Growing Generosity

It seems like an easy concept, “be more generous.” But what does that really mean? By accomplishing these small improvements, you can build your generous spirit and help improve the world around you.

Take the smallest piece (of what you love–for me dessert).  At a birthday party. At an office meeting. At family dinner. Why does this matter? When you let go of your need to have the biggest and the best of everything, you’re releasing greed from your life. Think of it as giving away the biggest piece. The more you let go of your need to take care of yourself first, you begin to see the joy that others have and are less worried about getting what is yours. And after you’ve made taking the smallest piece into a lifestyle, try not taking anything at all. I promise, that delicious dessert gives you more lasting enjoyment when you give it to someone else.

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Let others go in front of you. You have unlimited possibilities to accomplish this goal. At the grocery store, give someone your cart. On the road, let them out first. In the buffet line, sit down until you’re in the last group. When you begin to happily and graciously let people go in front of you, it calms your desire to hurry, reduces anxiousness and gives you a small, valuable lesson in peace.

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Give something of value to others. You could save Box-Tops-For-Education for your school, you could donate your gently used items to a thrift store, you could volunteer your time at a non-profit. Each of these items provides you an opportunity to positively impact those around you and it re-focuses your mind to understanding how blessed your life is.

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Recognize the smaller voice. Be quiet. Be still. Be content. When you take time to listen, you begin to understand the value of everything around you. And you begin to allow the smaller voices find their power–helping you to discover new, creative solutions.

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Admit when you’re not right. There was a small problem at work today and it was our fault. Luckily, it was an easy fix, but I made sure to apologize for our oversight. And guess what, it made me feel better too. It’s important for you to admit when you’re wrong because it begins to break down barriers and form stronger relationships.

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Step outside your comfort zone. Participate in a mission trip, meet new people, take the city bus. Put yourself out there because you need to remember what it feels like to be uncomfortable. Because once you remember this, you also remember the gratitude washing over you when you begin to belong in your new comfort zone. And then you understand how to give others this same generosity.

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Realize what you can live without. Recently, I had to make a sacrifice at work. For me, it was an inconvenience, but for the person, it made a world of difference. The person that I helped doesn’t even know what I’ve done to help them, and that’s perfectly OK. Because in the end, my generosity will make things better for everyone and I know I don’t need the credit or what I gave away. When you look at your life with an outside perspective, what do you really need and what is your generous spirit able to share with others?

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