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Does Generosity Pay Off?


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Give and it will be given to you. That’s part of the tradition I was raised in. Be nice, be helpful, be generous and ultimately it will come back to you. With all due respect, I am not certain that is true at all. It is certainly a good character quality to be generous. It’s a good practice to be helpful but I am wondering if that whole “what you put out there comes back to you” has any functional validity beyond just the fact that it’s a good idea to be those things.

Last month I wrote about boundaries and how those with healthy and appropriate boundaries generally do better in life. This month I am exploring the notion of giving. Often those that are pleasers or helpers find it difficult to say no. I know I do and I am not of the opinion that I am either of those types of people. OK well maybe I am a helper.

Those that choose to be generous and helpful likely feel better and are more open than their more self -absorbed counter parts. The issue worth exploring is the “until when” question. How does a person determine when the generosity and helpful spirit crosses the line into being taken for granted or worse being taken advantage of?

It occurs to me that if you are one that has been burned and believe the best course is to pull back and protect yourself then you are not better off than the person that has a fully open check book with the authorized signers being whoever is in the most need. By check book I do not mean just money. There are open check books of energy, helpfulness, patience, emotion etc.

This month I urgently encourage you to explore the question of “until when” yourself. I am open and generous until when? Do you work diligently to balance the helpful side of who you are with the side that says what about me? Is there enough self -awareness to clearly become balanced? In my case I am often paid to help, its part of what I do. But there are many times when I am helpful when I am not asked or being paid. It’s those times where I have recently found myself wondering about the boundaries around helpfulness and generosity. This month I encourage you to examine your own tendencies around helpfulness and generosity. Explore your own beliefs about how you regulate where others needs end and yours begin.


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