My son, Tristen, is at an age where he uses the phrase, “I want” frequently. At the same time, he’s also learning to share and do nice things for people.
Unlike most grownups, toddlers express their emotions openly. It is much easier to tell what they are feeling inside. Because of this, I can clearly see that when the words “I want” come out of his mouth, he’s usually feeling desperate, uncertain and unhappy. Even if he was ecstatically dancing or playing, once he gets a glimpse of string cheese, m&m’s or a toy out of his reach and decides that he’s going to pursue it, his expression turns gloomy. His attention shifts from the pleasant things he was experiencing in the moment to something he does not have. He focuses on deprivation and therefore experiences deprivation.
On the other hand, when Tristen chooses to be generous and give his cousin a toy or pick up my cell phone from the table and hand it to me, he beams with joy. He sees the smile that he brings to our faces and experiences euphoria.
Though most of us don’t whine and giggle like two-year-olds, we still experience the same sensations within us when we choose to focus on the wants of which we feel deprived or the haves of which we are willing to give away. This is another reason that kindness is not a sacrifice.
Opportunities to practice kindness and generosity are gifts to the giver and receiver. Look for these opportunities and experience euphoria without deprivation