Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Generosity And Pride

Read this quote by Kahlil Gibran today “Generosity is giving more than you can; pride is taking less than you need.” This is familiar to me from my teens when I first discovered Gibran but it gives me more food for thought now than it had back then.

From what I have seen in life, generosity and pride sometimes go together. My friend D will do anything she can to help me but feels awkward about accepting the smallest token of appreciation or ask me for a favor lest it should be considered owed. It makes her feel like her generosity is being calibrated and paid what it was worth to me.

The truth is, I don’t have any way to measure her kindness, less be able to compensate equal or more of its value to me. I merely strive to strike a balance between an adequate expression of my gratitude and finding a gift that is thoughtful without being over the top.

And D is not alone – there are many other like her. Generous to a fault but too proud to accept another’s generosity. They often seek someone they can continue to give just for the joy it brings them. They would like the recipient to accept their largesse with good grace but not to do anything more tangible – it diminishes the happiness they derive from unconditional and often over-abundant giving. It is up to us who receive to accept more than we can out of generosity or let our pride come in the way of someone’s source of happiness.

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