How often do we talk about Generosity? We talk about Kindness a lot and kindness and generosity often go together. Can you be Generous without being Kind?
Is Generosity a universally known language of kindness?
“Generosity is the act of being kind, selfless, and giving to others.
“Generosity is a good thing for our mental health and well-being because when we give to someone we care about, we make it more likely for them to give to us, making us more likely to give to them, and so on. As a result, regions of our brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust light up, making us feel all warm and gooey inside.”
What stops us from being generous? This article continues to explain how we as humans are naturally generous but our brain takes over and rationalizes why we shouldn’t be generous because of a scarcity mindset, that there is not enough. I am definitely guilty of having this scarcity mindset.
So how do I rewire my brain not to have this scarcity mindset and become more generous?
1. Plan it!
Put generosity in your budget. Plan to help others with even just 1% of your budget and then keep working your way up and keep increasing that percentage. When you give to others, it’s like you are giving to God. The Creator of those wonderful humans to whom you are showing generosity towards.
I recently observed a wonderful act of generosity, when friends anonymously placed some money into another friend’s toque when he wasn’t looking. It brought my heart joy and made me proud that these friends intentionally sought to bless this other family!
2. Do it without judgment
Don’t get bogged down in the details of whether the recipient deserves your generosity or if they are just going to waste your generosity on something foolish.
Sometimes we talk ourselves out of acts of generosity by making justifications about why we shouldn’t be generous. Like for example, "They didn’t really need or deserve that money anyway." However, there is a bible verse that says “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9: 7b). I don’t know that it says, God loves a discerning or judgmental giver. One who weighs the pros against the cons of giving on the justice scales and then decides whether the receiver is worthy of their gift of generosity. I would hate to be the one that was weighed, judged and deemed not worthy of receiving generosity. I love being on the receiving end of generosity. Being the giver also feels good!
3. Be generous in non-monetary ways
For example, give food instead of money. Especially, if you are concerned that the funds may be misspent on something foolish or harmful. Giving a meal to an elderly person is easy. So is shoveling a sidewalk. It doesn’t have to be money. You can be generous with your time or talents instead.
4. Give the Gift of Encouragement:
You can freely give encouragement and heartfelt compliments to uplift others. Especially during this pandemic, when mental health is so fragile with the ever changing policies and restrictions. Show patience and kindness sprinkled with encouragement. I assume that we are already doing this unintentionally, whether that’s dropping off a gift for a friend, getting them a coffee or listening to them vent about a frustration or disappointment. However, can you imagine what our world would look like or what our community would look like if we did this with intention!
5. Start with your own heart
Ask God, how can I show kindness and generosity to someone today. What are the precursors to becoming a more generous person? Positive thinking is a precursor to generosity because
"positive emotions—like gratitude, joy, or awe—make us more likely to give. The happier we feel when we give, the more likely we are to give to others again in the future. And the more grateful we are, in general, the more we enjoy the experience of witnessing other people benefiting from our gifts. So if we're having a hard time being more generous, we can benefit from developing our positive thinking skills.”
Does anyone remember that episode on Friends where Joey was arguing with Phoebe that there is no selfless act that isn't selfish because by feeling good about being generous, we still get something out of it, so it's inherently selfish?!
What do you think? Even if we were to be "selfish" by being "selfless", wouldn't that be benefit more people and make the world a better place?
And if we looked at the happiness quotient, it would lead to us being more happier in the long term. When we buy something for ourselves, it’s short lived happiness but when we buy something for someone else, we are often thinking about their reaction and how they’ll feel!
Recently, I was personally surprised with a generous gift contribution for one of my 7 Giveaways Gifts and it just blew me away how generous that individual was! I had purchased all the other giveaway gifts myself. I didn't feel deserving of this generosity. I was so surprised and it took my breath away! It moved me to tears!
I feel even more grateful about God's free gift of Generosity towards humanity every year when I celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas! Jesus, God's biggest gift of Love and Generosity in sending His son to die for me, an undeserving recipient!
Thank you baby Jesus!
My acts of generosity and kindness will never ever come close to God's but these acts change my heart, which is what God wants for me!
Now Go and Be Intentional in Generosity!!