I believe that happiness eludes folks for a variety of reasons.
I think one of the biggest, though, is not understanding one of the basic secrets of how to be happier: be generous.
While that may sound like a strange path to happiness, studies confirm what I call the generosity effect.
When you are feeling down and out, one of the best things you can do to turn your attitude and heart around is to commit an act of generosity.
Remember that being generous is about more than writing a check.
It’s about being unselfish with forgiveness, grace, understanding, time, experience, money, your home, and much, more more.
You may think you don’t have the time, money, or the personality to be generous.
That is not true, and I’ll tell you why: You are already practicing generosity, and probably don’t recognize it as such.
If you are married and/or have children, you are sharing your life, wisdom, support and joy with others.
If you work outside the home, you are called upon to assist others in some fashion for your business.
If you write, you are generous with your words to inspire, inform, or comfort.
Dr. Meg Meeker wrote about competition between mothers, and encouraged acts of kindness, otherwise known as generosity:
Doing kind things for others is always good, and acting kindly toward another mother with whom we compete helps our relationship and derails the desire to compete.
If there is another mother you know who just had her third baby and you desperately want another child but can’t have one, cook her a meal and bring it to her. If there is a mother who works outside the home in a job that you think is fabulous but you know you can’t have, ask to take her child to the park one day while she’s working. Perhaps there’s a mother whose kids are number one and two on the varsity tennis team at your son’s high school and your son can’t play any sports well because he’s, well, clumsy. Send her a note telling her how well her kids are doing.
In addition to helping joy flourish, these acts and others like it can be both a balm to your hurting hearts and water to the parched ground of your souls:
Being emotionally generous in marriage creates couples who are exceedingly happy.
Demonstrating generosity to your children teaches them to be unselfish.
Volunteering gives a tremendous boost to your spirits and to those whom you serve
If you are still not convinced, I highly recommend you start intentionally practicing generosity.
Like any other skill, it becomes easier and more natural every time you do it.
Not only will you bring smiles to others, but will feel more joyful yourself!
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- I Like Giving
- 10 Simple ways to become a more generous person
- 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life
- One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity
Generosity is not proportional to the size of your bank account but to the size of your heart.
Comment: Please share a memorable moment of generosity that you had, either as the giver or receiver.