It is interesting to note that nature isn’t stingy. In nature we see an abundance of sights, sounds, textures and aromas. Just look up at a night sky and try to count the stars. Look into the depths of the ocean with its countless number of plants and animal life. Human beings on the other hand, tend to be stingy. For example, we are stingy with our time and often our money. We tend to be stingy with gratitude, praise, kindness, patience, love, compassion just to name a few. Strange that in a culture of abundance we are so stingy, strangers still is the fact that when we could afford to give away or share we tend to hoard and hang on to so much. What accounts for this? Are we really that greedy? Or does the stinginess start with our attitude toward ourselves?
When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing a goal? When was the last time you gave yourself permission to relax without guilt or be patient with or kind to yourself when you messed up? When was the last time you smiled at something silly you said or did instead of reprimand yourself? When was the last time you played like a kid or laughed uncontrollably or sobbed openly at the movie theatre? When was the last time you bared your heart to someone?
Why when we live in a place in the world with so much affluence and abundance do we have such a hard time letting go, sharing or giving away? Why when we could afford to be generous do we choose to be stingy? It doesn’t make any sense. I think that part of the answer lies in the fact that we don’t tend to think about how stingy we are with ourselves. We don’t think of the fact that we withhold praise or compassion from ourselves as an act of stinginess. But it is stingy.
Is it the speed of our lives and the fact that we never feel like we have enough time to do what we have to do? Is it that we spend so much time racing from one task to the next that we feel like we don’t have anything left to spare? Perhaps the racing makes us feel impoverished and that makes us react with a kind of stinginess. We get caught up in a mentality of “mine,” my time, my feelings, my space, my experience, my way.
I think one thing is clear, when we lose perspective we are ripe for stinginess. When so many things demand our attention we tend to recoil out of self-preservation. Recoiling is a closed place and a closed place is stingy. Be contrast when we feel relaxed and open we tend to be more generous. Think about the last time you went on vacation or took some time off or simply looked up at the night sky. Chances are at those times you were more patient or compassionate with yourself or those around you.
I guess the antidote to stinginess could be vastness, or looking at the big picture. When we step back and get some perspective we tend to become more open. When we are open we are likely kinder to ourselves and those around us.
Ask yourself where and under what circumstances you tend to be stingy. Then see if you can catch yourself in the act, note your stinginess and redirect it into generosity