep for about a year after that. I thought I was losing my mind. From the beginning though, I knew one thing. I knew if I was going to continue living, I needed to have a purpose in addition to raising our children. That purpose was extremely basic. I wanted to help people. That is as far as my mind could conceptualize at that time. I did not know how I would help people or what it would look like.
I realize now that was my bare soul, the soul I thought was dead. It was really just stripped: stripped of everything else in life that disguises it, overwhelms it, or buries it under layers of baggage. At the most basic level, our souls seek to serve others in some capacity. We all need to be useful even if that usefulness is not recognized by others. It is there. We live a life of purpose. We are here on purpose. We have a purpose.
“Happiness is the feeling of contribution,” it says in The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. This is an amazingly simple and yet life-changing idea. The beauty of this definition is that it means happiness is readily available to everyone and anyone. It is no longer this far-away unattainable ideal that is always out of reach. We can be happy now by helping each other one person at a time, one project at a time, one conversation at a time, one action at a time, or simply one smile at a time.
Wishing you the happiness of service,