What does being of service to others mean? It doesn't mean being a servant, which is where we sometimes go when we hear the term. And it has very little to do with sacrificing and suffering.
For the most part, it can be seen as providing some form of assistance or aid to another. Being useful to others, giving of oneself such that another benefits.
Volunteering is one way to be of service, but certainly not the only way.
Being of service is about contributing to others in whatever way we are able to do. It may be giving our money to projects or organizations that help those in need.
It may be giving our time and skills to organizations that impact certain conditions in the world or our own communities - volunteering.
It may be finding other ways to support groups that are aligned with what we think is important to help ensure they are able to continue doing their work.
It really is all about making a difference, whether big or small, beyond ourselves. We look at the world through someone else’s lenses and discover what matters to another and do whatever we can to help that happen.
Whether we admit it or not, we all want to make a difference. We all want to leave the world a better place than it was when we entered it. We’re just not always so sure how to do that.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as helping someone carry their groceries and load them into a vehicle. Even a smile or kind word to a distressed person who least expects it is being of service to that individual.
It could be lending a shoulder to cry on to an upset friend who has been hurt. Or listening when someone just needs to vent.
Hosting a dinner party for friends and family is clearly serving others. Providing new opportunities for adventure to friends is as well, such as taking them fishing or to a museum they’ve never seen.
When we help others feel better about life or realize their dreams, we often turn around and find our own wants and needs are fulfilled in the process.
Just by focusing on another, we take the attention off ourselves and then find our own concerns are not nearly as prominent as we once thought when that’s all we were paying attention to.
Our wants and needs begin to pale in comparison when we’re able to see the bigger picture and come face-to-face with others who have much more pressing issues.
Studies have shown that there are many benefits to being of service and volunteering, especially as we get older in life. Of course, we usually have more time then, but it also helps give us a sense of purpose and provides comfort that our lives are worth something.
It’s fulfilling to know we are making a difference, no matter how small.
If you really want a life of gusto, get outside of your own small world and into that of others. Find out where you can make a difference and get busy doing so.
Have it be a normal part of the Boomers lifestyle.
Start anywhere you can, even if it’s reading once a week at a nursing home in your area. You might even offer to baby-sit with your grandchildren or a neighbor’s children so the parents can have a night off.
You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your own well-being.