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Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Generosity

I actually had two posts written for G in the end. G for Generosity and G for God, I decided against the latter and decided to post the former, I may at a later date submit the second one.

I have become quite sceptical of people over the last couple of months, I used to take people in my stride but recently I have come to see that things are not always as they may first seem, especially when it comes to acts of kindness.

I really do not believe in altruism, depending of course on your definition. For this purpose I am going with altruism as being a complete act of selflessness, just for the good of the other person.

When you give someone a present what are you actually doing? Are you thinking of them or are you thinking of what they are going to think of you? Always be careful if someone gives you a present or does something nice for you because chances are they are after something.

Now before I continue I should explain that I am not one of these untrusting, paranoid lunatics who think that everyone is trying to con you. Quite the opposite I believe most acts of generosity are done for good reasons just not necessarily the good reasons that would be deemed the best.

For example, we all know that there is no such thing as a free meal or a free holiday etc. Most people are cautious of generosity from strangers as sadly the chances are there is a con, a bribe or a trick involved, and this is just being realistic.

In that case this is not really generosity is it, so we can pretty much discontinue that line of thought.

No it is our nearest and dearest who we should analyse their actions more.

I must reiterate that it is NOT a bad thing.

If a member of your family does something for you then this could be for several reasons. The first out of a sense of loyalty. For example I would give my mother the last Rolo (if she could eat them -_-‘) not out of some genuine act of kindness, but because she is my mother and will glare at me if I don’t.

This is fine, this is what family is for.

I consider myself a pretty generous person, I will help people and do things for people quite willingly. Most of the time I do this because I want people to think well of me, and I find myself being even more generous towards those I am most insecure about.

I’m sure we have all experienced that feeling where we want the respect or to be liked by someone. Well in my case to achieve this I find myself trying to be more helpful to that person. So really what I am doing is primarily for me, and for them second. This makes me sad, because I don’t want it to be for me that I do it.

Almost to counter this, I find myself also being particularly generous to people I do not like or find annoying. This time it is out of guilt, to try and reprimand myself for thinking these things about those people and almost silently apologise for something that they don’t even know has happened (by this I mean I rare tell people when I don’t like them or find them annoying, but the reasons for that are a different story).

And finally, of course, we are generous towards those we admire or have a crush on. I firmly believe that we will all be guilty of this one to some capacity. We want them to like us in the way we like them so we are more generous towards them as a bribe or in some cases even a kind of emotional blackmail.

Having said all this. It is better to be generous to people than not to be, so despite these realistic selfish motivations I believe we should all continue, many times a secondary effect of our generosity is to make the other person feel good. That must be worth it.



  1. I totally believe in altruism. I help anyone I can (whether I know them or not) just because I can. Period. Nothing expected in fact, most of the time I don't hang around to see the reaction. When I first met my hubby he was very skeptical of this but has, over the years, come to realize that I help for no reason. I have to agree, though, that there are times I'll do something for a reason. I was raised to help people and pay it forward so, to me, there's nothing sinister to it.
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around # 802 in A to Z list today)

  2. Well Rhia I believe you, and that it is fantastic that there are people in this world who can be truly Altruistic, if only there were more like that!

    Pay it forward is a great concept, one I have tried to apply myself. When I wrote this post I think I was particularly angry at myself because I could see these selfish reasons with in me and I want to be good and help for the sake of helping.