Access Point: Generosity
"True generosity is demonstrated in the willingness to give something up, especially when you don't have to"
- James McPartland
Notorious for her generosity, Mother Theresa has been quoted as having said once: "When we stop giving, we stop loving. When we stop loving, we stop growing. And if we don't grow, we will never attain personal fulfillment".
Giving something up when we don't have to is an open-hearted boundless approach to life that emanates from an abundant mindset and a soul set on loving. It is a sign of growth when we come to demonstrate the kind of generosity that goes beyond a virtuous way of being, and becomes a mindset that is our habitual way of thinking.
When we give from the heart, we offer those we give to a sanctity from fear and loss, and we are more careful with our words, so as not to cause harm. We can offer our time and talents, but most importantly, let’s offer our complete, undistracted presence when we engage with others. How we give is as important as what we give.
Now, for those of you like myself who can appreciate the touchy-feely, but also prefer for there to be logic and reasoning behind why we do what we do, it turns out the old adage "it is better to give than to receive" has some scientific legs to stand on:
Researchers have found a connection between happiness and the performance of selfless acts. They have found that generosity activates an area of the brain linked with contentment and emotional well being, stimulating the brain's reward system when we work to the benefit of others.
So why am I writing about generosity this week?
At a time like this, there is so much good we can do for others (and ourselves), by practicing the art of generosity. Here are a few ways to exercise this mutually beneficial spirit of giving:
In your next few meetings, strive to be curious instead of right
Find out what you may need to learn in order to forgive others, as well as yourself
Try to accept "what is" at the moment, without the need to change, fix, justify, or avoid it
Raise your expectations of yourself. Find out what is required of you to give everything and expect nothing
Dance inside of the conversation. Listen to learn, not to respond. Flow with it, see what else is available to both yourself and the person you are engaged with
Ask how you can help and who you can help
Set a daily goal to connect with two people, mainly just to see how they are and potentially to fulfill a need
True generosity means being kind, selfless and committed to the benefit of others. And yet now we know from science that it also benefits our own well being. So at this time of stress and strain, being generous is one of the best ways to improve our mental health, increase our energy, fortify trust, and strengthen our social connections.
And let’s not forget, generosity has a ripple effect. Those who are recipients of authentic generosity are more likely to turn around and become givers themselves. Who knows? It could be that as we practice generosity a movement is started. In this moment of uncertainty, it is good to know that practicing generosity can lead to personal fulfillment and the chance to pay it forward so those we give to can experience the same scientifically-proven benefits.
So let’s keep our eyes wide open for ways to share with those around us this week. Let’s be boundless in our approach, with open hearts set on loving, and abundant minds set on giving!