Have you noticed that generous people smile a lot? They have a kind of buzz around them, like they know a grand old secret the rest of us don’t. To the rest of the world, they may seem a little peculiar with all the smiling and shining eyes. But when you try living a generous life, you start to get what they are all about.

I must admit, I’m not a naturally generous person. I think some people are either born or raised with an inbuilt desire to give. It’s a no-brainer for them. If someone has had a baby, you make them a meal, if someone needs a chat, you spend the time to help them get through their troubles. They just do it and rarely count the costs. For me, I have to think and plan such things. It’s a conscious choice which is weighed along with everything else in my life and sometimes I’m just too tired, busy or selfish to be generous.

It’s not that I don’t want to be generous, it’s just more of a conscious effort for me than for the more natural kind. I’ve been realising that, for most of us, generosity is a choice. It is a lifestyle and a habit. It is something you can learn and develop and it always has to be from the heart.

One of my friends epitomises generosity. She gives to everyone, not just her nearest and dearest. It can be food, things, time or money. She never balks at giving and never regrets offering things to people. She is a very open, friendly person, who is deeply genuine. Sometimes this type of friend can be daunting; how to live up to such an example? But she makes it easy because she lets me give back to her. I’m 33 but I’m still learning and I love it that my friends can teach me such worthwhile life lessons.

Generosity is all about the little things. It starts with really listening to people and responding appropriately.  We’re not a culture that expects others to lift us up and sometimes this can make giving, a little awkward. But I highly recommend pushing through, because, as some wise man once said, “It is more blessed to give than receive”. Indeed!