I firmly believe in the power of words -- what we say to ourselves and to others matters. Although I am not religious, I also value prayer. My favorite has always been The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi "Make me the instrument of your peace." It exemplifies service and selflessness.
Service to others is important, however so is creating balance. We are not just meant to give but to fully participate in the cycle of giving and receiving. Many of us will drop everything to help a friend but have a difficult time accepting help, support, and even compliments.
Giving without receiving creates imbalance, cuts off opportunities, depletes us, and robs others of the joy of giving to us.
Last year I heard a simple prayer that offered a remedy. "I ask to receive all the gifts you have for me today." These words affirm to our subconscious mind, the part of us that creates our life experience, that we believe we are worthy of receiving. These words hold no greed, no vanity, and no entitlement. They just indicate an openness to whatever the world has for us.
I began to say the prayer every day and it quickly shifted the lens through which I saw the world.
Saying, "I ask to receive all the gifts you have for me today" made me feel good. It heightened my awareness and gratitude for the many gifts that came my way on a daily basis. These gifts came in various forms such as appreciation, a compliment, a connection, or an opportunity.
Saying "I ask to receive" makes me feel humble, open, and abundant. I experience the unexpected which reminds me that I don't always have to do everything myself and that I am part of something greater.
This one prayer/affirmation takes less than five seconds a day, but has the ability to subtly shift the way we perceive the world. It becomes easier to see possibilities and find reasons to feel grateful. It also diminishes guilt around having needs or wants.
I still love serving others. I also make the effort to invite support, help, and gifts into my life. This balance brings greater joy, excitement, and peace than I could ever describe.
May you always do for others and let others do for you - Bob Dylan, Forever Young