Generosity: What It Is & What It Isn’t

By Dominica


Last Updated: January 1, 2021

I don’t think any of us could argue that the world could use more generosity.   After all, selfless, kind words and behavior have the potential to make huge changes on the planet.

What exactly is generosity?

It’s the behavior of giving in such a way as to benefit another.  It’s selflessly adding value to others, while not expecting anything in return.

Certainly, generous acts benefit others, but how can being generous benefit you?

How Generosity Benefits You

When you are generous, you just feel better about yourself.  It helps give your mental health a boost.  Of course, others benefit when you are generous, and that feels good.

I’m not just talking about being generous with money either. You can be generous in many ways, such as:

  • Time
  • Words
  • Resources
  • Wisdom

Haven’t you ever had someone sit with you when you were going through a tough time?  They could have cut the time short when they found out you were grieving or upset, but they were generous with their time. They sat with you (or talked on the phone) for as long as you needed.

Or maybe your car broke down and your neighbor gave you rides to work while it got fixed. They were generous with their time and resources, and that feels good too.

The bottom line is we can all commit to being more generous in all aspects of our life.

Generosity & The Ripple Effect

Recently, I went to a coffee shop drive through to treat myself to a favored drink. When I went to pay for it, the clerk said the car ahead of me paid for it.  I was so blessed!  This was the first time someone “paid it forward” for me as such and it felt great.

What did I do?

I could have drove off and simply accepted their generosity, which would have been just fine. But I decided to pay it forward and pay for the car behind me. I decided to keep that spirit of generosity going. Who knows how many people were generous that day, but the reality is that it created a ripple effect that boosted people’s feelings.

That’s what generosity can do – create a ripple effect. One person’s generosity can cause another to want to be generous too. And all that generosity can help people feel more valued.

What Generosity Isn’t

If you’re being generous to get something from another, that’s not the true spirit of generosity. This doesn’t mean you should never give, but try to do it without expectations.

When you give wanting or expecting something in return, you set yourself up for disappointment and resentment.  Try giving just because it feels good and generosity is a lifestyle you commit to.  Try performing random acts of kindness consistently and enjoy the good feelings that come along with that.

How To Be More Generous

If you want to become more generous, there are some things you can do to cultivate this kind of habit. Maybe you just don’t think of being generous. If this is the case, make a list of ways you can be generous and put it in a spot that you can see daily. This will serve as your reminder that you are committing to be a more generous person.

You can also write on a notecard, “I am a generous person” and put that on your fridge, mirror, car dashboard, office, etc.  After seeing this for a while, and indeed being generous, it will become habitual.

Not sure how to be more generous? Here are some great ideas:

  • Give people friendly compliments regularly. Compliment their attire, hair, shoes, etc.
  • Send a thoughtful card with sentiments to your loved ones, neighbors, coworkers, etc.
  • Give small tokens of appreciation
  • Bless those in need financially
  • Show up in time as a volunteer
  • Cook food for others/pay for their meal
  • Tips waiters and waitresses very well
  • Give others the bigger half
  • Let those at the store with fewer items go before you

Be The Generosity You Wish To See In The World

Today, make a commitment to be more generous.  What are some ways you can be generous today? Who can you reach out to? What can you do?

Make that list and enjoy being a generous spirit in the world. And, just watch how your generosity creates a ripple effect that helps many others too.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash


2 comments on “Generosity: What It Is & What It Isn’t”

    1. Thank YOU Maruja. We love to hear from our community, so thank you for your generosity in telling us you got something from our articles. Take care!

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