We don’t take your generosity for granted…and neither should you!
We’ve said it many times that Global Hope wouldn’t exist without generous people like yourself giving your time, talent and treasure to this mission of serving orphans and vulnerable children. We believe this no less today than yesterday, which is why we bring you this month’s article about generosity burnout, and how to deflect it.
America is considered one of the most generous nations on earth giving $390 billion to charitable causes in 2016 (Giving USA Foundation). Volunteering is also high in our country with about 62.6 million people volunteering through or for an organization at least once in 2015 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
It’s a blessing to have many generous people living in this country, and there are obvious benefits to this. For the giver, science shows that being generous makes you feel happy, is good for your health, promotes cooperation and social connectedness, evokes gratitude and can be contagious! (Check out this article referring to various studies to support these claims: Greater Good Magazine).
This generosity also fuels many wonderful charities like Global Hope, that are making huge impacts in the problems in our world and making a difference in lives of individuals. But, could there be a downside to giving too much?
Some new research suggests there might be. In Harvard Business Review’s Ideacast called “Generosity Burnout,” researchers looked at some of the most successful business leaders and their giving habits. They found many of these leaders to be people who eagerly look to help those around them and are “willing to share information, bring others along, make connections, and promote insight.” That is marvelous, that is until they hit their limit.
There’s a limit to being overly selfless and generous? Yes, says the research! One of the leaders on the podcast shared this insight, “The misconception about giving is that it’s unlimited and that it’s always a good thing. It can have negative effects. You can only give to others if you are fully energized. It’s like a bank, if you keep spending money without building up your balance, you’re going to eventually run out (of money).”
The conclusion is that you have to understand your own natural limits; otherwise, your generosity will expand to fill all available energy, leaving you tapped out.
The solution is to set boundaries for yourself. Just because someone asks for something, or asks you to do something, it doesn’t mean it’s productive for you to respond. Consider that you might be doing more for other people when you take time to be selfish. That might mean setting aside time on the weekend to take a nap or blocking out a certain time of the day to take a walk. Whatever it is, it is something that helps you restore your energy on a regular basis so you can give to others in a more balanced way.
In this New Year, may you be encouraged to continue to grow in your generosity in a healthy way. Remember, you are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared well in advance (Eph 2:10). Take time to renew your mind, body, and soul, and understand where God wants you to invest your time and energy so that you may do it with joy and determination!
More in this newsletter – February 2018