Serve Yourself | Being Parental | Being Human | Mindfulness Anywhere = Everywhere | Boundaries

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No. 6 – Serve Yourself As Practice For Serving The World

The golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – that permeates so many wisdom traditions.

And seems to neatly sum up our imperative of being alive on this earth and needing to live with other humans well.

But it needs to work both ways: do unto yourself as you would have them do unto you.

Because you’re probably not in the habit of treating yourself very well, are you now?

And if your standards for how you treat yourself aren’t very high, then they are less likely to be carried over to your treatment of others.

How you treat yourself is practice for how you treat the world.

Service to anything outside of you – job, cause, spiritual path – always begins with service to yourself.

This will also make you more resilient to any criticism you may receive along the way.

You won’t resent people for confirming all the lies you’ve been telling yourself about your deficiency all along.

No. 7 – Be Parental

Someone can only bother you if you give them the credibility to do so.

So a child could say something to you that’s absolutely ruthless, but it’s easy to play them off as innocent and non-threatening.

An adult could say the same thing and it could penetrate you to your very core.

The only difference?  

You’ve given yourself a reason to believe them.

Somehow you’re convinced they’re wise enough to know who you are.

That’s why friends and family can get under our skin most because we believe they know us the best.

But no matter their age or relationship to us, any critical or inconsiderate words from someone are coming from their own place of discontent and uncertainty about their own lives.

You aren’t responsible for this – or anything – except your own sense of who you are.

So you can view anyone’s criticism or hostility as a parent would to a child: not threatened, but compassionate.

They’re upset, meet them there.  Not from a place where they have the power to threaten who you are.

No. 8 – Remember To Be Human…Or Machines Will Replace You

People are worried about their jobs being replaced by AI

The service industry is definitely a candidate here.

You can pretty much order anything on an iPad right?

Someone has to bring the food, eventually just a robot arm could do that.

But the only people that need to worry about this are people that serve robotically.

Eventually they’re just going to get replaced by a better robot.

Because the basic functionality and script of what they’re doing is pretty easy: 

“Still or sparkling water?”

“Would you like another glass.”

An easy thing to program.

But people are seeking more than that.

They seek connection with someone that cares.

What will make you irreplaceable by a machine: putting caring intentionality into anything.

And it doesn’t require a lot of fanfare.

You can say and do the same things that a machine does, but with the right intentionality behind it, it elevates the person you are serving.

So I think about this in every moment: the way I’m showing up, can a machine replace it?

No. 9 – Mindfulness Anywhere = Everywhere

So there’s probably areas of your life you think are important

Like things you’re passionate about – and you devote your care and attention to those things when you’re doing them.

But most of the rest of your life probably consists of trivial areas that you don’t think deserves a mindful approach.

You just don’t think to be mindful when you’re eating or brushing your teeth.

But how you do anything is how you do everything.

So set up triggers and reminders – in the areas that are normally neglected by your caring attention – to do these things with your fullest of self that is possible.

And you will find, as a result, everything you do that is important to you gets elevated since you have been practicing being attentive everywhere else.

Mindfulness is a muscle that always needs to be worked out.

Rather than just conditionally applied to areas that you’re told yourself are more important…when they’re aren’t necessarily.

No. 10 – Boundaries Free You

Establishing boundaries between yourself and others frees you to connect with them.

Now I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it works.

And it’s not just because you can delight in finding “sameness in difference” or whatever.

No, it’s an accountability boundary.

They’re responsible for how they feel and you’re responsible for how you feel.

So you can’t be a victim of their actions and words.

Also you can’t be a victim of your own self-criticism because someone’s feeling some way or acting some way and you think, somehow, you caused it, you’re responsible for it.

No, everyone’s state is of their own creation.

And if they’re being reactive, critical, mean towards you then that is the result of the legacy of experiences they had before, not some deficiency in you.

Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be considerate of others.

It’s the opposite, it’s the basis of compassion and understanding – free of your own defensiveness and victimhood.