“Generosity is not giving me what I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” ~Khalil Gibran
Generous people are fun. They aren’t afraid of a return on their “investment”, being thanked sufficiently, or of doing without. I honestly don’t think that the genuinely generous among us have many of those thoughts.
They just give in the moment and walk away. They are truly my mentors of happiness and real love – what it means, what it looks like, and how it feels.
I’m surrounded by generous people who have no idea what a joy they are because they are so devoid of fear. They don’t have time for it.
Abbott and Costello are real-life examples of generosity.
(No, not the real ones. These are my Abott and Costello. I’ve named them that because they are my entertainment these days.)
As I sat across the desk from Costello, sharing my mints, and my sense of humor and curiosity of why he does what he does, he shared with me some insights he’d had about the pattern he’d watched in his business – how he’d become successful after he’d started thinking about his clients more than his money in the bank, even though he’d chosen to start the practice of generosity right when he was about to lose everything.
Abbott walked through the office looking beat up.
“Uh, oh! Someone’s not a morning person!”
“Geez! It’s only 9!” he grumped as he walked out the back door.
“Want a mint?” I asked Costello, getting back to our conversation.
“Sure. I’ll take two.” I laughed. That’s the other thing about generous people that I’ve noticed and adore. They’re self-assured. They don’t believe they’re taking anything from anyone. They’re just in the flow of giving and receiving and feel no pride or arrogance about who they are in the world.
They just “are”.
While we were waiting for the documents to be printed we talked about his goal to lose weight, his balding head, how he fell asleep in his daughter’s comfy bed the night before after her back rub, his dream to remodel the building we were sitting in, and his new office where Abott was going to be transferred to.
Generous people are open about their life. They love to tell their stories – the things that make them human.
“So,” he said, “this business has made me dumb! I did something wrong from the start. I should have shared my knowledge and experience with someone so that they could replace me.” I guess that Abbott is now that guy.
He went on to tell me about how angry he gets because there’s so much to manage every day and how he decided to read Buddhism For Dummies, by Jonathan Landaw to learn how to meditate and “let it go.” I laughed so hard as he told me about his dog escaping that morning when he was walking out the door to bring his daughter to school, and how when his daughter said, “Daddy, go get him!” he replied, “Nah. The neighbor will bring him home,” and he ushered her to the car.
You see, some people get it. Everything works out because…well, it does. The problem of the moment eventually gets solved somehow if you let it go (the fear of how and when) and keep moving.
I left his office and hurried off in my little yellow car, excited to see my boss because she’s another one of my generosity mentors.
“Sit down. Drink it,” she commanded. “Isn’t it a gorgeous day?” she said as she passed me a Protein Zone Double Berry Naked juice.
She sat down next to me and proceeded to tell me how her mother had managed to poison herself by eating the insides of cherry pits (that would be cyanide) and how she spent too much time in the ER with her trying to figure out why she was sick until she remembered the bracelets her mom was making with the pits.
“Betsy,”she said very seriously, “I need you to be me.” It took a minute to understand what she was talking about.
I knew what she meant and it scared me to death. Take over her business. She has been one of the greatest gifts to me this year as I’ve reentered the work force after decades of raising children, focusing on writing, volunteering in family history, and working occasionally on my artwork in my free time. She has trusted me, enjoyed me, and taught me how to be that way with other people just by being herself.
“I don’t want to be you.” I really didn’t. I’d just decided that morning to start the process of getting Board Certified in genealogy. I’d even started filling out the application! And I have a piece of artwork that I’m thrilled about, and another waiting in the wings! What about THAT life?
“But you’re doing it anyways. You can do it.” I know. I just hate commitment. That was my fear.
So, I let go of my fear of what would happen and let the possibilities sit with me instead.
But she was thinking of me and my life, my circumstances, my needs, and how her opportunity was looking like one for me.
That’s how generous people think and be.
I love them! Don’t you?
There are so many ways that we are generous.
We can share our time, our stuff, our smiles, a listening ear, our hopes and dreams, our love….all of it – ourselves.
But truly generous people don’t think about themselves when they give and as they “be”.
They think about you and me.