Service vs. Servitude

It really doesn’t matter whether you struggle to pay bills or live in abundance, you can still be stuck in the bondage of servitude. Or you can choose a different path.

Fortunately, for much of the world, servitude is a state of mind, not a condition, and you can, with a bit of diligence and creativity, transform your state of mind, and then change any circumstances that block your transition from servitude to service.

How Can You Tell?
Servitude is defined as the condition of being involuntarily under the power of another.

Everyone has days when they’d rather stay in bed, read a book, or go sailing, instead of working. Having to show up doesn’t equal servitude. But if you look at the last several months and realize that you’ve dreaded going to work every single day, then that’s servitude.

Some people get a deep and lasting pleasure being domestic, for example, and the people they’re caring for thrive. Some people do the same tasks resentfully, and everybody’s miserable. Habit can allow loving service given early in a relationship to evolve into servitude as the relationship cools.

Bottom line: if you’re really unhappy at work, at home, or elsewhere, in that part of your life you’re in servitude.

The Big Question
What or whom have you allowed to gain power over you, to hold you in bondage?

The answer may seem obvious, but the truth can be pretty subtle and tricky, so don’t settle for your first thought. It may appear that you’re in bondage to your boss, or your girlfriend, or your husband and kids, but it’s just not that simple.

What’s probably true is that you’re in bondage to whatever beliefs you have that make it seem appropriate and necessary for you to remain in, or constantly recreate, a situation that causes stress, tension, and unhappiness.

The best way to free yourself is to uncover and then question the assumptions or beliefs that have held you in servitude. It may take you a while, but the payoff will transform your whole life.

Say you still aren’t married, and it’s dominating your thoughts day and night. Is it really a marriage you want, or is it the uncertain safety of being coupled up, or perhaps the approval of your family? You stay in a disastrous marriage for the kids. But are the kids thriving? You stay with a job you hate because you need the money. But what about all those medical bills for stress-related problems?

What’s Service All About?
So often spiritual people ask, “What is my mission in life, how can I serve humanity?” At the very core, your mission is to be happy. Even better, to be joyful.

What will make you genuinely happy, put simply, is to be the best you can be at what brings out the best in you, using your gifts to the fullest. This in turn makes you naturally generous and open-hearted.

Your mission could be turning customers on to the scrumptiousness of unusual fruits and veggies, making them more appreciative of the earth’s bounty, while you stock the produce section. It could be jetting around the world conducting high-stakes meetings for a Fortune 500 company and setting an international example for both profitable and humanitarian outcomes. If you’re giving your best because you’re excited about and vitally interested in what you’re doing, and would probably do it for free if the world worked that way, then in some form you’re serving.

In other words, you’re here to give your gifts in the best way you can. And guaranteed, when you’re doing this, not only are you happy, but you’re improving the lives of everyone you encounter as well. And that’s service, whether it’s one person at a time or thousands.

Servitude to Service
Perhaps a change of perspective, a more current or appropriate belief, will allow you to gladly give what you’ve been resenting. Sometimes to move from servitude to service requires only the shift in perspective, followed by the action that naturally flows from the shift. And sometimes it can involve major and difficult realizations and life changes.

But when you realize that doing what excites and energizes you is actually your mission in life, your path to joy, and the highest form of service, then maybe any scary or difficult things you might need to do to make it possible will seem more than worth it.

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