Why should you give your time, energy or love if you don’t have to, with the expectation of nothing in return?
Life is about choices, and if the outcomes of those choices are only of benefit to others, then how are they possibly relevant to you? The trajectory of life can change on a sixpence, one minute you have everything and the next you have nothing. A relentless pursuit of personal gain is surely the only way to ensure that the good times outweigh the bad.
Way too many people think like this, unfortunately!
The history of humanity is built on selfless collaboration, and the strongest contributors were those who gave without any thought for themselves. Mother Theresa, Gandi, the Dalai Lama – these people and so many more have dedicated their lives to others. Our present is their legacy, and they give us a shining example to follow. Their inner strength comes from the positive impact of their actions, not for themselves, but for others.
The wonder of genuine generosity is that it is addictive. You can always do more, and the more you give, the greater the pleasure you receive in doing it. If you view generosity as a “zero sum” bank balance, you will never know this joy.
Generosity gives us a chance to touch people whom we may not otherwise have had significant dealings with. In a world where we are buried in our smartphones and devices, just looking up and helping people whenever we get the chance reminds us that we can make a difference whenever we choose to. The warm feeling from our generosity lasts far longer than the act itself, and our mind is in a better place to deal with whatever else life has in store for us that day.
Generosity isn’t about getting a pat on the back. Like integrity, generosity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. When those around you are in a “better place” it is often true that the butterfly effect can come back to reward you. Being generous for the sake of this payoff breeds resentment as you never quite know when it will boomerang back to you, but when you believe in the give and take of life, giving freely will always be easy.
There are always those who will seek to take advantage of the generous, but the givers have significant experience in distinguishing between those who are out for a free ride and those who are genuinely in need. A taker who does not need help is not only monopolising the energies of the giver, they are also denying someone else the benefits of their generosity. There is little more odious than this particular brand of selfishness.
Having already used the terminology, it is a little unfair to divide people into givers and takers, life isn’t as simple as that, but when your ratio of giving is higher, you know that you will be by default making the world a better place. Surely there is no more noble goal?
True generosity is only practiced by the strongest amongst us.