The Satisfaction of Serving Others

I’ll admit that I am, by and large, very self-serving. I think we all are. I don’t know if it’s just the way I am or it’s just I’ve become hardened to others because of the way I’ve been treated in the past or what, but it is true. In some ways, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to help others and the satisfaction it brings.

Take this weekend as a perfect case in point. My intention was totally self-serving: go, get a new tattoo, check out some other artists’ work and interact with fellow inked folk about our tattoos and experiences. Whereas I did manage to achieve all that, for me the highlight of the convention was not something that directly benefitted me, but benefitted my artist.

Her mentor (a master artist of 20+ years experience and who also happens to be her father) was so impressed with the piece she did on me and how well she handled the pressure of tattooing at a convention (her first time tattooing at one!) that he promoted her from apprentice to journeyman. When I heard that I was absolutely over the moon for her. This is, after all, the fourth tattoo she’s done on me and I’ve been a fairly large part of her apprenticeship over the past 10 months.

In my opinion seeing her get a well-deserved and hard-earned promotion was the highlight of my trip Knowing that I helped her by merely making a little bit of a drive and being her first convention canvas is rewarding.

It really served as a reminder for me that life isn’t all about me, my pains, sorrows and/or suffering and sometimes the pursuit of happiness doesn’t mean being selfish. Don’t get me wrong, we all have to take care of ourselves and our own needs first (sorry, as beautiful as it sounds on paper altruism has its flaws), but true satisfaction comes not from serving ourselves, but from serving and helping others. That’s where we find meaning in this life.

I only hope I can (either actively or passively) continue to help others achieve their own success in this world. The convention served as the kick in the pants I needed and I realize I need to work to change my worldview. I’m the eternal pessimist admittedly (and I might always be), but I can learn to temper it with appreciating the good things such as this.

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