How do you feel when you are in the grocery store running late for an appointment and a person with three items walks up behind you in line? For me, there is an internal struggle. On one hand, I think, “I was here first and I’m already pressed for time!” On the other hand, I think, “I have around fifty items and she has three.”
At this point, I have a choice. I can continue in line and let her wait as I have every right to do or I can spread a little kindness and let her jump in front of me. By the time I’m done loading my groceries onto the conveyor belt, she’ll likely be done and gone anyway! ~smile~
Something as simple as saving a stranger ten minutes can have an impact. Yes, there are still kind, considerate people in the world. Not only that, but it makes us feel good too. ~smile~ Taking our eyes off of ourselves does feel good!
Today is Inconvenience Yourself Day! What are some practical ways you can put your own needs to the side for a moment to help someone else? How can you and your sweetie take this concept and make it a way of life?
Inconvenience Yourselves Together
Wouldn’t it be awesome if inconveniencing yourselves for the sake of others became a habitual part of your relationship? Make a concerted effort to prioritize other people’s needs – not to the neglect of each other, but to sacrifice some of your free time to make the world a better place for someone else.
Some people will have an easier time fostering this habit than others. My personality lends me to think of other people’s needs more often – sometimes to fault. It’s just the way I’m wired. It has nothing to do with me being inherently good (because I assure you I am not).
Eric’s personality is forward-thinking and once he has his eye on a prize, he runs after it with all speed. He doesn’t stop to look to the left or right. He’s gone! It’s not because he’s viciously self-centered. He’s just wired as an driving achiever. He cares about other people’s needs too and he seeks to help them through his coaching.
So, we’re different. And he needs me and I need him. I need him to think of unique ways to serve others because he’s full of great ideas. He needs me to remember to approach some situations softly. Together, we can be a great team. He can help us think of ways to inconvenience ourselves (future thinking) and I can help execute the plans when the time is right (present thinking). If you and your sweetie both want to lead a more selfless life together, you will find a way to make it work.
Inconvenience Yourselves at Least Once Per Week
Start slow. Commit to inconveniencing yourselves once per week. These sacrifices can be as small as bringing groceries to a sick friend. Sometimes we need to pull ourselves out of our own little world. It’s not that we don’t care about others. More often than not, we just get caught up in our own thoughts, concerns, and obligations. It does not always occur to us that our friends and neighbors have needs we can meet.
As you get in the habit of looking for opportunities to give, you can pick up the pace and volunteer whole work days or weekends to labor intensive service projects.
Pick Three Uncomfortable Service Projects
I’m not suggesting that you and your sweetie take on unsafe projects, but ones that require you both to step out of your comfort zones. This could be working at a soup kitchen, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, or working with kids just to name a few.
Make a long list of at least thirty ways you could inconvenience yourselves for a worthy cause. From that list, agree on three projects you would like to join, or organize and execute, this year. Volunteer work has obvious benefits. It makes us feel valuable. It creates opportunities for those who will benefit from it. It chips away at our self-centeredness. A less obvious benefit is what it can do for relationships.
Our tendency to look out for number one is magnified when we get into a serious relationship, and especially after we get married. “But, what about me. What about my needs? Why haven’t you done enough for me? Me. Me. Me. Me. Me!!!” Getting out of our own minds and laboring for someone we don’t even know creates a mental shift. Suddenly our “needs” don’t seem quite as important. Get out of your own mind this year, inconvenience yourselves, and see your relationship blossom as a result of this new habit! ~smile~
What is one small way you can inconvenience yourself for someone today?