August 22

We'd all like a reputation
for generosity, and we'd all
like to buy it cheap.

Mignon McLaughlin


Today's Meditation:

There's nothing at all wrong with wanting to be known by others as being a generous person.  I would love to have such a reputation.  Unfortunately, though, reputations cost something to develop, and I'm usually not able to pay the price to gain a legitimate reputation for something such as being generous.  It's not that I don't want to pay the price; it's more like I'm not able.

We can be generous with time, with money, with goods, with food.  We can share anything and everything that we have, including wisdom and cars and ice cream.  But sharing is one thing, and being generous is something else.  Generosity comes from the heart, and the person who is truly generous doesn't think at all about the returns of what he or she is giving.  That's something that I'm still unable to do at least half the time--very often I do think of the returns on what I'm giving, which makes my giving much less of an act of generosity and more of an act of self-interest.

I believe that true generosity is something that we work towards our whole lives long.  I'm not ashamed to say that I'm interested in returns because that's the way I've learned to give throughout my life, and I definitely am working myself away from that attitude; I'm simply not there yet.  I have a ways to go, and that's okay.

I know that whatever reputation I have, I must earn.  I can earn a reputation for generosity only by being truly generous, and one day I hope to be there.  For now, I think I have a reputation for being fairly generous, because that's all I've earned.  When I learn to truly give with all my heart and without thought of recompense, then I'll be able to start earning a reputation for generosity.  And it won't come cheap, but at that point I won't care about that.

Questions to consider:

How do you define "generous"?  Do you fit your definition?

How can we learn to give from our hearts in a spirit of true generosity?

What kinds of reputations can be bought "cheap"?

For further thought:

Generosity consists not of the sum
given, but of the manner in which
it is bestowed.


More on generosity.


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