In Steve’s 3-minute coaching (check out his Training You Need blog) he refers to ‘distinctions’ which he defines as “subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude”. Rachel Naomi Remen, in the Belonging chapter of My Grandfather’s Blessings, makes a powerful distinction between fixing, helping and serving.
After reading the chapter, I found myself being more conscious of my frame of reference as I went about my day. When engaging with others and the world, I asked myself, “Am I fixing, helping, or serving here?” Often I caught myself wanting to ‘fix’ things, others, and mostly myself. I saw my underlying assumption: I am somehow broken. How empowering to make the shift to serving and reframing the question to “How can I best be of service to myself? What would enable me to see this from the point of view that I am whole and good?” I knew that if I could shift the viewpoint for myself, it would enable me to do the same for those my life touches.
“Seeing yourself as a fixer may cause you to see brokenness everywhere, to sit in judgment of life itself. When we fix others, we may not see their hidden wholeness or trust the integrity of the life in them. Fixers trust their own experience…Perhaps fixing is only a way to relate to things. Relating to another human being in this way is to deny and diminish in some profound and subtle way the power of the life in them and its mystery.”
“When we help we become aware of our strength because we are using it. Others become aware of our strength as well and may feel diminished by it…A helping relationship may incur a sense of debt…In helping, we may find a sense of satisfaction.
“Service is about taking life personally, letting the lives that touch yours touch you….Service, like healing, is mutual…in serving, we have an experience of gratitude…When we serve the unborn wholeness in others, we collaborate with it and strengthen it. Others may then be able to see their wholeness for themselves for the first time. Service is closer to generosity than it is to duty. It connects us to one another and to life itself. When we experience our connectedness, serving others becomes a natural and joyful thing to do. When you serve, your work itself will sustain you, renew you, and bless you…”