When I was a little girl, I can recall giving my kindergarten teacher a gift. I made it. It included a handwritten letter inside a box. At five years old, I believed that my teacher was the smartest person on the planet. She knew more than me and my mom. Looking back, I’m not surprised that I became a teacher, because I’ve been fascinated with these super humans for a long time now. Auntie Mommie told me later on that my teacher told her that my gifts always moved her to tears. She couldn’t believe that I was so thoughtful at five.
In all fairness, my aunt who raised me, was the perfect picture of generosity. She was always giving to others in some way. She remember birthdays and they were always accompanied by a card and your favorite thing. Her generosity made you feel special, loved and remembered. That’s powerful.
Over the years, I’ve taken on some of her traits. I remember; and I want the people closest to me to know that they are always on my mind and in my heart. So, I give. 🙂
Giving always gives back to you. While you may gift a cool coffee mug to a coworker, because you noticed that she dropped her favorite mug in the break room the day before, you may not get a coffee mug back as a thank you. But, you may experience the warmth of her smile and sincere appreciation to you because you thought to give her an unexpected gift. You may actually receive MORE from the experience than the recipient. This has happened to me so many times. It makes giving so special.
Giving replaces selfishness. It’s so easy to be consumed with your life, your needs and your desires. When you choose to give to others, suddenly your “stuff” takes a back seat to your desire to bring goodness to another person. It’s selfless not self serving. Each gift builds relationship equity and creates a gateway for love in its purest form to flow to others and back to you.
Giving doesn’t have to include money. Yes, I believe that generally we are all okay pocketing a little more cash or receiving tangible gifts, but the intangibles in many ways become the most valuable. For example, lending your ear and your time to a friend who needs to vent and a safe place to share is a gift. Offering to babysit for a single mom on a Saturday is a gift. Giving encouragement and mentoring to a high school student is a gift. There are so many ways that you can give to others. This list can go on for days.
Generosity awakens your heart to its true purpose. We were made to love and be loved. We were made to give.
This season and beyond, open up your life to those around you. Give them the best of you….give and give some more.
Ok, let’s be honest here. Life isn’t always a bed of roses or 65 degrees and sunny. Sometimes there are occasional relationship thorns and decisions covered by overcasts and clouds. Giving in to the pressure is easier than we are willing to admit at times. So, how do you bounce back when you feel like each day keeps knocking the wind out of you? Well, can we first acknowledge that if you recall another day rolling around you didn’t go without wind for long? Yeah, that’s the power of a resilient mind. A mind that bounces back and refuses to stay down for long.
Resilient people have a different perspective about things. You know the friend you’ve labeled as Ms. Optimistic. She sees the good in everything. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Life is always showing in her favorite color. Well, perhaps she’s not just optimistic. She’s resilient. Over the years, I’ve experienced very hard times and times when it seemed like I was soaring. I had to learn to be resilient in both seasons. Resilience says that this doesn’t have to be the end. I know there’s a beginning underneath these circumstances. There’s a much bigger transaction taking place. I shouldn’t settle for what’s whirling around on the surface.
Resilient people train their thoughts to seek alternatives. In Project Passion Mentoring Institute, one month is centered on uncovering the counterproductive thoughts that hinder growth. We have control over our thoughts. Our brains are trainable. We can teach our brain to seek alternatives by evaluating the thoughts that enter our mind and deciding which thoughts get to stay. In the good times, I’ve had to bounce back from the cynical thought that “something bad may come along and spoil this moment.” In the not so good times, I’ve had to bounce back from the sneaky thought that “this season is never going to end”. I had to replace each of those thoughts with truth. For example, if something good is happening in my life, I should choose to be fully engaged and present in the moment. It won’t be the last time I’ll experience that goodness, but I could miss out on it right now by giving attention to something that has NOT happened. When it comes to your thoughts, start by asking yourself two questions: 1) Is this true? 2) Is this thought helping me? Then you need to replace the thought with a true and helpful thought.
Resilient people embrace change. It’s easier to embrace change when you expect it. Life simply doesn’t happen in a straight line. There are often detours, rerouting, U-turns and new paths altogether. You should expect it! You should expect that sometimes the only way that you can experience growth in your life is when things start to change. The change increases your capacity. It stretches you and ultimately positions you to experience more than you ever could have if things would have stayed the same.
Resilient people have options. When one door closes, resilient people believe wholeheartedly that they will be turning the knob of another door soon enough. They don’t expect things to happen one way. Their approach to life involves problem solving, reasoning, earnest expectation, compromise and opportunity. So, yes 2 + 2 = 4
but 8 – 4 = 4 and so does 36/9. There are many ways to get there, they just need to look for the options.
Becoming resilient is the antidote for mediocre living. You can bounce back. Get up from there…I hear you breathing!