During the Christmas season, we all fall somewhere on the spectrum between Jesus and Mr. Scrooge, between generosity and stinginess. Personally, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum from Mr. Scrooge.
I’m not saying I’m Jesus, but I love giving gifts to people and giving money to charity. Giving is literally one of my favorite things! It always leaves me with a sense of joy and satisfaction, like I’ve done something to make this cold world a little warmer.
And, believe it or not, I think generosity is integral to personal growth. So, while I totally respect a person’s right to be a Scrooge (and want all the Scrooges to know they’re welcome here!), I’d still like to share three reasons I think generosity is the better option. And not just at Christmastime, but the whole year through!
Generosity Up-Levels Your Empathy
If you want to up-level your empathy, generosity is actually a great place to start. Why? Because giving requires you to see the need before you meet the need.
When you want to give a meaningful gift to a friend, you usually think about something they need or want, right? You put yourself in their shoes long enough to think of a gift that would bring them joy or ease a burden. That’s empathy.
It’s also empathy when you see someone hungry and you feed them; or when you see someone thirsty and you provide them with clean drinking water. When you give your time or resources or money to solve a critical need in the world, it’s usually because you’ve seen what often goes unseen and you’re inspired to do something about it.
Generosity Releases Endorphins
Throw away your running shoes and cancel that gym membership! There’s a new way to get an endorphin boost and it’s called giving. Actually, you can keep your running shoes and gym membership if those are things you truly enjoy, but giving is a great option for days when your body needs to rest.
In all seriousness, studies have shown that when you practice generosity, or general philanthropy of any kind, your brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s “feel good” chemicals. These chemicals can make you feel euphoric and can even lower your perception of pain.
That’s why you might feel what some call a “helper’s high” or “giver’s glow” after volunteering your time to help someone in need or donating money to a cause you love. Those actions are literally changing your brain chemistry!
Generosity Makes The World A Better Place
You are a source of light and life. Whenever you offer your time to listen to a friend, pour your heart into a project, or give someone a compliment, you are being generous. Whenever you shine your light into the darkness or breath life into the lifeless, you are being generous.
And you were born to be generous! Common wisdom says you were born a taker, greedy. But Melissa wisdom says you were born a giver. You weren’t born to consume, but to be consumed by what you are here to do.
If you don’t know what you are here to do, that’s ok. Just start trying (legal!) things. If you follow your inner wisdom, you can’t go wrong. Following your inner wisdom will always lead to your transformation and your transformation will always lead to a transformed world.
And know this: whatever you are here to do, it’s important and the world needs it. Never for one second allow yourself to believe you don’t matter. You do. Someone or something is waiting for you to show up, so be generous with your gifts whenever you can.
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