This post originally appeared on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page. Read the original here.
Dear Ones —
I am blessed. I am over-blessed. I am beyond blessed. There are not enough fingers in the world upon which I could count my blessings. If you ever hear me complaining about anything in my life (ANYTHING at all) please fucking slap me.
Even before I was lucky enough to become financially successful, I was already over-blessed by life. Just the mere fact that I was born physically healthy is already enough to put me high on the global scale of LUCKY. To have grown up safe in a world of danger is another outrageous stroke of luck. But if you add to that all the love and friendship that I have known, and the education I was allowed to receive, and my political freedom, and the creativity I have been allowed to explore…well, like I said: over-blessed.
And so I try to give back.
I know that a lot of us try to give back, in so many ways.
Giving is a practice — an exercise of the soul — that can only be made stronger by more giving.
I remember once I commented to somebody how impressed I was with Oprah Winfrey's extraordinary generosity, and the person scoffed, and said, "Well, I could be generous, too, if I was a billionaire!"
That was a person who did not understand the meaning of the word "generous".
Generosity is a state of being. It is question of your spirit, not a question of your bank account. You're either a generous person, or you aren't. Some of the most generous people I've ever met were incredibly poor (at least financially — not in spirit.) Some of the richest people I've ever met were not generous in the least — in fact, they clutch to their resources in constant terror of scarcity.