The January Dilemma: Offering A Lift On An Empty Tank

If there’s one month when you might be forgiven for putting generosity on sabbatical, it’s this one.

January probably has you holding your breath BIG time. Christmas has come and gone and left you with serious doubts on how to cover any known expenses. And if any ‘curve balls’ happen to head in your direction, you’re in a serious ‘ding’!

It’s quite natural then allow yourself to be rather selfish over the course of the next month.

Guests will have to wait until February while you count out the baked beans and apportion the mashed potato in January. Pocket money for the kids…will they really remember if you forget to give it to them? After all, doesn’t the turkey and Christmas pudding combination have a serious affect on the memory of the average Homo sapien? I mean, isn’t that the reason we only allow ourselves that lethal culinary combination once a year.
And the children’s ‘holey’ school shoes will just have to do for a while. Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain too often, and if it does, that the puddles evaporate quickly.

Enough said! It’s just that there’s an uncomfortable tension around your chest area around this time, isn’t there!

But, here’s the challenge: The very cure for that intensity you and I are feeling at the moment is perhaps the most illogical thing you could possibly imagine: Yep, GENEROSITY!
Generosity is a medically proven stress reliever, having proven to have such effects as reducing blood pressure and increasing levels of happiness.

So, how do you give yourself to generosity when the budget is as stretched as it is? How do you ‘offer a lift when the tank is empty’?

My thinking is that you offer COMMUNITY!

After all, if you pull up on the side of the road next to a hitchhiker just at that moment when your tank runs dry, you may not be able to give him a lift, but you can certainly give him your company as you walk to the nearest gas station together.

You see, the thing is, we typically see generosity as a giving of material things, or money. But that’s only one aspect of it.
Generosity is also the giving of my time, my words of encouragement and my energy. It’s noticing the emotional need of a colleague, and responding in tenderness towards it; it’s recognising the importance of ‘lending a helping hand’, and making the moment to do so; it’s often simply giving an ear.

Refuse to surrender to the typical tension of the first month of the year. Though you may not be able to run from the tight squeeze, you can certainly turn it from the squeeze of the constrictor, into the squeeze of the companion, embracing him or her with your warmth, your sensitivity, your time and your encouraging conversation.

After all, your car(d) may be empty, but your heart…take a look, it’s fu(e)ll!

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