Generosity as a practice stumped scientists for years; the fact that people will share their money, food, energy, and time, even when resources are scarce, seems to go against our basic human instinct for survival. Recently, however, research has begun to explain what many people understand in their hearts: Generosity is good for both the giver and the receiver.
Recent studies have shown that generous people tend to have more friends, experience greater satisfaction with their lives and careers, often have a more positive outlook on life, and can even enjoy better physical and mental health. And that’s just for the person doing the giving, before considering the benefits to the recipients of their generosity.
Donations made by everyday people have supported organizations advocating for civil rights, arts and culture, the environment, education, animal welfare, and health care, to name just a few. And overall, charitable giving has gone up in recent years. According to Forbes, donations to charities jumped 5.1% in 2020, even as the COVID-19 pandemic decreased the United States GDP by 2.3%.
As these heartening statistics show, generosity is one of those human habits that reveals our innately good nature. Below are 16 quotes about the spirit of sharing, and all the good it can do in the world.
Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.
— Dalai Lama
It is a powerful practice to be generous when you are the one feeling in need.
— Allan Lokos, meditation teacher
Happiness is not made by what we own. It is what we share.
— Jonathan Sacks, rabbi and philosopher
Money is but one venue for generosity. Kindness is an even more valuable currency.
— Alan Cohen, inspirational author
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.
— Khalil Gibran, poet and artist
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
— Simone Weil
Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else's life forever.
— Margaret Cho
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
— Maya Angelou
Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give. We can give time, we can give our expertise, we can give our love, or simply give a smile.
— Steve Goodier, motivational writer
Think of giving not as a duty, but as a privilege.
— John D. Rockefeller Jr.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
— Pablo Picasso
In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, author
It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
— Albert Einstein
Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.
— Frank A. Clark, politician
It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.
— Mother Teresa
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