The Practice of Generosity in Trust


As I move through the world, I keep an eye out for things that remind me of truth. Truth about myself. Truth about my relationships. Truth about others' perspectives. Basically anything that will help me garner just a hint more objective awareness in my life.

Two weeks ago, a new talk by Brené Brown popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. You may have seen or read some of her work before, primarily her TED Talk on Vulnerability. This talk was on the "Anatomy of Trust", where she decoded what it truly means to trust someone in a relationship. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this video since I first saw it. I've shared it with friends (and even made my roommate sit and watch it with me, much to her pleasure) and have talked about it to numerous people.

I won't go into a full analysis of the talk, as Brown's oration stands its own ground, but I want to address one part of trust that stuck to me hard: Generosity. This is something that I've struggled with on both ends of a relationship (being ungenerous and having someone be ungenerous toward me). To summarize, in a relationship when one party messes up, the other party will make a generous assumption that the first party's intentions were pure and that no harm was intended. This is big. Especially in a world where we are constantly seeking outside validation and when we feel insecure even in our closest relationships.

When building and maintaining close relationships, it is essential that this virtue is present. From my own experience, I know that it can be difficult to do. I'll have a knee-jerk reaction to someone's action and think poorly of them. But then, after the initial reaction, I take a mental step back and reassess. For my nearest and dearest, I am almost always able to place them in a place of light, compassion, and empathy. "They weren't trying to hurt me." "They do still love me." "I love them despite their fallibility." "They had an unskillful/painfully-human moment." Learn this. Practice this.

Through this practice, you'll harbor less resentment for those you hold dear. Possibly, with tact and grace, you may even be able to express your concern for their behavior (or non-behavior) in a constructive way. They may not even be aware that their actions are having an ill effect.

Brené Brown, in this talk, has articulated a concept that I have been trying to comprehend for some time now, and I now have a new practice to help me move more gracefully through this life.

Check out the video below and should you feel called, begin to practice these concepts.

Love & Light,

Jerry

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