Causes: Extreme gratitude for one's good fortune or health; a desire to share, lift up and help others; deriving pleasure through the raising of spirits; growing up in a strong, giving family or community; coming from an impoverished background or enduring hardship where the generosity of others made a life-changing impact on one's living conditions and attitude; a desire to pay back or pay forward
Characters in Literature: Santa Claus; Geppetto (Pinocchio); Fezziwig (A Christmas Carol)
Generous characters are fulfilled by bringing comfort to others, hoping to add to their happiness and satisfaction in a meaningful way. They are satisfied with what they have as they view it as 'enough', and hold a high appreciation for their circumstances and the important people in their life. Generous people are content, and derive pleasure through giving. They often make good listeners, and are very observant. If they see a need, they step forward to fill it to the best of their ability, rather than wait for someone else to do it. Generous people are charismatic and inspire kindness and generosity in others through unselfish acts. They see giving as being a duty as a decent human being.
Generous people view the world through a positive filter, seeing the best in people. This can lead to nativity regarding the human condition, leaving them open to being taken advantage of by those without scruples. They can also be generous to a fault, helping others to a point where their own welfare suffers (giving away rent money to someone in need, offering to take on extra work that one does not have time for; giving time or expertize to charities or committees, leaving little time for family and self, etc). Generous people find it difficult to say no, and so often over-commit rather than risk disappointing those depending on them.
The kindly grandmother, the neighbor who provides for everyone on her street, the wealthy philanthropist, church pastors & ladies' groups; charitable organizations (the salvation army, etc)
Cliches to Avoid: Having a 'heart of gold'
Twists on the Traditional Generous:
- An interesting bit of conflict with generous people is when they feel pulled in separate directions by opposing needs. Put your generous character in a position where they must choose who to help, and that inner turmoil at feeling that they are letting down the other party.
- Generous people have dreams and desires too. What happens when a dream conflicts with the needs of others? Does your generous character sacrifice the dream for the greater good, or for once, choose self-fulfillment?
- Consider an environment where a generous person is continually taken advantage of. How does it affect them--do they bend, or break?