Guest Post: Being SELF-ish, not SELF-less as the Path To True Service by Ann Cabano

As an instructor at a local holistic college, I have the great honor of witnessing the path of many adult students learning HOW to become greater people of service to other human beings.

They enter the classroom with the distinct idea they will graduate as a ‘healer’ for other individuals. But instead, something I refer to as the ‘divine-bait-and-switch’ occurs; they actually learn that the only person they can heal is themselves! 

“You come first, be selfish” I tell them, carefully weaving this notion of self care into their subconscious.

I share this belief, often met with quizzical disbelief, as a result of my own application of knowledge and experience AS a person of service. Showing up to the needs of others as divine witness is something that fuels my soul, and this passion has lead me to create rather grand scale opportunities to serve humanity.

This passion has also lead me to crash and burn. And in the past, when I crashed and burned, I sill kept giving of myself.

“If you are selfless…that is exactly what you are. Less of self.”

I go on to explain the difference between the selfish as they traditionally understand it to be and the YOU FIRST self care model.  When you take care of yourself first, no one gets left out. By taking the time to fill your own metaphorical cup, you create a surplus of flow from that cup. The best thing you can do for others is to serve from that surplus. You do not get drained, burnt out or stretched too thin because you are not giving from your own cup, but from the abundant flow spilling over. 

If you serve from a place of feeling diminished, tired, over stretched…then you are giving from a place of obligation. And giving from obligation is NOT true giving. How would YOU feel if someone showed up to help you ‘because they said they would’ rather than ‘because it fills their heart’ or it is something they want to do. Each has a completely different energy!

Instead, if those givers could shift their thinking a bit and consider being more SELF-serving, then obligatory giving would be stopped in its tracks.

Here are some concepts I like to share with these big hearted individuals:

1. You Medicine
You have a medicine that is a result of every experience, every situation, every trauma, every joy you have ever been through. Each event in your life has been an ingredient and has created an individual unlike any other individual. You do not have to effort to BE effective. You can show up just as you are, with no additional training, and be able to lovingly HELP another human being.

2. Learn To Say No
Do not agree to things that drag you down, make you sigh and roll your eyes. Stop saying you will do things that do not make your heart sing. Let another individual fill the order. NO is the most self honoring word you can say, because then you KNOW when you say YES, it will grow you as a powerful being of service. Everyone that ever calls on you will know that you only show up full force. Simple, honest, and authentic giving only. Talk about energetically trustworthy!

3. You Are A Tool
You are the tool, the tool of service and if your tool gets rusty, tarnished, caked up with muck and crud, you diminish the effectiveness of the tool. You MUST take care of the tool.

4. Be Alone
Spending time with your own thoughts allows you to HEAR your own thoughts. And this will reveal if you actually LIKE what you say. Learning our own perspective is powerful, it helps us to get honest with ourSELF, it helps us define and redefine as needed. Learn to listen to yourself, follow your own advice, trust your own instincts. When we learn to trust our own SELF, we become potent and powerful people of service.

5. If You Spot It, You Got It
It is a tough one for some individuals to admit that those things they do not like in others are mirrors for aspects they do not like in themselves. I guarantee that if you judge someone for something, there is a piece of that behavior, that energy, that persona within YOU. It can be a humbling experience to realize that every person is a reflection of you. 

6. Forgive
Every individual is doing the best they can with the emotional tools they have. That includes YOU. When we begin to understand that our ability to forgive has nothing to do with giving the BEHAVIOR permission to exist, but everything to do with choosing to not damage our OWN body, we can heal faster. Every moment you spend ruminating on how you have been wronged creates emotional scarring and baggage within YOU. Instead, forgive, and then take action to create the boundaries you need between you and the other individual, the situation or the emotion, and let it go. Stop making history a current event.

7. If You Spot It, You Got It part 2
EveryTHING you see in another individual also exists within you. Not just those icky things, as this concept also applies to the great things you see. Next time you admire someone, next time you think you love something about another human being, remind yourself that if you were not in vibrational alignment with that essence, you would NOT recognize it! 

8. Make Friends With Your Emotions
When a trigger occurs,  allow your self to get intimate with WHAT you are feeling. Understand the texture, the smell, the movement that is happening in your body. Observe how you react, how you act, what sensations are happening and where they are located in your physical form. Identify as many layers of feeling as you can. Once you KNOW how these feelings work, you will be able to manage them in a much more effective way. Give yourself permission to be HUMAN. Because these abstract, chemical reactions ARE what we all have in common. 

9. Be The Change
If you truly want to see others make a difference in their own lives, you must do the work first. Be the thing you want to see, the empowered individual, the compassionate human, the kindness you wish to spread. Be the self care warrior that not only shows others HOW to value their own worth, but actually gives THEM permission to become the thing THEY desire to see in the world. Be an example of someone that takes care of their own needs in order to serve others in the fullest, truest form of service. You can not lead someone to a place of healing, you yourself are not willing to go. 

10. Witness
People are allowed to be WHO they are, WHERE they are, and HOW they are. Stop trying to fix, change, and alter other people. Stop being attached to the outcome of their lives. It is their path, their lesson and their right to make mistakes. Instead, be a powerful witness and meet people exactly where they are. Offer them a safe place to exist authentically, to express fully, and to excavate deeply. Doing this will not only fill the individual, it will fill you as well because being WITH people, as they are, without taking their choices personally, without taking responsibility for their life is good medicine. 


Ann Cabano is an advocate for humanity, giving voice to the human experience. As a documentary film maker, spiritual life coach and founder of the advocacy organization Lovealution, Ann hopes to spread her message of love through creativity, outreach and human connection.




Contact: 480.216.6287

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