Generosity in Relationship

I used to think generosity in relationship required sacrificing. And sometimes it does. It could be giving in to the choice of movie you see together. Or, it could be spending money on a friend or loved one when you have that money earmarked for yourself.

However, on careful thinking, I’m finding that some of the most generous gestures are in the form of words. My entire outlook can be brightened when someone tells me that my writing has inspired them. And there’s the moment years ago when my mother told me “You’re a good daughter.” I can still feel my emotional response to her words. Those were examples of generosity with words.

This doesn’t mean that it is easy to be generous with words. I recently experienced an example. I’m an enthusiastic boxer at my gym. I’ve been training one or two days a week for six years. For much of the time, I was the only female in training, and I was at the top of the competition in several exercises. Needless to say I enjoyed the attention of my coach and my fellow boxers.

Then about a year ago, another woman “joined the team.” We became friendly, and I was happy to “show her the ropes” and offer words of encouragement.

Over the months, her enthusiasm overtook mine as she trained every day and eventually surpassed me in some of the competitive activities. When the coach recently sent out a video highlighting her skills, my first reaction was resentment.  I quickly tossed my phone and the video into a pillow. Then, the word generosity bubbled up in my mind. I could offer congratulations. That quick text would cost nothing and would perhaps reward my fellow boxer for her dedicated effort. And so I did.

That act of generosity gifted me as well. The dark cloud of my negative feelings – resentment and jealousy – lifted. I felt like I rose above my petty reaction and enjoyed expansiveness in my heart and mind, and in my friendship with my teammate.

Going forward, I will be generous with compliments, encouragement, and expressions of respect and admiration.  I hope to develop a more generous mindset. I have plenty of room to grow with generosity in relationship. I need to stop myself from feeling stingy with others. To give to a friend or family member is not a surrender of my value.