I always thought I was a generous person. Then I got married and I came to realize that I was only generous in certain circumstances. If something was my idea, great, I was happy to offer services, a gift, or lend an ear. However, if asked, I found I could be withholding. Somehow I felt being asked for something implied I was stingy. And I was. Sometimes I still am. Apparently a generous heart is not a one way endeavor.
I started to notice that “no” was my immediate response when asked for something. I had to learn to pause to see why. I didn’t like this stingy quality and wanted to do better. What I found was that I had often volunteered or ignored my needs to give in ways that more often than not were a sacrifice. I ignored my own needs to unconsciously gain acceptance from others. Once I stopped giving in those instances I had more room to give of myself at other times. I felt less resentful, less parsimonious.
Holidays often highlight our generosity or lack thereof. If we’re motivated by a giving heart, we will feel the joy of the season. If we receive with a generous spirit, we take in so much more than the gift at hand. And, yet we’ve been through a lot. Having foregone so much, with more closures happening at present, we might feel particularly challenged to access our generous spirit.
As we traverse the Omicron variant surge, let’s do our best to open our hearts to one another. We’re in for a bumpy ride. I’m going to do my best in finding the humanity for those who make me bristle. I will be testing myself. Do I have the grace to live and let live? Or will I be judging others? Seething through a tight jaw.
I don’t know what will show up when I’m stressed or down. But I’ll use my reactions as measures of what I might need in terms of grace. And, then I’ll do what I can to have patience as I move through the end of this difficult year into a new year in which living in the spirit of generosity will serve me more than holding on.
As we open ourselves up to the many gifts in life, may we all benefit from the act of giving and receiving.
- Send thank you notes. It means so much to those who give to us to know that the gift was received in the spirit of generosity
- Stay within your budget. It can feel challenging to not overspend. Remember that an act of love can mean so much more than a boxed gift paid on credit.
- Regift to places that accept new items for those who might have lost so much. Some places you might consider are domestic abuse shelters, tornado victims, emergency immigrant centers.