Don’t want to sign up for a race?

Can’t do it?

Aren’t feeling enough?


Have you ever had any thoughts like these? Have you ever had a low moment in your day, week, or year? A moment where you just don’t feel like doing anything…


I had a friend tell me of his childhood once. He remembered a time where his father was doing some work around the house. His dad came to him and asked if he could help for a little while. My friend, irritated that he was interrupted from his relaxation, declined his father’s request. At this point, his dad, who had been working for hours and really needed his help, asked again. This time my friend recalled that he whined and complained as he dragged his feet out the door to help his dad. After an hour of angry manual labor in the yard, a thought creeped through my friend’s brain, “I can enjoy this work because it is providing a use for my dad.” Now, this initial thought took some guiding and prodding, but he went with it. All of a sudden, the work he was doing began to feel good. He recognized that not only was he helping his father, but he was being useful and that brought him to a better place.


“Our prime purpose in life is to help others and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama


When I was younger, I thought that being useful meant going over to Africa and serving with an orphanage. I couldn’t even comprehend that I could be useful in this moment. In fact, it was as if my heart called me to go be of use elsewhere. Over the years, I’ve begun to realize that being of use and living in service doesn’t have to be a big deal. Really, it is in the small moments I find that it is more important to be of service. Smiling at someone, buying someone a coffee, holding the door open, letting someone go ahead of you in line. All of these acts of kindness or use available to us in pretty much every moment.


So, what does this have to do with feeling down?


As my friend found, when he stepped past his own ego, he found a sense of useful service in helping his father. It was no longer about him and he was able to feel good about his actions. Even when we’re feeling down, stepping out of ourselves for a moment to provide a simple act of kindness or use can bring us into a new perspective. One that may just whisper, “You do matter. You are here for a reason.”


A guide: Put yourself out there today. Hold the door open. Go out of your way to ask someone how their day is (and LISTEN!). Take the time to challenge yourself to ask, “How can I be of useful service in this moment? Who can I serve?” Allow your heart to answer, and take the step.  


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