A generous way to make life better

November 17, 2015

One of the best things about living life with a generous spirit is how easy it is. And how cost-effective — it’s really just the price of a kind intention. For instance…

Someone enters the living room where you’re sitting on the couch engrossed in conversation or “Game of Thrones.” Your instinct is to scoot over so the new person can sit and join in. That’s an act of generosity — making room for other people.

It’s a way of responding to our fellow human beings that says: I accept you, you can trust me, let’s get along. And, well, things only get better from there.

At the core of generous gestures — inviting an opinion, sharing an insight, forgiving a mistake — is a decidedly uncompetitive attitude. This is where it can get a little tricky, because we’re competitive by nature.

But what if we decided there’s room for all of us? If, when given the choice to elbow our way up or link arms, we chose the latter?

Yes, we continue our own pursuits. Generosity of spirit doesn’t have to be about giving things up; it’s more about being inclusive. We choose to also help others be better, be a part of things, be counted.

Put into practice: Think of someone you don’t normally connect with. Maybe it’s because you don’t know him that well, or don’t really like him. It could be someone you feel competitive with. Or who doesn’t travel in the same orbit you do. Offer him a single generous gesture. It might simply be a smile. Afterward, notice what kinds of feelings it conjured. Is this how you want to show up in the world?

Keep practicing it and you’ll begin to see that generosity is the flip side of gratitude. And gratitude is a key ingredient of happiness.

Bonus: Learn more about the benefits of a gratitude habit.

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