One of the most important questions that we could ever ask ourselves is this:
Am I of value to others?
That is, if we ask it for the right reasons. Too often, we ask this question to know if people see us the way we want them to see us. We’re distracted by our own little narratives of self and in being the heroes of our own stories (I know I was.)
In other words, the question is a reflection of our inner desires: “I hope people see me as important, successful, and ultimately, valuable.”
The problem with this is that if we always want to be seen as valuable, it means that we ultimately believe that we aren’t. When we crave importance and significance from others, we stunt our growth as individuals. Why? Because, in our hearts, we reinforce the notion that we are not enough. That we will never be enough until others love us the way we want to be loved and see us the way we want to be seen. And so, we completely miss the point of the question.
It’s not “Do others value me the way I want to be valued?”
It should be “Am I helping others, serving others, and being a source of light and hope for them?”
When we shift the motives of our hearts towards being a servant to the people around us, we discover two things:
- “Giving away my life actually adds to it.” There’s a certain kind of joy that we experience when we let go of our selfish ambitions; a certain kind of freedom that comes only from believing that we are whole and loved as it is. And there’s a certain kind of fulfillment from fighting the good fight, and continually choosing to believe that “I am made whole and complete, and I don’t need anything else in life to prove it.”
- “Putting others before myself automatically makes me important to them.” Something happens when we serve others and help them achieve their goals. When we move them towards the right direction at the cost of our time and energy. And that “something” is this: we implicitly say “You are important to me, and I care about you.”
This grace is a powerful thing, especially in light of the naturally selfish culture of the world. When you sacrifice for others, you are building relationships that transform them for the better.
It took a while, but I learned that I would rather be a simple servant, giving away my time and energy for the benefit of everyone I care about, rather than always wanting for them to see me the way I want them to. You don’t need to be merely seen as valuable; you can actually live a life of meaning and value, because you already truly are.