'Tis the season for gratitude and giving. As Thanksgiving wraps up and we enter into another holiday season it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of consumption. Focusing on all of the things we need to do, get and be can transform us into a force moving at full speed outside of the present moment. We continue getting, while we forget that giving is a key component to a wholehearted life.
Generosity is a quality that’s a lot like unselfishness. Someone showing generosity is happy to give time, money, food, or kindness to people in need. Generosity can take forms beyond monetary or material things, particularly that of the spirit.
Our brains are heard wired to give. When we give, no matter how big or small the gesture, joy is released. Oxytocin is a powerful brain chemical that has a number of uses in our bodies. Research says the neurochemical gives us feelings of warmth toward others, and it’s one of the chemical bases for our enjoyment of giving. A late-night session of board games with good friends or hugging a companion produces an oxytocin rush. Acts of compassion spur our bodies to create more oxytocin, which encourages even more compassion, more generosity,
In generosity, there is a wider perspective in which we see our connection to all others. There is a humility that recognizes our place in the world and acknowledges that at another time we could be the one in need, whether that need is material, emotional, or spiritual.
A generous spirit is not about giving when it is easy to do or because you can. It is not about doing a good dead so you feel better about yourself or so you can impress others. Having a generous spirit actually has very little to do with giving at all. It is a way of living that allows a person to see another’s humanity. A generous spirit gives us a new lens with which to view the world, a fresh perspective by which to see our interconnectedness.
A generous spirit helps us to see beyond the fear and judgement that often comes as a part of being human. Those feelings driven by the ego can be put aside and replaced with love when we are operating from a spirit of generosity. We may not have anything of value monetarily to give but we can send good thoughts, positive vibes, love and light from inside us to others in need. It may not sound like it makes a difference, but those things can be just as real when we are trying to bridge the gap in humanity, we can feel the good intentions and high vibrations of others.
The popular quote said by Mother Teresa comes to mind; “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
If each person in the world went home each evening and treated the members of their family with generosity, the world would be transformed. It is imperative that we start there and become aware of opportunities that exist with the people in our lives to find ways to express generosity. A healthy dose of awareness of generosity opportunities, along with a willingness to act accordingly can have a transformative impact on those around you and, in turn, on yourself.
What you sow, so shall you reap. By acting toward others with the spirit of generosity, you will without question make a positive impression, perhaps even elicit affection, so that they will most likely be motivated to respond in kind. You now are the beneficiary of their generosity back to you. Be aware of and appreciate the benefits to you by your generosity to others.
Be proud of your efforts. While you might not transform the entire planet, you can be facilitating change in your everyday corner of the world. To spread the impact of that change, teach these ideals to others. When we teach something to someone, we often learn that thing on a deeper level for ourselves. It becomes a little bit more engrained into who we are and what we stand for, it becomes easier to practice what we preach and me a model of the kind of world we want to create. Teaching these concepts to young children can increase the good exponentially.
In order to truly keep the spirit of generosity alive it is imperative that you express gratitude for the generosity of others. When we recognize that there are other humans out there who are also working to cultivate a spirit of generosity, we feel connected. We know we are not alone in our efforts and they are not in vain. When you are blessed with the generosity of another, thank them. Let them know it was noticed, appreciated and impactful. We have the power to build each other up. To be encouragers. The generous spirit allowed for words of affirmation to be plentiful, appreciation to be abundant and gratitude to overflow.
"It's not the depth of your intellect that will comfort you or transform your world. Only the richness of your heart and your generosity of spirit can do that." -Rasheed Ogunlaru