During my lifetime, I have come to accept certain realities. I am ultimately responsible for my decisions and choices. With this realization, I also understand that each person is responsible for his or her decisions and choices. As I have considered this truth, I have determined to learn from both my choices and the decisions that I make each day. As I learn, I grow in my experience, strength and hope. My experience has been the collection of many learning curves.
The strength that I possess comes through the solutions that I have obtained through those learning curves. When I interact with other people, I can share my experience and strength with them. As I share the solutions that I have gained through my learning curves, I am able to provide hope to those who listen. Hope inspires each one of us to dare to believe that we too can find solutions through our learning curves. As each person is committed to the process of looking for solutions rather than living in the problem they in turn are able to share from their experience strength and hope. As more people gain hope through finding creative solutions, they will in turn provide hope.
When people have hope, they can encourage hope in other people.
As I continue to dedicate myself to the pursuit of excellence, I am empowered in ways that once seemed to be out of my grasp. Consequently, my pursuit of excellence motivates me to be to be of maximum service to the God of my understanding. Being of service to God means that I will seek to serve my fellow man/woman. Service to others can impact their lives in different ways. In my experience, I have found that service toward others can head down two different roads. One road leads to empowerment, while the other road perpetuates dependence. Empowerment encourages the individual to look for solutions that work for them. Dependence cultivates an entitlement mindset and a victim mentality. Personal accountability is dismissed because somebody else is always responsible.
In my post, Flight of the Butterfly, I use a development of a small insect. Promoting dependence would be like helping the fully developed butterfly to escape from its cocoon. We may think that we are being kind to the butterfly, but in reality we are hastening its demise. Science has proven that if the butterfly does not exert adequate force to break free from the cocoon, its wings will not be strengthened to fly far above the ground. Although we may believe that our assistance has helped the butterfly to escape its confinement, the butterfly’s fate would be sealed. Either we would have to continue to care for the butterfly or watch the butterfly as it falls to the ground.
Empowerment motivates the individual to look for creative solutions, where as enabling creates dependence that may never be satisfied. Yes we need to depend on God to supply our needs, but we also need to do the footwork. Footwork invariably brings the individual to a place where solutions and resources become available. Dependency on the other hand promotes learned helplessness. Consequently,
I believe that service needs to be geared to empowering each individual that we serve. I also believe that true and viable service can be summed up in this statement. If a person comes to you hungry and you give him a fish to eat, he will be satisfied today. If you teach him how to fish, he will never be hungry another day in his life. If my service to others is merely about handing out fish, I am limiting both those I serve and myself. Conversely, when my service to others results in them learning how to fish, success meets reality and empowerment becomes a way of life.
In conclusion my journey as a traumatic brain injury survivor has led me to accept that I have specific talents, gifts and abilities, as well as specific limitations. In this awareness, I am free to contribute from what has been given to me, while accepting that I have limitations. As I am empowered, I can be used to empower. On the other hand, if I am not being empowered, I will seek to enable with hidden agendas. My goal will be to get, rather than to give. Practically speaking, I will continue to hand out fish, while hoping someone will see that I need a fish too. Service will then turn into self-serving and no one will truly benefit.
If you have any questions or would like to make a comment please use my Contact Information Page. I look forward to hearing from you.
You may receive more articles like this one by Subscribing to Second Chance to Live
Bookmark and Share Second Chance to Live with your friends Subscribe in a Feed Reader
All material presented on Second Chance to Live is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND