In Service to Others.
As long as I remember I was always a self-centered individual.
It’s not like I designed myself to be like that but it’s just happened to be this way. In school, I was a “quiet” kid who had a predisposition for sports more than any social interaction with his peers. Filled with insecurities about my looks, I was gradually shying away from intercourse with girls and let football, which was my first love, get total control of my time. My dad was proud of me and I even started thinking about the career of a professional footballer, which was not meant to happen.
I am not sure if that’s the underlying reason for my egocentric nature but it surely contributed to my desire of becoming the king of the throne, amassing power and influence to be in control of the situation.
As I look at it in hindsight — that was a plainly selfish pursuit which never had a single chance to fulfill me as a human being, cuz it was just NOT me.
I remember how I felt when I was turning 30: spoiled with indulgence, speaking from the position “I know better” and thinking that I was invisible in every imaginable sense — disregarding people around me.
Fast forward 2 more years: I was now bankrupt, sold my car due to debts, and had a substance problem that resulted in me losing or freezing the connections I had established up to date.
At 31, I started rising back from the ashes. I didn't know how I could restore the broken glass but I knew one thing for sure: I did not want to feel sorry for myself. It’s totally fine, as per my psychologist, to show compassion for yourself. But truth be told: compassion borders with helplessness, and you can never play by its tunes to get out of the depression.
In the months to come, the series of events has helped me understand that what I was looking for was actually not getting my former life back, but rather piecing together a new one.
Understanding what we can give to the world and what the world might need from us is the ascending puzzle of life. If we figure it out at least in one of its domains — count ourselves lucky.
Self-Actualization through Shared Actualization.
On my freshly baked podcast, I talk to people who have nothing to hide, as what they have in life is the result of the expression of their true selves. One of my guests told me that trying to please everyone is pleasing no one, and rightfully so — you can never please everyone and remain yourself. Being yourself requires sacrifices. It requires a great deal of willpower and discipline in saying no to good options for the sake of the chosen ones.
What it means to Give.
Real giving to me means to listen, to genuinely try to bring the best out of people, to ask meaningful questions aiming at getting sincere and meaningful answers. It’s trying to see the light of hope in those who you seem to dislike and practice curiosity over judgment. It’s not labeling people to be only what you think of them but allowing them to glow in the wide variety of roles.
We have a bookshelf called “Help Yourself” but we have no bookshelf called “Help Others”. They say that you can only help others when you've got enough for yourself, but I deem this statement doubtful.
As we evolve, we grow both as individuals and as members of certain groups, companies, social clusters. Our self-actualization can be marvelously attained by helping others. This is why coaching is on the rise — because we have never had so many options in choosing the application of our talents. At the same time, we have never been this lost.
Meditation is made to divert unsolicited thoughts and stay present with yourself. But how about this alternative approach: it is designed to hinder distractions to stay present for others, either by listening closely or just being there for them. Every single coach in existence knows how to make you feel heard, or at least aspire to do so. And it is not you who decides that you are a good listener, it’s the person who you interact with and who will reward you with a big “Thank you for being there” in the aftermath of such a caring conversation. It is medically proven that mindfulness exercised for ourselves is multiplied by 10 if we do it for someone else.
The Lesson in Gratitude: writing in your journal that you are grateful for something is not it. Telling someone that you are grateful and thankful — that’s it. It’s much more powerful, and you’re sharing this Power with another human being.
Today, May 14th, we celebrate Mother’s Day. I was giving a speech in one public speaking club this morning and I wrapped up by saying: “Don’t wait for the perfect time to call your mom and say you love her — the gift of your time is the best gift”
And this is the message I want to leave you with: if you have it in you — just give, make someone better — because strangely, in the most miraculous manner — giving to someone selflessly brings benefits to us, fills us up with energy and the desire to live our life. Well, at least for me that's the case. (C.)