THE CONCEPT OF SERVICE
What is your concept of service? Whether you receive payment or not, “serving” another can still be the main focus of our action or actions.
Twelve-step programs focus on recovery, unity, and service. Service in these programs may include attending meetings, being a sponsor, setting up chairs and/or coffee, joining committees, and/or attending the group’s business meetings.
When I was unemployed, I chose to volunteer. Volunteering helped me to not isolate as well as helped those I served. One avenue I chose was to prepare and serve food to the working poor and homeless. It was rewarding.
Serving others can be a gift to the giver and the receiver. Not all of us choose to delegate a portion of our time in that manner. Life gets busy. Our careers, families, and our personal lives take time and energy.
Recently I had the opportunity to help a couple pack their household goods to relocate. It made me realize how much I miss serving/giving in that way. My life has become filled; and, I have neglected that type of service.
Service changes my focus. The spotlight is not on me. I put my attention and focus on the other person(s). Service frees me. It’s a gift!
Balance is needed. An awareness of myself, my needs, and my desires balances with an awareness of others, their needs, and desires. Self care and care for others can be distributed in an equitable manner. (I am not addressing co-dependency or excessive service to others without care for one’s self.)
In the near future, I shall search for a way to serve others outside of my career as well as continuing to serve others in my career. I like serving in multiple aspects of my life. Maybe I shall return to serving dinner to the working poor and the homeless.
Do you have a desire to serve?
The present is now.
In recovery from addictions, service in 12-step programs can help the one who serves in various ways including these:
- Keeps you from using your drug of choice as attending meetings keep you clean and sober (at least when you are in the meeting!)
- Contributes to a feeling of usefulness.
- May provide you with a feeling of being needed …. a reason to exist even …
- Helps you to be in the present
- Facilitates knowing others on a deeper level.
- Realization that you are not alone.
- Gratitude arrives.
When someone is unemployed, serving others may provide:
- Less time to worry about your financial situation and job searching.
- Networking opportunities.
- May keep your mind on another person’s problems.
- Gratitude enters the picture.
- Provides a feeling a usefulness that employment may have filled.
The motives to serve someone or to serve a cause are quite varied. Many times an abuse survivor may want to serve a cause such as the WINGS Foundation (for survivors of childhood sexual abuse) or other similar foundations. Domestic violence survivors may want to volunteer in domestic violence shelters. Some of us think to serve in order to pay forward those who have helped us in our past to survive and thrive. Survivors of abuse and trauma who have a desire to serve may choose to do so in a field totally outside of the abuse arena. Art museums need volunteers. Schools need those who offer their services. The choices are not limited.
Idealist.org is one website that links people with short and long-term service opportunities. I am sure there must be others.
Eventually service can become self-less! The lower ego may retreat to the background. Service can become about those who are being served (and not about me at all)! Now that is definitely a gift!