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“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
In a recent New York Times T Magazine article by Tara Parker-Pope, the concept of generosity being one of the most important components of a blissful union was the focus. Along with communication, commitment and sexual intimacy, the regular practice of generosity (defined as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly”) proved to be a determining factor in the level of happiness that a couple possessed with regards to their union with one another.
For example, taking the time to complete a task without being asked and that isn’t expected simply because it eases the responsibilities of your partner or leaving simple notes to express your feelings that sometimes go unsaid during a busy day. Each of these examples and many others of generosity and thoughtfulness help create a very adhesive glue that reveals to the other that you genuinely have them on your mind and want them to be happy, at ease and know that they are loved.
“Generosity consists not the sum given, but the manner in which it is bestowed”
So often, people assume that being thoughtful means expensive gifts, tickets or lavish evenings out, when in reality, such a meaningful gesture doesn’t have to cost much, if anything. Simple creative cards, a favorite sweet treat or post-it left on their keys sharing something as simple as “Looking forward to seeing you tonight . . .”.
The act of always keeping your loved one at the top of your priority list and exercising that muscle of thinking of their contentment as much as your own isn’t necessarily always easy with everything our minds have to keep track of, but it is this basic task that pays dividends when it comes to the success of your relationship.
And even if you are not in a relationship, generous gestures are always appreciated by friends, family members, and co-workers as you will be strengthening the bond you already share. So don’t be shy – pay it forward and treat those around you the way you would appreciate them treating you. After all, the simple truth is kindness begets more kindness and vice versa. So while it is the season of giving, try as best you can to include the practice of simple thoughtful gestures as part of your life the entire year round.