Generosity is giving more of oneself – more time, more money, more kindness – than is necessary or expected given the situation.
Generosity is an extremely desirable quality to have. It also has a dark side.
The desire to give weighs heavily on people who don’t give to themselves first and foremost.
Giving & receiving are two sides of the same coin; balance is what brings true & deep satisfaction in this area.
Over-giving without a balanced amount of receiving makes it so much more difficult to give lovingly of ourselves while making it all too easy to breed overwhelm and resentment.
Over-receiving without a balanced amount of giving will still never quite feel like enough and we get stuck looking for satisfaction outside of ourselves.
The pressure & desire to be generous often doubles during the holiday season.
Our own financial well-being suffers so we can donate money & buy gifts.
We always say “yes” to new responsibilities or events, when we’re already worn paper-thin.
We force smiles and niceties with people and family members who don’t make us feel good, just to maintain the status quo.
When we neglect our own needs like this for the benefit of others, we nurture a breeding ground for resentment, anger, and eventually burnout, when we have absolutely nothing left to give.
This is not the spirit of real generosity.
True generosity happens naturally – inspired and overflowing from a full cup, without creating any hardship at all for the giver.
(Any hardship that *is* endured will be outweighed by the joy & the consequences of giving, as long as you’re meeting your own needs first).
Acts of giving carry an element of receiving, too. There’s no way around it.
If you get really honest with yourself, you may realize, that any self-less over-giving you do usually comes with some expectation about what you’ll receive in return – even if that expectation is unrealistic.
So, you may as well be realistic, and embrace this truth that giving & receiving need to be balanced to feel inspiring, empowering, and genuinely enjoyable for everyone involved.
When you lean into the experience of giving from a full, loving place, you’ll always receive *something* in return – even if it’s simply receiving an awareness about how it feels best to give moving forward.
Sometimes the most generous thing you can do is lovingly & gracefully receiving from someone else.
Think about giving compliments for instance – it always feels better for the giver when the receiver takes the kindness in deeply, clearly benefitting from the sentiment that was given to them.
When you’re NOT enjoying the process of giving – when you feel like you don’t have a choice, or you feel that you never get anything back in return – that’s a sure sign you’ve stepped into the territory of self-induced self-sacrifice.
So let’s take a step back, shall we?
These tips will help you give lovingly throughout the holiday season.
1. Take 100% responsibility for the way you feel. Let other people take 100% responsibility for the way they feel, too. Your #1 job is to care for yourself – let that be your priority. It’s not your job to make other people happy. It’s not up to anyone else to make you happy, either. People will survive and thrive without you, or they’ll learn how with practice. That is a very, very good thing.
2. Learn what your “full-body yes” feels like, then follow it. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, connect with your body, connect with the wisest part of you, and ask – what does a full-body “yes” feel like for me? Say NO to everything that doesn’t elicit that solid YES reaction. You’ll still have plenty of amazing things to fill your calendar, especially during this time of year. Your time is valuable and in high demand – spend time following your “yes”, not pushing down your “no”.
3. Only commit to projects, parties, and people when you KNOW you will deliver. Everything on your to-do list will subtly drain your energy until it’s complete, so be deliberate, be selective, and be realistic. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone – you’re allowed to say “no” (or at least stay temporarily non-committal until you feel a clear “yes” or “no”).
When you give generously to yourself first, a loving generosity towards others will naturally emerge – because nothing feels better than making an impact in the life of a loved one or someone who needs it.
Don’t forget to lovingly receive this season as well. Feel the air on your skin, believe the compliments that come your way, intentionally enjoy and celebrate the abundance you receive & the connections you experience.
Receive more by choosing what feels very good for you & your body in every moment – then witness how much more you’re able to give lovingly as a result.
Give lots of gratitude for all of it to continue building this balance of giving & receiving – then watch this beautiful cycle continue.
What do YOU think? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
If you’d love some extra support with this, I would love to connect with you!
Check out my free FB group, The Cocoon, where I post self-reflective questions every day.
Consider joining Conscious Wholeness to make more intentional choices that are aligned with what you want (the next live round is starting in January, but you’ll receive access to the last round of videos right away). (Also consider checking out this blog series on the topic).
Schedule an Epiphany Session to receive personalized strategy & guidance from me about your unique situation.
Or book a call with me to connect & find the next step that’s best for you.