There is nothing wrong, dear reader, with being of service to others. In fact, you will not succeed in life if that isn’t your mentality, or you don’t know how to serve.
However, there is an equally fatal counter to that and that is being servile.
In colloquial terms, that is what we mean when we say someone is a “doormat” or a “pushover.”
Oftentimes, these two concepts will get confused and many well-intentioned women who are trying to be of service will end up being disrespected, looked down upon, and even used because they end up being servile instead.
“It’s easy to think that people will like you more if you do whatever they tell you to do, but it’s quite the opposite. People don’t appreciate pushovers – they use them.”
To be of service means that you have matured to the point where you understand that it is not all about you; this is what is meant by that phrase “the world doesn’t revolve around you.” It means that you get that other people come from different perspectives and viewpoints, and that what is most important to you personally is going to be different from what matters to someone else.
For example, if you were planning on going out together, but your significant other has an important meeting or exam the following day, you are mature enough to respect that and not take it personally.
It also means that you use your talents, gifts, and abilities to lift others up. In your career, that may mean you serve your clients by providing the most timely and quality service that you are capable of. It may mean that you make sure things run smoothly in your office and that those with whom you work can say that you make their jobs that much easier.
Being servile on the other hand, will get you no appreciation or respect, and it will only drain your own energy and feelings of self-worth. This is a quick indication for yourself – if you feel good about the contributions you are making, you are in the realm of service; if you feel resentment, you are in the realm of servitude.
An example of what servitude may look like:
You have told your significant other many times that you’d like help around the house; on a day when you are particularly tired from other commitments, you continue to contribute more than your “fair share” and don’t ask for what you need.
You have previous family or other obligations to meet, but you agree to put those on a lower priority when your boss asks you to stay late.
There is a remarkable difference. Service is next to godliness. Service requires respect, attention, devotion. Servers give aid or assistance, cooperatively, to someone in need, such as a guest. Those in service are subordinate only in the sense that servers watch over and preserve the activities that need to be directed by careful attention.
Servitude is completely at the other end of the spectrum, when the ego is under the thralldom of another against the will. Servitude is more akin to slavery or bondage. This distinction between service and servitude is elemental to the essence of hospitality and understanding the difference is key to successful service delivery.