How To Be More Generous When You Don’t Have A Lot To Give

How To Be More Generous When You Don’t Have A Lot To Give ©iStock/a-wrangler

It’s a common misconception that you have to have a lot to give a lot in life, but that just isn’t the case. In fact, some of the best things you can offer others cost nothing at all, and giving them can totally change the way you view the world. Here are some ways to be more generous when you don’t feel like you have a lot to give:

  1. Tell people how much they mean to you. It’s easy to take our relationships for granted, especially when they’re a constant, so that’s a great reason to make an effort to notice how special they are and why.
  2. Volunteer your time. If you feel like giving and don’t have a dollar to spare, donate your time to a person or cause that could use an extra set of hands. The concept of charity can come into the day-to-day life as well, such as offering to babysit your niece or giving someone a ride to the airport.
  3. Smile at strangers. It doesn’t have to be all of them, but pick a few here and there. You know it feels good to be smiled at by random people with innocent intentions, so pass it on.
  4. Be patient with customer service people. Never underestimate the power of your patience. Giving people unnecessary attitude isn’t going to get you what you want or help a situation. Assuming that other people are doing their best means there’s a little room for human understanding.
  5. Be patient with your relationships. You’ll never be able to control another person completely, but you can control the way you react to them. Sometimes taking a step back to asses is necessary to see if you’re imagining a problem or if there’s something productive to be done.
  6. Do your job the best that you can. Work is often far from fun, but there’s a real calming sense of satisfaction that comes out of doing your best work anyway. The more you can show up in your work environment doing your best, the better things will run for other people, which is a circular experience.
  7. Be present in the time you share with people. It’s safe to assume that people enjoy spending time with you when they do, so anything you can do to be present in those moments will make them more valuable.
  8. Offer advice when it’s warranted. What’s more valuable than wisdom? If you know how to handle something, offering up your suggestions can be a huge gift to people who are really looking for answers. However, be careful not to seem too pushy or judgmental.
  9. Suggest your favorite books, movies, and music. The cool thing about creative art is that the same things can be enjoyed by an endless amount of people. Making a music suggestion to someone could totally turn their day around — and in some cases, their life.
  10. Accept generosity from others. Generosity also extends to accepting things from other people. Letting your lover love you and your neighbor deliver bake you cookies can be as much as a gift for them as it is for you.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog