How does generosity fit with the theme of gratitude? Generosity is the act of giving unto others. By giving to others, you express your thankfulness and gratitude to them. It doesn’t matter whether your act is reserved for a specific person or is on a larger scale such as your community or your country. When you give of your time or money to another, you are showing your gratitude for others. Let’s not forget that when you are generous unto others, the world will be generous unto you.
Think back for a moment. When was the last time you were generous unto another? How did it make you feel? You probably felt pretty good about the act. Now, think about a time when you could have been generous but chose not to. How did that make you feel? Not so good?
I’ve got a few examples of both choosing to give and opting to not give and how I felt after these instances. This summer, when we were at the pool, one of my children’s friends didn’t have money for a snack. I gave my son money to purchase a snack for his friend. My son was grateful, and his friend was thankful for the generosity. Moreover, I was grateful that my son was concerned about his friend and wanted to see his friend happy. Even though it was a very small offering, I felt good about providing him money for a snack. He’s not my only generous child. My daughter also likes to give others food. A few weeks ago, I let her take cookies with her to dance class because seeing her generous spirit is happiness for my soul. Furthermore, I will gladly go out of my way to help a friend as it makes me feel content to help others.
On the other hand, this morning, I saw a man who was asking for money on the off ramp on my way to work. Two people in front of me gave money, but I decided not to. I was heart warmed to see their generosity. However, I still opted not to do the same even though I had money in my purse. Furthermore, I felt bad about not giving him money.
So, why didn’t I? I didn’t because even though it was daylight at a busy intersection, I was by myself and must be cautious about being a woman stopping to give money to a man. It didn’t feel safe to expose myself to potential danger. I’m saddened by my decision not to give, because generosity feels good, but I had a stronger desire to protect myself. I wish I didn’t have to live in a world where that thought entered my mind. Nevertheless, it did. That being said, I will be on the lookout for another opportunity to express my gratitude and generosity so that I can help another.
Do you struggle with giving? Here’s some tips to help get you in that generous frame of mind.
It doesn’t matter whether you are giving of your time or out of your wallet; even if you only have a dollar to give – it helps. Don’t make it difficult or complicated. All you need to do is to have a mindset of generosity and start giving. You can volunteer to help at a church, a food pantry, or even donate some old clothes or household goods to people or organizations in need. Everything adds up and giving feels rewarding. Be intentional and make generosity a daily practice.
How much do you spend on crap you never use again? I know for me it is way too much; especially on my kids. They have toys that they’ve only played with one time. How much more beneficial would it be if I saved that money and donated it to someone in need? A ton. Even giving away old and used toys can be helpful to someone who has nothing. Save the money that you would have wasted and give it to others. How about your time? Do you spend too much time watching TV? Why not use that time to volunteer in some way?
Again, it comes down to gratitude. If you practice gratitude, you will have an appreciation for what you have. Additionally, you will begin to recognize when others don’t have the same benefits that you do. As you recognize that others are lacking, you can provide for their needs – whether it is a hug, an open door, a thank you, a smile, a listening ear, a homecooked meal, or some extra money.
Meditation helps to increase your gratitude. How? Through meditation, you can boost your compassion and empathy for yourself and others. Consequently, you increase your gratitude and generosity towards others.
Tap into Your Creativity
You don’t have to stick to traditional forms of being generous. There are more opportunities in your community than the local food bank or picking up trash along the highway. You can collect hygiene items for women’s shelters, donate clothing to a women’s and children’s treatment center, crochet hats for babies in hospitals, or create art and donate to charities for auctions. Use your imagination to find ways to use your creativity to express your generosity within your community. If nothing in your community speaks to you, start your own project.
Be True to Yourself
When you choose what to be generous towards, be sure it is something you connect with. The more you get behind the project, the more positive feelings you will have. When you support something that you aren’t passionate about, you won’t stick with it. You need to connect with your cause to get the biggest benefit.
How do you feel when you are generous unto others?
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