Earlier this year I completed my doctoral dissertation on The Psychology of Hospitality: Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Environments. Throughout the 273-page document I explore hospitality through its ancient origins in Greek myth and tradition, its cultural and theological significance, its commercialization through the tourism industry, its diminishing role in society and the workplace, and its resurgence via the sharing economy. During my research I examined many values at the core of hospitality and how the lack of those values is making the world we live in feel increasingly hostile. In this column I want to reflect upon one of those primary values, that of generosity. Generosity is not only the proactive act of giving, but also the refraining from smallness of mind or meanness of character. Generosity is not only manifested through the acts we do for others, but the attitudes we direct towards ourselves. I believe one of the greatest compliments someone can bestow upon someone else is that they have a generous spirit; it implies kindness, compassion, patience, integrity, and engagement.
Give someone, (including yourself), the benefit of your time, attention, and doubt. Be generous with your empathy and forgiveness, your judgment and curiosity, and your expectations and appreciation. One thing I have learned in my many years of studying human behavior…it is rational for human beings to act in a manner that can be construed as irrational. That being said, when someone (including yourself) acts in a way different from how you think they “should,” when they divert from the path that you thought you were both following, or give a response that deviates from the script in your head—be generous. Be willing to provide sufficient time, space, and acceptance for things to play out, for emotions to be felt, and for growth to take place.
If you are curious to explore what life might be like if you set aside the time and space to nurture your own generous nature, please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute phone session (Stacey@theCoach4you.com). You deserve it!