Last night I was thinking about what I admire in others. It occurred to me that some people who have crossed my path embodied a magical -like presence that lit up my life. I craved their attention, treasured their company and savoured their words. And, upon thinking about it, they all had one virtue in common. It was not charm, or charisma, or beauty; it was generosity.
I wrote about generosity a little while ago. What I have since realised since is that generosity doesn't have to involve money, things or even charity. The simplest and purest form of generosity is just being generous with yourself; with your own time, energy and compassion.
Sharing ideas and wisdom
Allowing people to learn from your experience
Offering thoughtful advice
Reading between the lines
Finding special qualities in others
Addressing people by their names
Staying in touch
Turning up, being there
Telling the truth
Saying what we mean, and meaning what we say
All these things are easy to do, if we try and, crucially, have the confidence within ourselves to believe that our generosity will provide something valuable to others. Or, maybe, we can spin that cycle anti-clockwise and slowly build our confidence as we open up our hearts to others despite our fear of unworthiness. We are all worthy, in our own way; so withholding ourselves is not only an act of self-preservation, but also one of selfishness (which should not invoke guilt but empowerment). For, if nothing else, aren't we, and our life stories, all the more valuable by lighting up other people's lives?
"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."
— Mother Teresa