Reflections on gratitude The beauty of Positive Psychology research is that it acts as a magnifying glass to show us...Read More
Imagine a group of people in a workshop giving the following answers to a certain question: “I would feel joy, flow, meaningful, happy, connected, peace, fulfilled”. So what was the question? Our last Meetup workshop was on “To Give” and the question was, “What if your barriers to giving were removed?”
I would propose that the only barriers to our generosity are within us. Sense of abundance is innate to the human spirit. Participants who attended the workshop highlighted the things that we are all able to give: humour, warmth, connection, gratitude, friendship, advice, practical help, listening, wisdom, caring and various acts of kindness. This generosity is what most of us do naturally. The more we do, the happier we become. Not rocket science.
So why wouldn't we?
Old habits of the mind stop us from expressing our generous spirit. This is the mind that makes you immersed in a mindset of scarcity, of insufficiency. Privately our mind will take us often to reflect on what is lacking, how we underachieve, how we are not as good as others and so on. When it comes to giving, this mind may suggest that you first need to receive, that you don’t have much to offer, people are not going to like or appreciate that etc. Even thinking about generosity will get this mind going with “I am not giving enough”. This is unfortunately the fate of many great ideas. Instead of inspiring us, they trigger a sense of ‘not good enough’. We resent too much ‘positivity’. It is a threat to that fragile self-image which aspires to be “good enough”.
At the risk of sounding simplistic, I would suggest that abundance is right here and now. In every moment of our life. We are all able to tap into it. My life experience has taught me that some of the most generous people you will find are among the disabled. They are limited in their body and practical resources, but big in their heart and their spirit. Should we be surprised?!.Historically, being ‘generous’ was literally a way of saying “to belong to nobility”, to the elite. I believe today we can all be members of this ‘elite’ club.
I will finish with a story as told by a psychology researcher from America. He hailed a taxi and got into it with his usual friendly and cheerful manner. “Your ride is free; you have paid me with your happiness.” “Why are you so happy?” the driver asked him.
The driver didn’t wait for the answer. “You give the love,” he added. “The moment I saw you — you were concerned about me. You gave me love and you give me happiness. You share your happiness with me and now I have it to give to others,”
When they reached destination after 7 minutes. the driver said:
About the author:
Guy (Hagai) Avisar is a psychologist with more than 30 years of experience helping people with relationship issues