Always give from the heart. If you truly want to be generous, then you have to give just because you want to give, not because you have ulterior motives and want something in return. You should give simply because you want to give, because you’ve found something you believe in, and because you want to do good in the world. If you’re only giving to impress other people or to ingratiate yourself with someone in some way, then you’re not really being generous.
Know that being generous will make you happier. Though you shouldn’t be generous for the sake of furthering your own needs, you should know that people who are generous are known to be happier than those who are not. This is because being generous has been proven to make people feel more compassionate towards others, to give people more of a sense of community, and to give people a higher self-image. While you are being generous towards others, you can also be generous toward yourself as well. If you’re happier, then you’ll have more of a positive outlook and more energy to do good in the world. The positive cycle will continue.
Call a friend who’s having a hard time. If you can’t be there in person, give your friend a call to check in, to say hi, and to show that you care. If you can just spare a few minutes to show that person that you’re thinking of him or her and to be kind and sincere, then you’ll be making that person’s day better, even if he or she is still struggling. Spending time trying to cheer up a person who is in need over the phone is very generous.
Notice what would make someone’s life easier. Whether you’re interacting with your neighbors or your best friend, take a look at the person you’re talking to and see how you’ll be able to help that person out. Maybe your coworker is really stressed and needs someone to look after her dog while she’s visiting her sick mother in a different town. Maybe your best friend’s car broke down and she needs a ride to school. Maybe your mother is overworked and doesn’t even realize how much help she needs until you give it. When you talk to someone, start wondering about how you could help them instead of always thinking about how they can help you .
Share your things. If you’re with friends, share your food, your clothes, your car, your home, or any of the things that mean something to you. If you’re just sharing something you don’t care about, then it’s not as meaningful. If you have just two delicious chocolates left and give one to a friend, that means more than giving your friend one of a hundred candy bars you don’t care about.
Send “thank you” cards. Instead of just sending a “thank you” email or even a text, take the time to send a card to someone who has really made a difference in your life. This will show the person how much you care and that you’ve made an effort to let him or her know how much his or her help has meant to you. Sending thank you cards will put you in a more giving and generous mindset.
Be grateful for what you have. Being grateful can inspire generosity because it will make you aware of all of the great things you have in your life. Every Sunday, sit down and make a list of at least five things you’re grateful for, and take the time to appreciate those things. Think of all the good things people have done for you and never forget to thank them, even if it was for something they did months earlier. Being more grateful will put you in the mindset to be a more generous person.
- If you are able to appreciate all that you have, you’ll be more likely to share some of those great things with others, to help them appreciate life as well.
Celebrate somebody. The next time your friend has a birthday coming up, make a big deal of it. Get a big old cake, invite some people over, and throw a party, making the person feel loved and special. Even people who claim to hate birthdays love to be spoiled and celebrated, and you should make an effort to make the people closest to you feel special. You can find any excuse to celebrate someone, from a birthday to a promotion, or just because.
Be kind to strangers. Even if it just means saying hi to someone you’ve never met before, giving someone a compliment in line at the grocery store, or holding a door open for someone who is carrying groceries, taking the time to be kind to people you don’t know is very generous and easy to do. And if you’re in a rush, then taking the time to be nice to strangers is even more generous.
Volunteer. Volunteering your time is a great way to be generous. If you want to be generous, then spend at least an hour or two a week volunteering at a soup kitchen, tutoring adults or children, cleaning up a community park, or doing some other good out there in the world. You can do different tasks, such as volunteering in a bookstore, or helping at a fundraising campaign for charity. Find something that gives you meaning while expanding your generosity.
Hold the door for someone. No matter how busy, late, or tired you may be, you should never be too tired to hold the door for someone, or to take a moment out of your day just to be polite and kind to a person near you. This simple act will make you and the person feel better, and you’ll see that there’s always time to slow down and help out.