Are you the person who will set aside your well-laid plans to help a friend, stay late to finish a work project, and set aside your needs to take care of your family first?
For many years I was that person. I gave of my time, my resources, and my energy beyond my limits and beyond what I truly had to give.
I thought that this is what I needed to do to be kind, generous and make others happy. But instead, it left me depleted, unhappy, and frustrated.
Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you read my post about letting go of people pleasing where I introduce the idea of finding a balance between giving to others and maintaining energy for yourself.
With the season of giving nearly upon us, l want to expand on the ideas I shared in my earlier post, in this three-part series on Grounded Generosity.
What Is "Grounded Generosity"?
This is a phrase that I created to encompass what I believe is an authentic and sustainable way to extend generosity to others and ourselves.
Grounded Generosity means making an intentional choice about how, when, and if you share your time, resources, and energy with others based on your own capacity, needs, and desires.
Let's play a game...
Generosity: Myths vs. Facts
Giving to others is always the best thing to do.
Myth - There are times when giving to others is the best choice, but not always. Sometimes you may have to say no or not now, which might be a challenge at first. Assess the situation and most importantly your capacity, energy, and time before you jump in to help someone else. Taking a few minutes to pause before you respond allows you to choose what’s best rather than just automatically say yes.
Ignoring my needs in order to give to others is what I should do to show them how much I care.
Myth - If you habitually ignore your own needs and only give to others, eventually your energy will become depleted and you may end up feeling resentful, unappreciated, and exhausted. If you don’t put gas in your car no matter how much you want it to go it won’t. Find ways to fill your tank first so you are ready to roll when those you love need you most.
If I make a commitment to help someone I must fulfill that promise.
Myth - Circumstances change and people who care about you understand that. You do not have to keep every commitment you make. Communicate the change in a timely manner and come up with another plan that allows you to be true to yourself while being generous to others.
Taking care of myself first will give me more energy to be generous with others.
True - When you take care of your needs first, you will have time, resources, and energy that you can give to others from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.
Being generous can bring joy to the giver as well as the receiver.
True - Being generous to others can bring great joy and fulfillment to the person giving as well as the person receiving the generosity when it comes from a place of Grounded Generosity and not a feeling of obligation.
How can you apply this knowledge to your own life?
These 5 points may have resonated with you, given you pause, or perhaps even caused some angst.
Honor your emotions and feelings. I invite you to stay open and curious about how you can invite Grounded Generosity into your life over the next couple of months and beyond.
I’d love to hear how it’s going for you, answer your questions, and explore the benefits that coaching can offer you.
This is the first of my three-part series Grounded Generosity. In part two, I'll give you 5 steps to help you maintain your energy, set boundaries, and truly find joy in the coming holiday season.