Why Is Generosity So Difficult?

Why Is Generoslty So Difficult? - HSP Health Blog
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Generosity is something we all want and often struggle with.

Why is that?

Ambivalence About Generosity

We tend to respond to generosity with warmth, happiness and joy. We also naturally respond to stinginess with repulsion, hurt and fear. Of course negative experiences around generosity can cause us to have more complicated feelings.

However we need to function in the world and with each other so we develop coping strategies. One such strategy that is culturally supported is the positivity movement which encourages positive thinking as a way to be in the world. Unfortunately positivity has come to be perceived as a way of not being real. Perhaps it is our own need for supportive connection that causes us to demand positivity and reject negativity. We can lose a lot in the process.

Generosity is loaded with ideas about power, what it means to be a good person, our survival needs, or needs to be respected and valued. It is an important factor in issues of discrimination and injustice.

It is also something that feels good. We all know the feeling of pleasure we get from being generous. It is the best part of the holiday season that we celebrate each year. Yet if one person gives more than another or has more than another, that largesses may feel uncomfortable.

Generosity And Vulnerability

Everything we do can remind us of our vulnerability. We are especially affected by our relationships. Our yearning for connection can be thwarted in many ways:

  • rejection can cause us to pull back from others
  • our competitive society which thrives on comparisons may be a factor in our feelings of being vulnerable with others
  • we may react to macho values of stoicism and be embarrassed by our vulnerability
  • we may see vulnerability as a weakness and be treated that way by others.

If we have experienced any shaming in our early years we are unlikely to be comfortable with generosity.

Generosity And Nature

One of the wonderful things about nature is that its existence is an act of generosity towards us that rewards us over and over just by being in it. One of the best parts of life for many people is being in nature or with animals in nature or as pets. It is one place where our generosity can express itself with little interference from intrusive thoughts about power, injustice and exploitation.

With animals in particular we are able to feel our kindred relationship with another species and have it be a warm and nurturing experience. Our generosity often comes naturally. With humans not so much.

Why Generosity Is So Important

Without the ability to be generous we are not truly free. We are shut down, and our energy is turned into ourselves in a way that is painful. It is really important that we find a way to enter our generosity in a constructive way so that we can experience the connection and joy that we yearn for.

I personally think that to increase the generosity and joy in our lives we need to go slowly and look for ways to safely increase our positive experiences of generosity and positive social connection. It helps to take baby steps and even write in a journal about our experiences. It is important in creating connection to be mindful of the vulnerability of others and seek ways to help others have less fear around connection.

Generosity is the expression of our own natural goodness and gratitude for what we have. The more we express it the better our lives can become.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Great topic, thanks Maria. I recently was made aware of a dynamic around two forms of giving.

    One is deficit-based, i.e. responding and giving out of lack. That creates stress and its form of giving can be considered “sacrifice”.

    The second is abundance-based, i.e. responding and giving out of plenty and in willingness. That creates wellness in the giver as well as in the recipient and its form is “generosity”.

    Of course the second form is a win-win rather than a lose-win dynamic. It reminds me of the principle for first responders (such as life guards or paramedics) to not endanger a second person when wanting to help a first person. This prevents two people being endangered or even dying when one is in trouble.

    I believe that win-win–in other words both/and replacing either/or–is an energy on the rise currently in the world.

    Heron

    Heron Saline, CHT CMT
    http://www.guidedmindtour.com
    415/706-9740

    • says

      Thanks, Heron,

      What a great insight! I agree with you the energy of the world is changing. I get the feeling that people have had enough of competition and being at each other’s throats for one reason or another. It is heartwarming to see.

      All the best,
      Maria

  2. says

    I think that everything said made a ton of sense. But, what about this?
    suppose you added a little content? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, however what if
    you added a title to possibly grab people’s attention? I mean Why Is Generosity So Difficult?
    – HSP Health Blog is a little plain. You should peek at Yahoo’s home page and note how they create
    post titles to get viewers interested. You might try adding a video
    or a related pic or two to get people interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it could bring your website a little bit more interesting.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment. HSPs have a different outlook on content. Because they dislike manipulation the titles are deliberately as non-manipulative as possible.

      Maria

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