Discerning between SERVING and PLEASING

Serving and pleasing are separated by a fine line. For example, I thought that I was serving my mom by giving her a blank check every month without considering the consequences in my budget. Why would I do something like that in my own detriment? Because I needed to please her, I needed her approval, and I was terrified of disappointing her. It looked like I was being a good daughter, but the reality is that I was growing in resentment at the same time that I was disabling her. I created the false expectation that I could take care of her with unlimited resources. When my finances changed, I had to put her on a budget in order to survive. I wondered then, what’s the difference between SERVING and PLEASING?
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1. Serving requires HONEST FEEDBACK—saying to my mom, for example, that I disliked supporting her finantially. Pleasing hides behind the fear of disapproval, hence removing the possibility of being honest with one another.
2. Serving doesn’t require SELF SACRIFICE. It equally benefits the server and the served because it comes from acceptance instead of judgment. In my case, I judged my mom for not being able to gain her financial independence; but instead of telling her the truth, I decided to please her, which perpetuated my position of provider and hers of a dependent.
3. Serving requires a STRONG CENTER—knowing what does and does not work for us. We cannot give what we don’t have. This truth inspires me to focus in my self-knowledge so I can better serve.
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I think that pleasing is a natural step toward serving, one cannot happen without the other.
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I eventually gave my mom an allowance and a salary for her work in my business. My anxiety disappeared when looking at my credit card statement, and my mom became enthusiastic about finding new sources of income. We had finally arrived to a sustainable and mutually beneficial place.

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