Emotional generosity is a special combination of empathy—the willingness to feel what another person is going through and tell them that you understand—and the choice to put aside your own needs for someone else.
Emotionally generous people have the ability to mentally wrap their hearts around you so that in that moment what you have to say or what you are dealing with is the most important thing in the world to them. Deep down inside, you can feel the other person’s caring and concern. Having the sense that someone is really there for you is an amazing feeling.
We all can benefit from the emotional generosity of others, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it. In fact, it’s important to let your loved ones know how you are feeling and what action they can take to help you make your life better. Otherwise, those who are close to you may sense that you have something difficult going on, but they may not feel comfortable asking what’s wrong, or even giving you a hug, unless you let them know it’s what you want.
So let your loved ones know that you want and need the attention and affection they can give you. It’s a mistake to think they will figure it out for themselves.
It’s important to ask for what you need, but it’s also important not to ask for too much. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’re entitled to get it or that someone else has to make a sacrifice for you. We all need to be able to take care of ourselves, for the most part. It’s a gift when someone you care for does something loving for you. If you are making emotional demands, however, nobody will have a positive experience. More generally, the people in your life will be less inspired to do those loving things for you if they feel it’s expected.
Alternatively, you may have a hard time receiving emotional generosity from others if you are used to doing everything for yourself. You may feel you don’t need someone else to help you, or you may think that accepting that kind of support makes you look weak. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If we don’t allow the people we care for to give us their love, then what’s the point of having relationships? We were not meant to, and nor should we have to, go through this life feeling alone, having nobody to turn to when we need help.
Life is challenging for all of us at some point. If we don’t allow the good stuff in, those challenges can become overwhelming and may cause us to give up or to lead a life of quiet desperation.
Once you open your heart to the goodness that someone who truly loves you can provide, it will change how you feel and make your world a much better place to be.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books, and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 35 million readers. He is available for in-person & video consults worldwide, reach him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com