A few weeks ago I gave a talk at the Sarasota Center of Light on the topic of generosity and giving. Most of us understand the importance of giving, but it can be hard to truly understand what it means. I know that, because I used to be one of them. It is so easy to look at the most altruistic and selfless people, note how much of their money they give away and how often they visit soup kitchens, and then feel down on ourselves because we don’t have the time or the cash to be as generous as them.
But I want to remind you of how generous you really are, and how much you already give.
You are important, skilled, and brimming with incredible things that you can share with those who need it. Here are four extremely easy but valuable ways of giving that are just as good for your soul and for your fellow people on this tiny planet. I suspect you already gracefully give in this manner, and it my hope that this will remind you to feel as generous are you are:
1. Give of your attention.
Did you know some many people go through their day, or week, or year, without ever being really noticed? Perhaps you yourself know how that feels. When someone talks to you, really listen. Pay attention to what they’re saying, understand it and record it in your memory. Analyze it. Is there a meaning behind the words? If so, does it change how you should respond? With more compassion or patience perhaps? See the effect on people when you actively listen. See how you strengthen their confidence, make them feel comfortable around you. Soon what you hear will begin to have a deeper meaning for you too, and in turn it will enrich your life as well.
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill
2. Give of your knowledge or skill.
Regardless of who you are and what you do, you own a deep reservoir of knowledge that can be useful to others. Sometimes we feel stupid or less capable when we compare ourselves to the brightest lights, but:
“If you judge a fish on his ability to climb a tree he’ll spend his life thinking he’s stupid.” – Albert Einstein
There is something you know that many others don’t. Explore that, embrace it, and study further. Then teach it. Give it away. As you become a mentor to someone you will see how your knowledge and skill develops both them and you. Perhaps you yourself will find a mentor and continue your own path of development, and then who knows what opportunities will come your way? You will end up gaining every grain of knowledge and ounce of skill that you need to manifest your dream.
3. Give of your happiness.
Joy is extremely contagious. It’s also a powerful healing emotion that can inspire the stagnant, cure the stressed or depressed, bring courage to the fearful, you name it. It spreads in the form of good vibes, or karma, or whatever you want to call it. You know the sort of person who carries this highly infectious condition. They brighten the room. They leave you feeling sort of bubbly and excited. You can easily pop on a cheery disposition, adopt that state of joyfulness and let it ripple through your surroundings, brightening your own life and the lives of everyone you meet.
You can’t help everyone, give everything, be everywhere and save the world, but you can give, give, give of this sacred state of consciousness. Focus only on the things that give you joy, and help brighten the world.
4. Give of your thanks.
Be grateful. But meaningfully so. Notice the things in your life, tangible or not, that are yours because of someone else. Give thanks for someone’s time, or an inspiring thought, or a good smell. Express your gratitude simply and genuinely. Wave a thanks to the driver that let you in off the merge lane. Nod and smile to the supermarket attendant who let you squeeze your stuffed cart in front of them. Whenever you get, give thanks.
And not a penny has to leave your bank account. (But I’ll wager you’ll end up giving joyfully of your money very soon, because if you follow my Guide For The Greedy, you’ll end up getting a lot more too.)
Do you have any other hints and tips for giving?
*Photo credit: Care2