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Service vs. Servitude

Last week’s full moon in Libra was, astrologically speaking, a time to look at how we put ourselves in service, a very Libran quality, and how we give ourselves over to servitude, the shadow side of Libra. What’s the difference between service and servitude? Service is an act that comes willingly from the heart and serves those in need. Opening the door for an elderly person who needs a cane to walk is an act of service. Providing meals for the homeless is an act of service. Servitude, on the other hand, is an act performed for someone that they could do themselves but for whatever reason choose not to. They may not want to do it. They may neglect doing it. They may think it is beneath them to do it. In previous eras it was a slave working the fields of the master. In modern eras, even though they are paid, even a bellhop is working in servitude when they are carrying bags for someone who is perfectly capable of doing it him/herself but would rather pay someone else to do it for them instead.

A more subtle form of servitude that on the surface may not appear to be of servitude is the co-worker who didn’t do their job, so you had to pick up their slack. You’re a CNA. Your co-worker didn’t give your patient their scheduled bath during the previous shift. Now the nurse is asking you to do it in addition to all your normally assigned duties. First, you question why you have to do it at all. But, grudgingly, you get it done. You know it wasn’t your responsibility, but something inside compelled you to do it anyway because you knew it was the right thing to do. Maybe you felt compassion for the patient who didn’t receive the care they deserved. Maybe you didn’t want to push back against your supervisor. Maybe you wanted to protect the reputation of the medical facility. On some level, you felt it was the right thing to do. But at the same time, you also felt resentment at best, anger at worst, toward the co-worker who dumped this on you and the supervisor who essentially poured salt in the wound by forcing you to do something your gut was telling you was not your responsibility. What is that gut feeling about? You know it’s not right. You know you are not being treated fairly. You feel guilty for feeling anger and resentment. Why these negative feelings when you think it’s the right thing to do? Service vs. service.

When you see someone genuinely struggling, your immediate reaction may be to rush to their assistance and help. But if someone wants you to do something only because they don’t want to do it themselves, your reaction is probably quite different. Doing something for someone who is truly in need feels a lot different than being asked to do something for someone because they are too lazy to do it themselves. Essentially we abandon ourselves when we are unable to set the boundary, stand up for ourselves, and say “No.” Service vs. servitude.

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About the Author

Tammy is stepping into her light and embracing her call to serve as an Integrative Coach Professional. Having studied spiritual self-help topics for years, divine timing led her to Debbie Ford’s books and inspired her to begin her own transformation. She completed a rigorous 15-month coaching training program through The Ford Institute for Transformational Training. Tammy’s life then shifted dramatically. She moved across continents, changed careers, and created an inspiring life that has liberated her to be a fully expressed person. Tammy resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest city of Portland, Oregon. She enjoys yoga, astrology, theatre, long walks, the beach and, of course, good food … especially ice cream!