mirror, mirror on the wall…

My word for this year is LEARN.  

So it just makes sense to use this Year of Sundays to reflect on 52 of my most significant Life Lessons.   Some may seem more significant than others, but each one has changed how I live my life in powerful way.   I’d love to hear if and how any of these same lessons have surfaced in the classroom of Your Life.

lesson13Serving others is not the same thing as helping or fixing them.

One of the ways I observed this past Lenten season was to avoid offering unsolicited advice or opinions.    I’ve tried this before and this time was no easier.   I’ve been startled by how often I had to consciously stop myself from being ‘helpful’ .  And sometimes, I forgot my pledge altogether.   A huge lesson I take from this pledge is that I need to ask myself a crucial question about my intentions ~ “Am I trying to serve, help or fix?”

I love to ask, “How can I help?”  Often, my intention to help implies a perception of my knowing, doing or being more than.  Hopefully, it isn’t a conscious thing, but that doesn’t change anything.  Helping often  creates a sense of inequality and sometimes even of indebtedness.

When I find myself trying to fix, I’m clearly coming from a place of judgement ~ of, ” I need them do/be right. “

Serving is collaborative.  Everyone is involved in some way.   And everyone gets some need met.

Consider the restaurant wait-staff/guest relationship.

  • When one person clearly tells another what they want and how they want it, the odds are pretty good they might actually get it.    That’s service.  
  •  If the waiter simply brought the guest what he thought the guest wanted – that’s helping and the odds for satisfaction are less.
  • And if the waiter felt nudged to ask the guest something like, ” Do you know how many miles you’ll have to walk to burn the calories in that alfredo sauce?” –  that would be trying to fix and no one would win.

I’m not saying there aren’t times and places for helping and fixing.  I’m just saying, that I need to pay closer attention to my intention.  When I think I need to serve ~ I’ll ask, hear and serve, if necessary.  When I think I need to help ~ I’ll ask, hear, listen again and if necessary, help.  When I think I need to fix ~ I’m going to look in the mirror first.

Have any of you ever bumped into this?

5 thoughts on “mirror, mirror on the wall…

  1. Very timely. I am certainly bumping up against this both from the giving and receiving status, now that I am sharing my home with my Mom after living alone for (yikes!) 30 years. I DO NOT LIKE BEING FIXED. That is my biggest chafing point. But I also am aware that I am constantly on the edge of ‘fixing’ myself. So far I have managed pretty much to zip my lips and not say ‘do you really need to keep that?’ or ‘don’t you want to take the walker along?’ This will give me something to think about all right!

  2. I find this very timely. As a counselor by trade and a human service person by calling and nature I have had many instances of needing to figure out which role I am to play with each encounter with each client. Sometimes one desires the other to just lift the felt burden if even for a moment, not seeking a long term solution but the provision of respite knowing full well that their burden is theirs to resolve. My role is to quietly listen to verbal and nonverbal ques. I confess that somedays I am better at the listening part than others. Yes, LEARN or learning is the process that I take from one encounter to another and with Gods grace and guidance I pray that I find and choose the right tool or option for the person in front of me. A truly Holy process when I am able to fully remove the self/ego and listen.

  3. Your plan requires a mindful pause before speaking. When I take a breath rather than leaping in immediately, I do much better.
    Good words for a grandma to hear! Thanks, Lisa.

  4. Penny, sounds like you’re living in a major construction zone ~ emotionally and spiritually. yay you,for noticing your triggers and being wise enough to simply being present with them all;

    Mary, thanks for your reminder of what a holy process this life is;

    Amma/Robin, yes! pausing + breathing = good :);

    Judi, you’re welcome!

    and THANKS to you ALL for joining in this Year of Lessons. it’s so much richer to be on this ride with those who respond here and privately.

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