Stress-free Generosity & Inclusion

Stress-free Generosity & Inclusion

The holidays are a time for generosity and including others. If you feel stressed about either one, this might be why.

1. Generosity is natural when you have plenty.

Generosity is fun and easy when your well-being is not threatened. So if it is not fun and easy for you, consider that you might have it conflated with sacrifice.

How do you know? If giving away extras doesn’t count as generosity, but giving away things you want, need or don’t have enough of does, that’s sacrifice not generosity. Big difference. Check out the definitions of sacrifice and generosity. Look down the list. Even Webster associates sacrifice with “loss” and generosity with “abundance.” Which one brings up stress for you?

When you become aware that you’ve collapsed two concepts (generosity=sacrifice), at that very moment they begin to pop apart. In this case, the more you realize that you were basically taught sacrifice under the wrong name, the more you realize you don’t really know what generosity is. Now you can define it for yourself.

When you do, be sure your new idea of generosity creates an experience of abundance for you and the receiver. When you both feel the joy, you’re there. That’s a good test to pass on to your kids.

2. How about including others?

As I was pondering the stresses of the holiday season for kids, I had a weird realization. Choices were stressful to me as a kid; even when surveying my presents under the Christmas tree.

Why? Even though I didn’t have to choose between them and leave any behind, I would ultimately have to pick one to open first. Following childhood logic, first was best or, in one way or another, favored.

That was it! Even in choosing which present to open first, I was playing out “favoritism”—the classic sibling rivalry fear.

I could suddenly see how it was in every choice I ever made: which stuffed animal to sleep with, which toy to play with, which friend to invite over. The only way to counteract the guilt in choosing one thing over another was to include them all. Yep, I was one of those kids who had to kiss ALL of the bridge club ladies good night when I came out to kiss my mom. I just couldn’t leave anyone out.

It got so bad, that one Christmas I remember saying I only wanted one thing—a little 5″ tall snowman light-bulb cover that I had seen in a Christmas decoration catalog. My parents didn’t get it for me. It was Christmas as usual.

If you’ve taken my Mastery Class (previously Playtime Class), you know kids play out their lives in playtime. I just saw myself playing out my unconscious fears about favoritism with my presents under the tree!

So if stress comes up for you when you think about inclusion, check your back story. Mine was favoritism where feeling stressed makes sense.

Now what? Redefine inclusion as something I like. For instance, I like Webster’s definition that refers to “membership” — “when all members of the first [group] are part of the second.” In the case of a family, when every child is the “favorite,” favoritism disappears.

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