Love is Generous
We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.
This past Thursday – Valentine’s Day, a holiday of which I’m less than fond – I stumbled across Generosity Day. I actually first read about it on researcher Brené Brown’s blog, Ordinary Courage. The idea took root and inspired. The more I read, the clearer it became. As Sasha Dichter wrote, the day was initiated because quite a few saw Valentine’s Day as a “holiday that had lost its way: too formulaic, too rote, everyone dreaded it a little bit.” I agree.
Generosity Day came to me when I’d begun thinking about something quite a bit: vulnerability. This concept of vulnerability was not something I typically embraced, let alone pursued. Until I saw Brené Brown’s talk on the subject. When I began to understand vulnerability from a different perspective, I decided to consciously allot it an active place in my life. She assured vulnerability’s not a weakness; it’s the birthplace of happiness, creativity, and love. Then I understood just how important it is.
I began thinking about people and experiences in my life where vulnerability was embraced, and generosity (of spirit) was practiced. It made me appreciate the unapologetic authenticity of people who are at peace with being vulnerable in the pursuit of happiness. It relates to all aspects of life, and it is beautiful.
On Thursday, I shared some recent real-life experiences:
- Love is: taking a stranger’s hand to help them cross the street when others ignore.
- Love is: writing a note to someone in the emergency room that says, “Hello, I hope you’re not in any pain,” so they smile.
- Love is: sitting in a hospital chair while a loved one sleeps so they rest easier knowing they’re not alone.
- Love for yourself is: being open to a possibility with no guarantee because it’s important enough to see if there’s a chance.
- Love is: the friend who says “I’ll support” the goal you set for yourself. They choose to be an advocate rather than critic.
In all those cases, there’s a need for support and the risk of acceptance or rejection. Yet, no one can ever know the possibility unless they open themselves up a bit and take a chance. It happens every day, to everyone. Of course, being vulnerable doesn’t imply or advocate making foolish or dangerous choices. At least that’s not my interpretation. I see it as taking a chance in the hopes of a better self. When the only chances we take revolve around guaranteed results, we sacrifice many precious opportunities for growth.
Since I write mostly about running, I’ll relate this to racing. When runners train, there’s a level of vulnerability: an uncertainty we won’t achieve our goal. Excellent training doesn’t always guarantee a goal achieved. I found that out in Pensacola. Still, we don’t let this possibility deter us from trying, and striving, and trying again. By continuously putting ourselves out there, we often find a community who’s willing to support. Vulnerability meets generosity.
In life, running, racing, relationships, friendships, careers – any personal pursuit – it’s imperative we remain kind to ourselves and then to others. We may still experience disappointment and heartbreak, but at least we’ve taken our chances. I think then our potential for happiness becomes infinite.
I, for one, am giving vulnerability an important place in my life. My goal: to be open to the beautiful opportunities around me, to be able to express when I need help, and to be there when others need it as well. There’s an exquisite balance of confidence and vulnerability. When that exists we can offer the gifts of our kindness, generosity, and effort: all things that cost no money, but come from the soul.