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The emptiest people on this planet are usually the ones fullest of themselves. —Anonymous
Have you ever stopped to wonder how many times per day you say the words me or I, or how much of your time is spent thinking about how something will affect you, rather than the way it will affect those around you?
If you are anything like me, you probably haven’t. In fact, until I sat down to write this post I don’t think I had ever really thought about my own tendency to be entirely self-absorbed, though I usually have no trouble spotting this same trait in others.
If we were to be brutally honest with ourselves, how would we answer the following questions?
- When was the last time I phoned a friend just to ask about them—how they were doing, what their concerns were, how I could pray for them—without actually wanting to talk about your own problems or concerns?
- When was the last time I surprised someone with an act of service—a homemade meal for a sick church member, fresh baked cookies for your child’s teacher, a care package for a local soldier, yard work for an elderly neighbor, a day of babysitting for the single mom down the street—for no real reason other than to do it, without being asked and without expecting anything in return?
- When was the last time I really listened to my children or spouse, without criticism or judgment or an agenda of my own?
I think we are all inherently a little bit self-consumed. It is hard not to be when our perspective of life is colored by our own experience. It often takes real, intentional effort to step outside of our own needs, preferences, and desires to instead consider those of others. It might even seem painful, at least at first.
But here’s a counterintuitive little secret you might not know:
The more you take, the less you get.
This lesson has never been clearer to me than when I observe my two daughters. One has a tendency to always think she is somehow missing out. She plots and schemes to figure out how she can get the bigger piece cake or the more favorable position or the preferred water cup. She is often consumed by her need keep the best for herself, so much so that even when she does get what she thinks she want, she can’t enjoy it for fear of missing something else.
The other was born with an innate sense of compassion and others-centeredness. She doesn’t care whether she wins or loses—simply playing the game is what matters most—and she will usually offer the best choice to her sister without hesitation, or give her whatever prize she has won, even if it means she goes without.
Guess which one is usually happiest?
As a mom it is my job to guide both my children towards an attitude of service and selflessness, but as adults we must be careful to guide ourselves. It takes conscious effort to let go of a me-first mentality, but the rewards are far greater than you can imagine.
Be sure to read Edie’s corresponding post about More Service HERE.
Do something—anything—to serve someone else today. Tell us what you did in the comments below, or on Facebook.
I’m so thrilled to have my sweet friend Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom joining our Less & More challenge this month! Be sure to check out her thoughts on less comparison & more confidence from yesterday’s post!
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What act of service will you do today?