How would you like to change?
I’m not talking about things like losing weight or exercising more. I mean how would you like to change in ways that make you a better person in your dealings with those around you? Or in ways that are important to others?
I am confronting that question right now as I prepare to meet virtually today with a group that I have belonged to for twelve years. We meet bi-weekly and our discussions are based upon a spiritual book that we read. We discuss the book chapter by chapter.
Our current book is tougher than most from the standpoint that it challenges me to work at becoming a better person.
That is why I find myself this morning facing the daunting question, “What do I want to change about myself?” Oh, to count the ways. It’s hard to even choose, especially if I think about it too long.
Ouch. I have so many faults. The work of changing is tough and I’m, at this stage in my life during COVID-19 isolation, becoming more and more lazy.
My answer to the question is that I want to become more generous. So, here’s a reflection on generosity.
What is generosity?
I’m being daring and presenting my own thoughts on generosity before even checking the dictionary definition or looking at a thesaurus. The traits about myself that I am hoping to improve might not even match what Merriam Webster has to say.
When I think of generosity, I envision facets and layers.
Many people think of generosity in connection with money. Financial generosity is definitely a facet of generosity.
Someone can also be generous with their talent. If I am good at researching something on the internet, I can use that talent to help someone who is not. If I am an excellent housekeeper (no, this is definitely not me) I can use that aptitude to help someone else. Or maybe I have a flair for crocheting and actually enjoy it. I can be generous with my talent and financially generous with my yarn in an effort to create warm scarves and hats for a local food pantry or an organization like Warm-Up America.
People can be stingy or generous with their words. If someone was not raised in a house in which compliments were comfortably handed out, that person may find it uncomfortable to compliment people or to tell others how important they are. They might not even think to do that. Others are so great at complimenting others.
There is also generosity of spirit. This might require putting forth the effort to send a birthday card or to make a casserole for someone who is having surgery. It might involve contacting an elderly neighbor before going to the grocery store to see if they need something. Maybe it’s just curbing my judgmental thoughts about someone and replacing them with kinder ones. That can be tough. For some people, this kind of generosity is second nature and for others it’s not even something that comes to mind.
Generosity of time is a part of the whole generosity package. In many instances, time is like an umbrella over some of these facets. Maybe someone doesn’t want to take the time look for a card, address it, and find a stamp. Maybe someone would rather spend time engaging in preferred activities than spending time helping someone else.
I think that laziness can be the arch enemy of generosity. So can greediness, both of time and money.
Now it’s time to see what Merriam Webster has to say.
While writing this post, reflecting on generosity, I remembered bits of some posts I wrote ten months ago, when the COVID-19 lockdown first began. I wrote, either naively or ambitiously, “What can I do now to become the best version of myself that I can be?” In a post called Learning from COVID-19.
Back in March, I also wrote “I should be a better person on the other side of this isolating experience than I was going in.” This post was called, How Will Quarantine Change Me?
The last months have, in reality, caused me to become more complacent, lazier.
How disappointing, I could think. Maybe, it’s something else – survival, resilience, acceptance – during this challenging time that have caused me to withdraw more into myself. I don’t know. Ten months ago, I was calling several different people every week to check in on them. Now, I consider calling people, but decide I would rather crochet, read, or scroll the internet. When we have a nice day and plan an outdoor gathering with friends or families, it’s hard to drag myself out.
Well time to begin the hard work of becoming a better person than I was going into this time of seclusion. Working on generosity in all its facets is my first step.