Generous: showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected; showing kindness toward others; larger or more plentiful than is usual
Everyone is generous at some point in his or her life; however, we are also stingy from time to time. It’s often a matter of what’s being asked of us, our level of available resources and our mind-set. I’m no exception, but I will say outright that I am not as generous as I should be and want to be. And it’s something I need to work on.
For the purpose of today’s post, rather the cover examples of how I’ve been or not been generous, I’d like to discuss why it is people often struggle with being generous. It comes down to a few key things — in my opinion:
- Fear: It is easy to be afraid to do something. Perhaps you feel you don’t have enough money or time to share, so you hold back rather than lend or donate. Or maybe when you’ve been too generous with someone in the past, they’ve taken advantage of the situation. (No judgment here; each person should determine what is best for for him or herself, or how to handle relationships with others).
- Laziness: Often, we want to be more generous, but don’t make this a priority because we forget to think about it. (Again, no judgment; we are all aware of our own selfless level of thinking about things outside our own realm).
- Unknowing: I’ve found people are unsure of how to be more generous or knowledgeable about the ways they can actually follow through on it. (Double again, no judgment; we’re not always shown or taught the way to find these options on our own).
- Exhaustion: At the end of the day, we’re so busy focusing on the things we NEED to do, we forget the things that we SHOULD do. That said, there is an argument for saying being generous is a NEED and not just a SHOULD. (Yup, you guessed it about judgment… sometimes we just have no energy left, I get it).
I’m sure there are other reasons, and perhaps they don’t fall into 1 of these 4 categories in the most appropriate way, but that’s where I’ve gotten to in my head on this topic. Let’s look at ways to improve how we are doing in these areas:
- Determine why you are afraid and either confront it, remove the roadblock or ignore it and move forward. Don’t stall or freeze by doing nothing.
- If it’s fear of being taken advantage, find ways to limit the impact back on you. Or choose to be generous with others and not with that person if for some reason (s)he always takes advantage of it.
- If it’s fear of doing something on your own, i.e. volunteering somewhere, find a buddy and go with someone else the first time.
- Make a note, send yourself an email or leave a reminder on your calendar to find 15 minutes a week where you do something for someone else — not just yourself.
- Associate something you love to do with a method for being generous. If you have a secret ice cream fetish and go every Tuesday night, tack on 15 minutes to (1) buy a cone for someone else (if you can afford it), (2) clean up some garbage in a park on the way to the ice cream store, (3) donate books to a shelter for someone to have the ability to read.
- Find something you love to do and figure out how to share it with someone else who doesn’t have access to it as easily as you do.
- Ask your friends, colleagues or acquaintances.
- Look it up on the internet. You obviously have access if you’re reading this post (not meant sarcastically!). Find something local that would work for you.
- Drive or walk around your neighborhood and see what is already there — or what’s missing. See how you can be of help.
- Think about your relationships… is someone is need of a friend a little more often? Could you buy someone lunch once a week if you know they are struggling financially to support him or herself?
- Schedule it. Block out 30 minutes a week, an hour a month, whatever works for you. Make it part of the routine, not something you do if you have free time.
- Start small. Increase as you can. Don’t take on too much at first.
- Save coins you don’t use until it adds up enough to buy a cup of coffee, a meal or a coat for someone else.
- Take a break from the things you don’t need to do every minute… don’t clean for 3 hours one day, only use 2 hours and save that last 1 hour for someone else who needs your help. Your house won’t fall apart. Another person can pitch in that last hour.
Here’s the deal (yikes, I’m sounding direct in this post when I really mean to just think aloud)… I have done maybe 10% of the things I just suggested. I’m not as generous as I should be. And just sitting here typing this kinda cements it for me. It’s time I became a bit of a better person. So my commitment to YOU — I will take on 2 new things (from what I’ve listed here) in the month of May. And I’ll report back to you (hold me accountable please) to review it. The good, the bad and the ugly.
With all that said, do you know of any other reasons besides these four (4) items that contribute to our lack of generosity with others? I’m flat out ignoring the fact that some people just don’t care to help others or be considerate. So reject that one!
Whether it’s giving more time, spending more money or being more open-minded, what stops you from being more generous? Or… tells us how you are a generous person and offer some suggestions on how we can be even better. Thanks!
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.