Talk given by Breia Tullis :“We reach out and serve in our homes, communities, and the world.” From the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations on March 14, 2017.
Ever since Breia Tullis was young, she has been looking for ways she can serve and make others smile. She has been on many service projects, and in different leadership positions, that have helped her succeed. She loves being outside in the mountains with her family and being surrounded by those she loves. She feels honored to be a part of Big Ocean Women, and has loved being able to learn and grow from the amazing examples of these mentors. She hopes she will be able to touch the lives of others all around her for the better through this experience, but also in her everyday life, in her home and community.
From a very young age I was taught many things in the home such as how to smile, how to talk, how to walk, how to ride a bike, how to laugh and how and to love and so much more. But one of the biggest things I learned in my home was how to serve. I saw my parents and grandparents constantly serving and slowly I started following their example. At first I didn’t really understand why I wanted to follow their example, but I did know that when they served me it made me happy. I guess I wanted to share that feeling. Later on, I discovered some clear reasons for my wish to serve; 1) I learned that serving others not only makes them happy, but it brings me great joy. 2) I learned that service brings people together, forming perhaps otherwise unlikely, but extremely satisfying friendships. 3) I learned that service has helped me find my true self–I am discovering and developing my strengths by focusing on others.
I would like to briefly tell you about a personal experience I had last spring. I had the opportunity to work closely with a humble and hard-working medical Doctor from Ecuador. He organized and arranged for a group of students and parents to come to his country to help him build a free medical clinic that would serve the population he daily labors to provide healthcare to. This experience solidified my love for serving others and illustrates these points beautifully.
Point number 1: Serving others gives you joy. I felt joy I had never felt before as I served those wonderful people. I felt joy as I worked harder than I knew I was capable of. I felt joy as I saw the delight on the faces of the beautiful people of Ecuador. Serving brings joy. Arnold Schwarzenegger said,“Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.” (end quote) There is something so genuinely rewarding about reaching out and serving. It’s almost as if your body and mind knows how rewarding it is, and it’s excited about the benefits in store for you, so you feel happy.
Point number 2: when you are serving together with a team or group, the group becomes closer, friendships develop and you begin to work better together. At first when we began hauling cement posts up a steep muddy hill, it didn’t work terrifically because we weren’t communicating or working together very well. But soon we were able to figure it out, and got it down to a science. Not only that but I was able to learn more about my team and we all became like a family. Even now if I am put in a group at school with the people who went to Ecuador with me, we can pump out the assignment so fast, because we understand each other and the ways we work. And they are still my best friends. You really grow to love those you serve with and those you serve. Learning to love and work with other people is a skill that leads to future success. Les Brown demonstrates this perfectly by saying,“Help others achieve their dreams, and you will achieve yours.”
Point number 3: You build personal character and self-worth as you serve. A wise religious leader once said, “The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others-indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!” (end quote)
Before we left for Ecuador I was not in a great place emotionally. I was down a lot and I felt like my life was falling apart. But as I reached out to the Ecuadorians and the people I was with, my own problems seemed smaller and didn’t seem to matter so much anymore. The more time I spent digging holes and carrying cement, the happier I was knowing that this work would be helpful to someone. I have never smiled more in one week as I smiled there. And many of my friends who went have told me the same thing. My friends all want to go back because they think that it was Ecuador itself that made them feel like they could move mountains. But I know the real reason.
We can move mountains when we are moving them for someone else. One of the most powerful ways we can come to find our true selves is through reaching out and serving. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
My tenet is “We reach out and serve in our homes, communities, and the world.” Many may not see the benefit of service, because we cannot always see what we get out of it and in this day and age we often feel the need to see our personal gain at the outset. “I WANT TO CHANGE THAT!!!” The beauty of serving is that you are doing something you will never regret. Through service you can find a joy that transcends anything money can buy. You make powerful, deeply satisfying friendships that last. You learn more about yourself through service than in any other way. You are leaving a legacy worth telling. Life is about growing and learning, loving and caring. If you spent one hour a day lending a hand to someone, how much different and more meaningful would your life be? Who would your friends be, how would they treat you, how would you treat yourself?
There is a Chinese saying that goes like this: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Thank you.