In our heart of hearts we all know how important it is to share and give to others (and how good it makes us feel when we do). But how do you become a truly generous person? And is it even possible when you’re super busy or feeling broke?
The fact is, generosity is first and foremost an attitude, a way of being in the world, and a commitment to follow through on our desire to give and share with others. Here are six ways you can become a more generous person…
1. Commit to doing one generous act per day.
Every day, make a point to do one truly generous thing. Maybe it’s buying lunch for the homeless man who hangs out near your office building. Maybe it’s taking a few minutes out of your day to talk to a neighbor. Perhaps it’s giving $10 to a fundraiser you see on your social media feed that tugs on your heartstrings. Whatever it is -- and no act is too small -- daily acts of giving will build your generosity muscle.
Take a moment to say thank you—and to inspire someone who has made a positive impact on your life.
2. Give to everyone who asks.
In the Bible, Jesus tells us to give to anyone who asks. That sounds a little unrealistic, doesn’t it? I mean, if you opened up your wallet every time someone asked you for money, you could end up broke. But giving isn’t first and foremost about money; it’s about giving yourself in some way. Can you be a listening ear for someone or give a word of encouragement? Can you spare a short prayer? How about sharing some helpful resources or a particular talent or? There is always something to give when someone asks.
Remember, generosity is about so much more than doling out money or material goods; it’s primarily an attitude and a way of being.
3. Give your good stuff.
Many of us clear out our closets and give our old things to the poor. But is that the best we can do? What if we started giving our good stuff, items we actually enjoy or even want, but don’t need as much as someone else? Giving something we actually like might hurt a little, but it can help us grow. It also honors the dignity of the person we are giving it to.
4. Reach out to someone who’s lonely.
Mother Theresa once said that loneliness is the greatest kind of poverty. And there are lonely people everywhere – in our neighborhoods, schools, churches, streets, even the grocery store. We don’t always know who is lonely, but we can be kind to strangers, offer a smile or a helping hand when we’re out and about, and regularly call relatives and friends who live alone or are going through hard times.
5. Identify a couple of worthy organizations and commit to supporting them.
One of the best ways to be more generous is to support worthy causes and organizations. Which ones speak to you the most? Which ones do you believe are really making a difference in the world? Commit to the ones that are most important to you and make a point to support them regularly in whatever way works for your budget
6. Give a little more than you think you can.
Every time you give to someone, challenge yourself to go just a bit further. If you’re about to write a check for $20, make it $25. If you’re going to donate a coat, throw in a scarf, too. If you want to buy a homeless person a cup of coffee, add a sandwich. If you challenge yourself to stretch just a bit more out of your comfort zone, you will grow in your generosity.
Remember, generosity is about so much more than doling out money or material goods; it’s primarily an attitude and a way of being. By intentionally practicing regular acts of giving and sharing, you will indeed become a more generous person -- and be all the happier for it.
Interested in learning more about generosity? The Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy give us an inspiring framework for generosity.You can learn more about them, here!