The Benefits of Serving Others

As recent as a few decades ago, people put a lot of value on helping and serving others. You saw it woven throughout the fabric of our society. People helped their neighbors, their friends and their family anytime there was a need. It was a reciprocal relationship. When it was your turn, then someone helped you.

Fast forward to today…….

We live in a world that can sometimes feel very individualistic and self-centered. Many reality stars, particularly, have gained fame and fortune by appearing selfish and putting themselves before those around them. We also see this theme with many entertainers, sports stars, and even politicians. 

These people often appear to be the “winners” in life, right? They make headlines with their antics and things they say, while they rake in huge paychecks and live luxurious lives. Everything about being selfish appears to pay off, so they keep on doing it. And some of us support it by watching their shows, following them on social media, and eventually emulating them. That is how it leaks into everyday society.

But what ever happened to being a good person with solid morals? Do people even remember what those are anymore?

Society didn’t become this way overnight. It has been a slow progression. Years ago, it was common to herald virtues such as selflessness and helping others, but as the number of consumer goods continued to rise, so did the amount of greed. A couple decades ago, one of the popular bumper stickers read “Whoever dies with the most toys wins”. I haven’t seen that sticker in a long time, but that thought still prevails with most of society. 

I don’t think most people who live this way are even conscious of it. This way of life has become so ingrained in us that we only see it as doing what we are supposed to, which shows just how distorted things have become.

There are scores of articles detailing how social media has made people envious of the supposed “perfect” lives of their friends, family and neighbors. And, I understand, it is easy to assume that someone else’s life is perfect and that yours is inferior by comparison. So we turn our lives into a competition, whether consciously or unconsciously, so we can be the people at the top – the ones who have bragging rights on having the most shiny, sparkly life. 

There is one big problem with that. It’s very difficult to serve others while we are in competition with them. (Also see The Power of Gratitude In Your Life.)

And by not serving others we are actually denying ourselves some of the best blessings in life. Nothing on this planet makes you feel better than helping someone else. Nothing. It warms the heart of both the giver and the receiver, and the benefits of that help sometimes reach further than just those two people. 

The benefits of helping others are many:

  1. You lift up the person you help & make them feel loved.
  2. You give yourself a boost because doing good in the world feels good.
  3. You set an example for everyone else by promoting helping others.
  4. You encourage those you help to pay it forward.
  5. The fabric of our whole society improves.

Whether it’s picking up a dropped book or roofing someone’s house, every little gesture of kindness makes this world a better place. 

I had an opportunity to help someone last week that truly blessed me. I was in a parking lot and saw an elderly man shuffling slowly in the rain with his cane. He was getting drenched and so I fell in beside him with my umbrella as I walked him in the direction of his vehicle. After just a few steps, another vehicle backed up and ran into us. No one was seriously hurt, partly because I took the brunt of the car that hit us. But what would have happened to the elderly man if I had not been between him and that car? I believe whole-heartedly that I was meant to be there to shield him, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be of service to him. It made me feel good to be of use in such a wonderful way, and I hope that someone would do the same for my elderly father in the same situation. 

Being of service to others is a way of giving back to them and also yourself. Plus you make this world – let me say it again – a better place. 

Here is the best way to get into the spirit of serving others:

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

It is easier to feel compassionate toward others if you don’t see them as your competition. Stop comparing your situation to theirs. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. No two lives are the same and it doesn’t matter if their life looks better than yours. The grass always looks greener on the other side, but it almost never is. 

  1. Be Thankful For Your Life

You can’t be envious of the lives of others if you are busy being grateful for your own life. And by this, I mean deep down grateful. Start each day saying or writing down all the things you are thankful for in your life. Even the smallest things are worthy of noting. Eventually, this exercise will reshape how you feel about the world  and your whole existence. 

  1. Wish the Best For Others

Now that you realize just how awesome your life is, be sure to wish the same for others. Always speak positive words and think positive thoughts toward everyone you encounter. What goes around, comes around. And that includes positivity and goodwill towards others. 

  1. Serve Others In Any Way You Can

Now that you have got your heart in the right place towards both yourself and others, you are free to joyfully serve others in ways you never thought possible. Tell others about what you are doing so they can get involved and receive those blessings too. 

  1. Don’t Limit Your Kindness To People You Don’t Know

Many people give to charities to help those in other countries or victims of natural disasters, but often overlook those close to them. It can sometimes be easier to give to a nameless face than to serve a person right in front of you. Remember that charity begins at home and we should help even if it feels uncomfortable at first, and always without judgement.

Kindness can be contagious! Pass it on!

Angela Christian PopeAngela Christian Pope is a teacher, author and creator of Happiosity.org. Check out more on Twitter and Facebook.