Have you ever made something creative, something you put your soul into, only to get cold indifference from your friends? Have you ever shared something very personal and significant, only to receive deafening silence? Have you ever ventured into something new, maybe recklessly, but courageously, only to receive trivial advice, instead of the much needed emotional support and understanding?
Then you’ll know what I mean, when I say that we all suffer from generosity deficit.
Emotional generosity is very simple to exercise – it’s simply about sharing a couple of sincere, warm words, or gestures with a person that might be in need of validation and encouragement. So why is it that so often we withhold this essential human gift?
We often get so caught up in the daily business of our lives, that we miss when people around us are in need of our attention. We are so involved in our little problems and worries, that it seems that we don’t have any time or energy left to notice anyone’s troubles. But raising the head from time to time, and checking out on the people in our lives really isn’t that hard – all it takes is the realization that we all have a role to play in someone’s life. Role, that goes far beyond social gatherings and gossip chatter. Once we realize that our role must go beyond being a bored spectator in the theater of people’s lives, generosity should come naturally.
When my friend got his first girlfriend, I found it very difficult to be genuinely happy for him – I was too busy feeling inadequate about my own personal life. Often, people’s ventures and achievements shine a light on our own insecurities – we compare our own ambition and achievements to theirs, and we don’t like the result. But realizing that our inability to be generous is a result of our own dissatisfaction with our place in life, can help us overcome this immaturity, and as a result, rise in our own eyes.
The most generous people I met were always those that have been through much. Those, whose lives have put them though trying circumstances, who experienced firsthand the value of good word, supporting gesture, a sincere smile and a hug. If you have ever started a company, then you know how hard it can be to start any significant project, when you are on you own, with no confidence that anyone really needs what you do.
Next time we receive an email, see a Facebook post, or talk with a person, why don’t we check with ourselves – could this person benefit from our genuine generosity? And if he could, then let’s offer it. Without reservation, without doubting ourselves. Hell, we may even enjoy it.