One thing I’ve noticed about generous action is that it can be hard to talk about. More specifically, doing something generous and then telling folks about it doesn’t necessarily feel natural.
The interesting part is to watch what happens when you spread a story about someone being generous to you.
For example, when I told people about my wonderful, outrageous experience of a stranger buying lunch for me and my family in Nashville over the holidays, people couldn’t help but share their own stories of wonderful, outrageous generosity they’d experience. One of my favorites was from a colleague who recalls to this day the time she pulled up to a toll booth and was told that her father, in the car ahead of her, had paid her toll for her. In her words, “What’s so funny about this is that my father was wonderful, caring…heck he paid for me to go to college…and yet that time he paid my 80 cent toll really sticks in my mind as a moment he did something special for me.”
Our critical brains are so adept at explaining why a small gesture of generosity – money, time, a smile or an open ear – is small, limited, maybe inconsequential. Yet our own experience of generosity holds the real wisdom. When we experience generosity, we feel noticed; we understand that we are not so separate from everyone else; we suspect that people around us are there to support us; we don’t feel alone.
When you hear about someone experiencing generosity, it’s almost impossible not to recall and share that day when someone made you feel special, noticed, worthwhile and lucky.
Don’t forget, we’re still on the hunt for a handful of additional Generosity Day volunteers. Spread the love.