AUGUST – Be generous with friends and family

AUGUST – Be generous with friends and family

Be generous with friends and family

Generosity is always welcomed with open arms. It’s pretty rare an occasion for someone to turn down an act of kindness. There are friends in my life that are so good at being generous. They are the friends who always turn up to your house baring thoughtful gifts. I work with a woman who would leave me gifts and notes on my desks for valuing her opinions. I mean, come on! You can’t get nicer than that! I admire these people. Not because they give me stuff – but because they think about others more than they should! In keeping with my theme of gratitude this month, I wanted to get better at being more generous with friends. Generosity doesn’t always mean showing people with gifts. It’s about random acts of kindness, favours, compliments, acknowledgements, thank you’s. I wanted to get better at making people feel good and it didn’t always have to involve spending money.

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The act of generosity makes people aware of how much you care. As mentioned in my ‘be grateful’ post, I created the thank you slips and gifted them to people as an acknowledgement of when they helped me out at work, did me a favour or just because I appreciated having them as a part of my life. People always love to be complimented and I found having something as tangible as a note was always well received! More successful than the notes, was thanking people in person. I was generous with my acknowledgements and compliments. When I noticed someone going out of their way to be kind. I acknowledged them in front of people. I would watch the smile spread across their face, colour rush to their cheeks, they would purse their lips and look at me under their brow. They were proud of themselves, probably thinking that the time was worth it. Giving up your time to support others is very gratifying. One of my superiors had been off sick and had a really busy day. To relieve him of stress, I took his workload and let him have some time to catch up. He was so appreciative of how I gave up my time to make his easier. When another colleague lost a friend to suicide, I wrote him a beautifully written card and offered to help in anyway I could. Another work friend was battling a hard time with fertility. She was struggling to be at work so I left her a note with my phone number and told her I was available for coffee anytime. In essence,  I tried to find big and small ways to help people out. There was never a doubt that people were going to respond well. But what came from their response was so much more valuable. All these small gestures were instantly gratifying. Every day I was reminded of my commandment to ‘treat others how you want to be treated.’  I felt proud of myself and I felt happy.

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Be a nice human and make someone happy today. I extended my generous acts to my family. When my sister was sick, I offered to drive her kids to sport or pick them up from school. Although she and her husband always had it covered, I knew they appreciated the thought. One morning I didn’t have to be at work until later, so I dropped over a coffee to my brother-in-law. The look of surprise on his face when he opened the door, bleary eyed, was worth the time! My mother in law celebrated her birthday and in keeping with my newfound love of baking cakes, I created another sugar coma masterpiece to complete a lovely weekend away. To support my sister-in-law who was applying for a job, I dropped everything one morning and ran my eyes over her resume and cover letter so that she could submit it in time. Interestingly, what spawned from this action – was stress! Because I obliged and got it done to help her, I fell terribly behind in my day and it was a knock on effect for every other task I had to complete. I had one of the worst days, because I was underprepared for the tasks I was due to accomplish. I learnt that sure it is important to be generous to others, but I was reminded of my commandment to ‘slow down.’ This experience taught me of my limits. The act of being generous in this instance, made me unhappy as I was incredibly stressed at work. There is absolutely no point in killing yourself to be kind to others. Do it if you can, not because you have to.

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Interestingly, as I write this post (in October), I feel despondent and disconnected from my project. As you can tell, I am far behind in my posts. The last month has been chaotic. My life has been filled with big thoughts, big tasks and big ideas. I have felt as though I haven’t progressed much in my happiness project. As you will find out in upcoming weeks, I have assigned October as a catch up month as I have felt as though I am behind. As I type this blog, I am reminded of all the great and amazing things that I have done to help others, to acknowledge their presence in my life. For the past few days, I have felt not good enough, not generous enough. I keep trying to think of how I can do more to help others. What I now realise is that I can never be generous to others, if I am not generous to myself. I need to generously give myself time off, I need to write myself a note to thank myself for all my hard work. I need to take time out of my busy day to get things done for ME. Only once I engage in acts of kindness to myself, will any of this be worthwhile…

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