I have not always appreciated generosity for the gift it is. Generosity isn’t just about sharing the last cookie or perhaps making a sacrificial financial donation to a worthy cause - I understand that kind of generosity and have myself been the grateful recipient of such generosity.
Generosity from Brown’s perspective is new to me. Here’s what she says, “Learning how to set the boundaries that allow us to be generous in our assumptions about others. The challenge is being honest and clear with others about what’s okay and not okay.” p. 150 Braving the Wilderness
What does this mean?
Here’s how it works with me. If my husband does something that irritates me, I am quick to assume the worst. I might think - he did that to irritate me. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t understand me. My husband is a jerk. This is the opposite of Brene’s call to generosity.
When my husband does something to irritate me and I remember to be generous in my assumptions - I might think: Huh. What’s that all about? I wonder what he was thinking and I am curious to ask him about his choice. Is he doing okay? Is he tired? Does he need help?
Generous assumptions result in curiosity and inquiry, not judgment.
As I am learning to practice Brene’s kind of generosity, our conflict has decreased and my sense of love and well-being has increased. It’s really lovely.
For the most part, my husband does not wake up in the morning and set out to drive me nuts. He is doing the best he can and it is quite wonderful. Living generously, I can say the same about me.
Why not live more generously? How can it possibly hurt?