We All Have Something to Give

Giving doesn't mean buying a gift. There are many ways to tap into the heart of generosity. Founding editor Barry Boyce names a few.

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Giving is hard. According to many evolutionary psychologists, including Dacher Keltner, of the Greater Good Science Center, we are born to be good. Altruism and sharing are part of our makeup. Nonetheless, giving to others is not a cinch. We struggle with it. Just look at all the angst that surrounds our annual “season of giving.”

To be truly generous requires us to step beyond the self-protected bubble we create for ourselves. Just think about it. So many decisions we make during the day—what to eat, what to wear, when to do this, that, and the other thing, with whom, for how long, etc., etc.—serve our own version of things and reinforce the notion that we are in charge. Going beyond that bubble takes us into a zone where others’ needs may supersede our own. And that puts some pressure on the whole I’m-in-charge system we’re hardwiring into place most of the time during our day. And even when we do give, if we’re not careful, we give in a way that serves our own needs. Ever receive a gift that said much more about what someone else thought you should have…