Please Don’t Take My Helpfulness for Granted (Another Little Something on Service).
I’ve written on the subject of service on several occasions in the past, as this is a large part of the life I live, and is therefore something very near and dear to my heart. A couple times they were done as assignments, a couple times they were done just as my own personal exercise, or to get certain things off my chest. This is fortunately one of those times when it’s the last two instead of the first (not that there’s anything wrong with assignments, of course). What you’re about to read are merely things I feel are important. By no means am I in the business of telling people what or what not to do.
I don’t mind being told what to do; in fact if it’s with the right people I really rather enjoy it. I’m also at this point relatively upfront about who I am, and a problem with that is I occasionally encounter people who misinterpret my desire to serve a select few people with a desire, or even an “obligation,” to serve everyone. I get people who see me serve my owner, or maybe a good friend of hers, who then expect me to get them something when asked, or do something for them they could easily do themselves. I sense a bit of entitlement there and it’s not my favorite.
To me, being helpful and having a desire to serve are not the same things. I’ve always liked being able to help. It makes me feel useful, and that’s great, and usually it doesn’t really go beyond that. But there is a difference between doing something to give someone a hand, and doing something to serve. I love being given an order, knowing I can obey it, wanting to obey it to please someone or to make their life easier, and I love the satisfaction that comes from getting the job done. These are some of the things I look for in serving. If that feeling comes with seeing a smile, a sign of ease and comfort, or hearing a “thanks” or “good job,” that’s a bonus. In order for that magic to happen one thing that is really important is that I have a certain connection with the person I’m to obey: a connection that tells me that they are not telling me what to do because they think I’m less than; they’re not telling me what to do because they somehow feel they are entitled to; they are not telling me what to do because they think, “Hey, someone else gets to, why don’t I?” In order for me to feel that important connection, I need to know and to feel that you want me to do what you asked because even though you could done something yourself, it makes you feel good to ask me to do it and it makes you feel good that I wanted to do it.
It can’t just be me feeling the hunger and the drive to please you, and you being like, “thanks. You can go now.” I need to know in some way that you see how important this is for me, and that it’s that important for you too. The quality of the connection that we share is, for me, the difference between merely helping and performing a service. So, folks who feel they can ask me to carry your bags for you, or to grab you food because I’m into service: It’s not you; it’s not even me; it’s us!