Generosity

Being Generous When You Think You Can't and Why It Matters

Wedding at    Amangiri   . Photo by    Cameron Clark   .

Wedding at Amangiri. Photo by Cameron Clark.


Generous people change the world. Not because of what or how much they give, but because they are doers and see possibilities where others don't. 

There's a quote I love that says, "If you won't be generous with $10, you won't be generous with $10,000."

It's true. 

If you don't build up the muscle of generosity when it seems you don't have as much financially to give, that habit won't suddenly materialize when you have more.

If you're not used to giving or if it feels intimidating, it's okay. Just remember that nothing changes if nothing changes. Make a commitment to start small. Donate $1 from every sale you make this year, starting today. 

Smaller amounts do still make a difference to organizations, but more importantly, the act gets you in the habit of giving and begins to change you into a more generous person.

The phrase "give back" is often used in relation to generosity, but I'd encourage you to adopt a "give as you go" mantra instead. The world needs you and your commitment to an optimism that things can get better, now.

The Power of Gift Giving


We're now in the middle of December as well as in the middle of a season of generosity. It is my favorite time of year for this reason.

Yet for all of the cozy decor, hot cocoa, sufganiyot, and cheer, the holiday season often gets a bad rap. Rather, the gifts associated with the holidays get a bad rap. It's popular to paint the holiday focus on gifts as materialistic, but I believe that is a cynical, glass half-empty perspective.

Gifts celebrate a spirit of generosity. The very nature of giving a gift requires thinking of other people before ourselves and taking the time to select something we know the other person will enjoy.

Thoughtful gifting forces a shift from merely talking about the things we hold to be important to actually showing it through acts of generosity.

Isn't this what the holidays are about? Celebrating love by actively showing it?


Originally published December 2011

Keep the Old, Donate the New

Often what we call generosity is little more than dressed up materialism: "If I clean out my closets and donate the old clothes, then I can get more new stuff for ME."

While there's nothing wrong with donating old items to charity (and if the items are usable, it's a much better option than throwing them away), consider your motives when giving.

If a wishlist for a homeless shelter includes a coffee maker, and yours works perfectly well, keep yours and donate a brand new one.

Dignity is not just affirmed through words, but also through actions. Donating new items shows people that you believe they are worth spending money on and that they are worthy of having nice things.

When people feel worthy, their lives begin to change.


Originally published March 2015