Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity. And wishing we could be more generous to each other.
Websters defines “generous” as :
1. liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish: a generous patron of the arts; a generous gift.
2. free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous.
In the context of these relationships, I see it as a small act of kindness. Giving a little something of yourself that you’re not required to give; that isn’t asked or expected of you.
What does that look like?
For divorced moms, it may look like not slamming your ex when you know his wife is listening, or when talking directly to her.
This is especially true in regards to our active Facebook page.
Do you have the right to tell your story, which includes the good, the bad and the ugly? Of course you do.
But you could also choose a different road. One that isn’t often traveled. You could choose to be generous.
Being generous would mean deciding to tell your story without the gory details. Or it could mean waiting until she wasn’t around or finding a way to do it privately.
It would mean placing her feelings above your own, in that particular moment.
For stepmoms, if you know your presence makes mom uncomfortable, you could ask if she minds if you attend a game or school function.
Do you have the right to show up with your husband? Absolutely.
But it would be generous to take her feelings into account, even if she hasn’t done the same for you.
Sometimes, when you give someone perceived power, they actually let their guard down a little and are willing to give, in return.
And heck, even if she says no – you’ve broken a pattern here. You’re no longer ignoring her wants or needs – Even if you feel completely justified in doing so.
You’re validating her by letting her know you see her.
You might have planted the seed of kindness or at least got her thinking “Huh, maybe she’s not a total bitch.”
These little acts of kindness let the other woman know you’re not out to get her.
You’re not ignoring her.
You do respect her feelings.
So next time the opportunity presents itself, think for a moment. Who am I? Am I generous?
And why should it be dependent on who she is?
Where can you be more generous? What can you let go of?
© 2011 Jenna Korf All Rights Reserved
(Photo credit: Master isolated images)
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