Cultivate Generosity: Why and How
There’s a girl we will call Anna. Being naturally beautiful, intelligent, kind, sweet, and respectful, it is no surprise that men are drawn to her. Among the many interested guys are two determined suitors—John and Brent. At a glance, Brent has all the edge against John. He can steal every girl’s heart with his handsome face, muscular body, manly voice, popularity, and his luxurious car.
John, on the other hand, although less attractive than Brent, is still cute and charming. Looking like a college dean’s lister, he wears eyeglasses, simple preppy clothes, and those same pair of shoes you’ll see the whole year round and the next ones to come. You’ll see him smiling sheepishly when you happen to come across each other down the street.
One day, Anna saw John leaving a basketful of groceries at the doorstep of one of his neighbors. She then found out that the homeowner is an old, sickly widow living alone. She learned that John visits her every now and then to bring her groceries, do necessary repairs in her home, or just to converse with her.
Meanwhile, when Brent asked her out to a fancy restaurant, she was surprised at how easy he would lose his patience over some minor mistakes. When the waiter placed a wrong order, he shouted at him, calling him “stupid”. When his mother called him to ask him pick up the groceries for her, he rudely complained he was on a date and said she should rather ask his brother to do it for her.
If you were in Anna’s shoes, who would you fall for? Apparently, seeing John’s kindness and his small acts of generosity would make your heart melt. On the other hand, Brent’s rudeness and selfishness made his good looks superficial—you won’t even consider dating him anymore!
What do we learn from that? We humans are naturally attracted to kindness and generosity, whereas selfishness can immediately disappoint us. This article explains how to identify a selfish person. However, cultivating generosity is more than just wanting to appear attractive. It should be compelled by the right motives. Doing so makes generosity very beneficial not just to others but to the person showing this quality himself.
Why Cultivate Generosity
While the generosity of imperfect humans cannot completely eradicate the world’s biggest problems such as poverty, war, corruption, sickness, and death, doing so can at least improve the lives of people around us. If we strive to be kinder and more generous from the heart, we ourselves benefit from it.
You may notice that when you willingly give your time, money, kind words, talents and skills for the benefit of other people, you feel a sudden warm glow in your heart. You may even feel like your heart is leaping with joy. But that’s not mere coincidence. Several scientific studies on the link between generosity and happiness have been conducted already. It has been found out that you don’t need to do big, heroic acts to feel happy. Rather, small acts of generosity are enough to ignite inner feelings of joy. Read more about that here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-athletes-way/201707/small-acts-generous-behavior-can-make-your-brain-happier
How to Practice Giving
There’s a pitfall you should be careful about though: Giving out of selfish motives. A person can be so generous just to subtly display his wealth. He may as well want to draw another people’s attention to himself. One may support charities too in order to get big deductions from his taxable income. In fact, there were some businesses tagged as “too charitable”. Apparently, some business owners have claimed to be very generous in supporting charities. Yet, it might just be a front they use to obtain more money for themselves or sweep some controversies under the rug.
Clearly, that’s not the kind of giver that we want to see. We are disappointed whenever we see hypocrisy. On the other hand, we want to practice generosity out of honest and noble intentions. That’s the kind of giving that people would appreciate and the kind of generosity that would truly give happiness to the giver. Also, being generous means that it is done out of passion and one’s own initiative. Anyone who is coerced to give something to another person would find it a bit challenging to be genuinely happy.
What are some steps you can take to be more generous every day?
- Be generous of your time. Be a true friend and make yourself available to listen, to care, and to help other people when they need you.
- Be generous of your energy. Do you know someone who is a single mom? Maybe you can volunteer to look after her child. Could you visit someone who is sick or old, perhaps cook meals for her or shop for groceries?
- Share your knowledge, talents and skills. Perhaps, you know something about making accessories, t-shirt printing, selling stuff online, doing artsy works—whatever it is you can do to get some funds for your volunteer work, be willing to share it to others. They might as well give you a hand with your desire to be more generous to others in need. Check out some more fundraising ideas you might be interested in.
- Be kind with your words. Make others feel better by talking to them with genuine interest, compassion, empathy, tact, and respect.
- Spend some of your material resources for others’ needs. A person who is genuinely generous makes efforts to share what he already has rather than soliciting money from other people, worse still, coercing them to donate some funds.
Generosity is a great quality. When we cultivate genuine kindness and generosity, our personality becomes more beautiful. Also, we are able to make others happy including ourselves. So, practice giving from the heart. Do small steps every day!