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Generosity Proves You Reap What You Sow

generosity

Generosity

Generosity Proves You Reap What You Sow

Generosity is actually (selfishly) in your best interest.

Being generous also makes us feel better about ourselves. Generosity is both a natural confidence builder and a natural repellant of self-hatred. By focusing on what we are giving rather than on what we are receiving, we create a more outward orientation toward the world, which shifts our focus away from ourselves. While maintaining a healthy level of self-awareness and sensitivity to oneself is important, too often we narrow in on ourselves with a negative lens. We spend too much time listening to the “critical inner voice” in our heads, which scrutinizes our every move and nags at us with negative thoughts towards ourselves and others. These negative thoughts undermine our confidence and can lead to self-sabotage. Being generous distracts us from the critical inner voice’s barrage of nasty thoughts and creates a strong argument against it as well . When we see someone else benefiting from our kind actions, for instance, it is hard for the inner voice to argue that we are worthless.

Four Steps to Fully Practicing Generosity

Give something that is sensitive to the other person.

Generosity is most effective when the gift you offer is sensitive. Think about what the other person wants or needs. It’s not always about material things; it’s about being giving of yourself. Sometimes just being present and available to a loved one who is having a hard time is the greatest gift you could possibly give.

Accept appreciation.

It is important to be open to the people who express appreciation toward you. Generosity is a two-way street, allowing someone to express theirgratitude is an important aspect of generosity and part of what makes you feel closer to them. As researchers in the Department of Psychology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered, “The emotion of gratitude uniquely functions to build a high-quality relationship between a grateful person and the target of his or her gratitude, that is, the person who performed a kind action.” So it is important to not brush off a ‘thank you’ with comments like ‘Oh, it was nothing.’

Accept the generosity of others.

Some people have a much easier time being giving than receiving. However, it is important to let others do things for you. I call this thegenerosity of acceptance. Being pseudo-independent or self-denying robs your loved ones of the opportunity to feel the joy of giving. Accepting the generosity of others may make you uncomfortable if you felt unlovable or unworthy in your early life. Generosity is often an act of love, and, though it may seem counterintuitive, many people respond negatively to being loved.

Show appreciation.

Remember that gratitude is an important part of the equation. Show your appreciation for the generosity that is directed toward you, even if you feel shy or uncomfortable. Resist the temptation to say things like ‘This is too much,’or ‘You shouldn’t have,’ instead just say ‘Thank you!’ Or, better yet, let the person know what their generosity meant to you. Generosity is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Each day life presents us with hundreds of opportunities to be generous; by making a lifestyle out of generosity, we can do ourselves and others a world of good.

Photo By:Download x1024 roses, flowers, bouquet, man, hand, surprise HD background graphics fromMyStockPhoto.com

Author’s Books and Kindle – Click for Amazon Reviews

For the past 20 years, Dr. Lisa Firestone has been a practicing clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. Lisa works as the Director of Research and Education at The Glendon Association and a Senior Editor at PsychAlive.org. She has published numerous professional articles, and most recently was the co-author of Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships (APA Books, 2006), Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice (New Harbinger, 2002), and Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion: The Wisdom of Psychotherapy (APA Books, 2003). An accomplished and much requested lecturer, Lisa represents The Glendon Association at national and international conferences, presenting on topics that include couple relations, parenting, and suicide and violence prevention,. Additionally, in conjunction with Joyce Catlett, Lisa conducts intensive Voice Therapy training seminars in Santa Barbara, CA. Lisa received her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1991. Since 1987, she has been involved in clinical training and applied research in suicide and violence. In collaboration with Dr. Robert Firestone, Lisa’s studies have resulted in the development of the Firestone Assessment of Self-Destructive Thoughts (FAST) and the Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts (FAVT).

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