Be generous with yourself

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This graphic, from a book by Cleo Wade, made me stop for a second and think about generosity. I’d heard a teacher say, when explaining how to approach a new challenge, a new learning, “be generous with yourself.”

Sometimes, my kid, who is only 6, throws his pencils down in frustration, that what he’s trying to craft isn’t coming out perfectly, that his handwriting isn’t as fast flowing as mine is, that he’s not going to be able to manifest what’s in his mind.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, I try to tell him. You’re learning! Everything is hard at the beginning! That’s how it is meant to be! The best thing you can cultivate in yourself is the ability to be bad at something… over and over and over until your skills start to refine and your work develops finesse and you start to get closer to manifesting the thing that was in your head. No one ever manages to manifest the thing that’s in their head, love. No one! That’s the craft of it. The constant approach.

Generosity, for me, used to mean being willing to give – as Wade writes in her book – “give what you can give and do what you can do.”

But these days, it is much fuller and richer, and is directed inwardly too.

Be generous with yourself, as you tackle a new challenge, as you learn something new, as you struggle, as you heal, as you parent… and then extend that generosity to others, too. It’s not about donating money… this idea of generosity… it’s about holding space to be flawed, a work in progress, a student…


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