Most of us have a desire to help other people in some capacity or another. The challenge that many of us face is learning how to find some sort of balance between meeting the needs of other people, while not neglecting our own needs. When we say yes too often to requests of our time and energy, we may find that we’ve over-committed and that we are unable to do anything well. It’s important to look at the motivations behind our desire to help. Perhaps we value achievement and have a tendency to take on too much at any given time. Maybe we have a deep need to please people, to be liked, or to be appreciated for what we do. Or maybe we have a fear of what will happen if we say no. I’ve experienced most of these motivations at some time or another.
No matter what our motivations for serving are today, what if we ground our desire to serve in love and compassion? When we serve and give in love, we cast our eyes on meeting the needs of other people, AND we make sure that we have the capacity to do the giving. Serving in love shifts our perspective away from our need to please the other person to a desire to help the other person from the goodness of our heart. We commit only to what is ours to do and what we have enough time and energy to follow through on.
We are honest about our limitations in fulfilling the need and when we are unable to help, we verbalize this with kindness and compassion. If possible, we might offer to help at a later time, or in a different way than they requested. If, however, we know that we are not the right person to help for any reason, we say “no” with love. Serving from the heart removes the discomfort and eliminates the feeling that we should help just because they asked and creates a better situation for everyone involved.