When you stop to think about all that you have and all that is available to you, you realize how bountiful life truly is.
Look around at all the things you have. Consider all the hard work that went into creating these things -- your favorite chair in which you sit, the computer you use to communicate with others, the cup in which you enjoy your morning coffee or tea, the fountain that flows continuously in your garden, the wind chimes that sing in the breeze, the novel that you are reading or the music to which you are singing or listening -- all of these things were created for your comfort, convenience, and/or enjoyment. They were created for you.
Consider the natural world and what it gives -- a cool breeze on a hot day, the invigorating scent of a pine forest, the hypnotic sound of rain, the vividness of a rainbow after a storm, the sweet taste of wild berries you picked on your hike -- all designed for you in that particular moment, and all designed to keep the circle of giving going.
The magic of generosity is that it invites us to become more generous. The more we receive and accept openly, the more we want to give in return. Generosity, as defined, is freely sharing what we have with others without expectation of reward or return. When we give, we reap the pleasure of knowing we made someone else's life a little happier.
How do you receive the things life gives you through nature or through others' contributions? Do you accept openly? Or do you pull back in trepidation?
Some people have a difficult time receiving generosity. Here are seven ways to receive it:
- Let go of reluctance. Any sign of reluctance is letting you know that there is a deeper issue when it comes to accepting generosity. Were you taken advantage of in the past because of your generosity? Were you expecting something in return and didn't get it? Become aware of the issue, work through it, and then let it go.
- Let go of thoughts of unworthiness. Feeling unworthy is a surefire way to push away what you deserve to have. Know that you are worthy and deserving. You were given the gift of life, were you not? Treat yourself as the gift that you are.
- Let go of the fear of dependence. Accepting a gift doesn't make you dependent. Instead, let it motivate you toward a feeling of freedom.
- Let go of the idea that if you receive, then you'll be obligated to the other person. A truly generous person doesn't expect anything in return; instead, s/he sees it as investing in your happiness.
- Practice openly receiving everyday gifts. Start small. When you awake in the morning, instead of blindly pouring yourself a cup of coffee or tea and taking it for granted, contemplate what went into bringing that beverage to your table.
- Be open to the feeling of being given to. The pleasure of receiving elevates our mood making us feel happier in the process. "Happy hormones" such as serotonin (it's actually a neurotransmitter) release into the bloodstream thus increasing our mood; without it, depression sets in. When we open ourselves to seeing all things as gifts and receiving them as gifts, we increase our serotonin levels and our happiness.
- See the Universe's resource pie as unlimited in its servings. The Universe is always open for the business of giving. All we have to do is ask and give our thanks.
Generosity makes the world a better place for both the giver and the receiver, and it doesn't have to be restricted to birthdays and holidays. Every day is a day to give and to receive. Generosity is more than just a decision; it is a lifestyle.
How has life been generous to you lately? Your comments are most welcome!