The Generous Heart

The meaning of life is to find your gift.

The purpose of life is to give it away.

- Picasso

Throughout my life, I have had the privilege to witness the profound impact the littlest acts of generosity have. From smiles to tears, words of gratitude and sharing of the deepest vulnerability, generosity connects us at the most primal level. Generosity connects us at the heart. Generosity transforms lives and changes the world for the better. Studies are finding that when people are generous, they prioritize the needs of others above themselves.

From smiles to kind words, from liking a YouTube video to volunteering in a homeless shelter, there are many ways to express generosity. In South Carolina, a thirteen-year-old Katie Krope grows thousands of pounds of food a year for needy families, and there have been numerous businesses whose employees have chosen to take pay cuts so that everyone could stay employed.

Notre Dame has the Gratitude Initiative, UC Berkeley The Greater Good Science Center and they are just two of thousands of educational institutions that have been studying the science, psychology and long-term effects and ramifications of gratitude.

  • Currents of generosity run deep through us, children show it freely and chimps instinctually.

  • Generosity is a way to tolerate hard realities, by allowing us to have an experience of directly impacting it.

  • Those with higher levels of empathy, compassion, and greater understanding tend to be more generous.

  • Married partners who have a substandard sex life, but behave generously towards each other rate their marriages as ‘Very Good’ and stay married 92% of the time, compared to married couples with healthy sex lives, but who are lacking generosity who rate their marriages as ‘Good’ are 62% likely to stay married.

  • Those who are generous are healthier, live longer, and are overall happier. Their relationships last longer and they make more money.

There are many different ways to express gratitude. Many different reasons. One more little gem: those who make generosity part of how they define themselves are more generous overall.

Ways to live with a generous heart:

  • Make a point of smiling at people.

  • Preform acts of kindness.

  • Be free with compliments, celebrations, and positive words.

  • Give: time, money, compliments, comfort.

  • Ask yourself, “How can I help?”, “What can I do to make this world a better place?”

  • Listen. Honor what the person needs to say. If you disagree with what you hear, no need to argue or debate simply find where the common desire is.

Generosity will change your life and every life you touch. Better lives equal a better world.

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