The Collision of Contentment and Generosity

by joshua becker on September 7, 2010

“The giving of love is an education in itself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Contentment. People look for it in all sorts of places. Some look for contentment in a high-paying job, yet show their discontent the first time they are passed over for a raise. Some look for it in a large home, yet show their discontent by requiring countless improvements. Many have sought contentment in a department store believing that one more item will finally match their desire, yet they are always disappointed… despite the promises made on television.

Could it be that we have been taught to look for contentment in all the wrong places?

What if contentment is actually found in the exact opposite place that we have looking? What if contentment is not found in accumulating more, but is actually found in giving more?

We can easily understand how contentment leads to generosity – the less we need, the more we can give away. But could it be that the inverse is also true? That generosity also leads to contentment? That the two collide together in a way that encourages each other to exist all the more?

Consider for just a moment how generosity leads to contentment:

  • Generous people have a healthy understanding of how much they already own. People who give to those in need quickly realize how much they have to give.
  • Generous people value what they own. People who give away possessions hold their remaining possessions in higher esteem. People who give their time make better use of their time remaining. And people who donate money are far less wasteful with the money left over.
  • Generous people live happier, more fulfilled lives. Studies have shown that generous people are generally happier, healthier, and more satisfied with life. And once they find this satisfaction through generosity, they are less inclined to search for it elsewhere.
  • Generous people find meaning outside of their possessions. It is the American way to wrap up self-worth in net-worth… as if a person’s true value could ever be tallied on a balance sheet. Generous people find their value in helping others and quickly realize that their bank statement says nothing about their true value.
  • Generous people have more fulfilling relationships. People always enjoy the company of a generous giver to the company of a selfish hoarder.  People are naturally attracted towards others who have an open heart to share with others. And a good friend is the best gift you could ever give yourself.

Generous people have less desire for more. They have found fulfillment, meaning, value, and relationships outside of the acquisition of possessions. They have learned to find joy in what they already possess and give away the rest. In other words, they have found true contentment. This contentment naturally leads to even more generosity which leads to even greater contentment which leads to…

Are you searching for contentment in life? If so, try giving something away today. And open up the door for contentment and generosity to collide.

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