“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill
The term GENEROSITY usually brings about images of money and giving to charitable organizations, but that’s not all generosity is about. I absolutely believe in being generous with one’s money and other resources like time, energy, experience, knowledge, skills, etc - but I think generosity can be expanded upon.
When I started making a list of the words that represented my values and the “why” behind my business, it was hard to narrow them down. Words like empathy, open-mindedness, inclusivity, unity, acceptance, compassion and even patience quickly started flooding the pages. I thought it was going to be impossible to choose only a few [which it was, and that’s why I have six] until I realized that all of those aforementioned words fell under Generosity.
As I wrote in a recent post on my process, I like to start every project by writing words that represent the values, mission or goals of any given project and then look them up to be reminded of their technical meaning.
[Sidebar // I find this important, especially in today’s culture, to remind myself and others of words' definitions. We’re so quick to throw around terminology, phrases and labels without knowing what they mean. I am by no means a fan of being overly politically correct - I don’t think you need to have a full understanding of anything in order to start engaging in conversation; however, I do think reminding ourselves of what words, policies, etc. mean is extremely helpful.]
When I looked up generosity, or rather generous, this is what I saw:
Showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, that is strictly necessary or expected.
Showing kindness toward others
Large or more plentiful than is usual or necessary.
Quite often the term “giving back” is used when discussing generosity but I’ve never been a fan of that phrase because it suggests you took something from someone or a cause to begin with - which more than likely isn’t the case. When you look up the actual definition, you see that generosity is not described as giving back, but rather as giving more.
Synonyms included liberal, lavish, magnanimous, munificent, indulgent, unselfish, free, bountiful, plentiful, copious, opulent, profuse and oddly confusing enough - bumper.
That’s what I want to be. That’s what I want to do. I want to be generous in all aspects of my life, not just with my time or money but through all the ways I described above. I want to show people compassion. I want to exercise empathy. I want to be generous in kindness and love.
What you do in this life to make the world better than it was before you got here is your legacy and I wholeheartedly want generosity to play a huge role in my legacy. Throughout my life I've volunteered with many organizations, rebuilt Hurricane Katrina housing, given financially, tithed, sponsored a child's education, donated to individuals medical bills and been a leader // member of volunteer teams for different organizations such as Elevation Church and CreativeMorningsCLT. I don't say this to boast on myself, but rather to live by example. Volunteering and supporting causes close to my heart are extremely important to me.
Some people might scoff at generosity - thinking that it's ultimately a selfish act because people only give to feel better about themselves. Maybe that's part of it. Maybe that's how it starts. I don't really care how people get started or what people's motivation to be generous is, because I know that even if you start with selfish intentions you won't be left there because you're doing good, you're changing lives - including yours.
When you want anything in this world, you have to give it first. Want more friends? Be friendlier. Want to break the binds of jealousy? Encourage and compliment others. Want to kick greed in the teeth? Be generous.
Once you start living a life of generosity, yes, it feels GREAT because it changes your heart. When you get to see how your generosity is directly impacting the lives of others in need and you see their gratitude on their faces - your heart changes and all you want to do is give more, be a part of ending someone else's pain or struggle. Generosity fuels love.
I believe in connecting my work with social causes as often as I can in an effort to be generous and support people, missions, organizations, etc. that are doing great work to make this world a better place.
And with that, it gives me great pleasure to announce that 10% of everything brought into The Classy Hippie will be going towards such causes, missions and organizations. I'm honored to be able to continue giving through The Classy Hippie!
First up - Urban Ministry Center.
I LOVE the heart of this organization. They exist to end homelessness and to give neighbors experiencing homelessness their dignity back. They believe in the Housing First method, which is exactly what it sounds like. When you give a person a place to live it gives them a home, a safe place and a home base so they can get back on their feet and solve any other problems they may be experiencing. It's hard to fix your problems or struggles when you don't know where you'll be sleeping that night.
I LOVE Urban Ministry Center and am excited that they will be the very first organization The Classy Hippie will be contributing to. Check out their website below for more information on their organization and how you can get involved // donate.
Love & Blessings,