Generous “to a fault”

What does “too generous” even mean?

I often wonder why we put these caveats on such wonderful qualities.

Spending yesterday celebrating 40 years of priesthood of an outlandishly generous man, Fr. Jim Callan, I was struck how happy he is.

generous to fault

It was said about him that he has two answers when people ask him how he is,



“Very happy”

He knows that to give you shine a light in the darkness. And that even just a small light makes a difference. He never gets stressed that it is not enough, nor that he is not getting results, nor that he is depleting himself. He just keeps lighting those small (and big) lights.

Leaving a trail of illumination.

(Do you know how many people said that he saved their lives?)

Do you feel depleted by being generous?

Sometimes, or often, we feel stressed by giving. I think that’s why we sometimes demean ourselves by saying it is “to a fault.” But Fr. Jim shows that we do not have to be stressed by giving. We could be happy by giving.

And very happy.

As we light someone else’s life, equally, they light ours. And actually it could heal us too.

I have been healed by generosity as I wrote about in this post.

If you feel stressed by giving, I have three questions that you can ask yourself get sorted.

These questions will bring to your awareness what you need to know, and then, help you see a clear path forward. Out of the heaviness and into the light, too.

Watch the video:


Tweet: “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” @JodiAman #generosity

Generosity changes the world.

Don’t put your light under a bushel. People need you. Of course they do.

Generosity moves you

After the celebration of thousands giving honor to his 40 years of service, I hugged Jim and he asked me “Did you cry?” Despite myself, I said “Yes!” and with a smile bigger than his face he added, “Me, too.”

Do you ever feel you have to protect yourself to not give too much of yourself? Why or why not? 

31 thoughts on “Generous “to a fault””

  1. I love to give. Thought as you say, sometime I feel bad, I feel like I am giving too much. I might give and feel that it’s not what people were looking to get, or that maybe I did not do the right thing or say the right word.
    We should always give freely. The more we give, the happier we are, thats’ for sure Jodi.

    Some days, I feel like I should think before acting, cause I am giving and people abuse of my generosity. Some people only. Like my ex husband. I gave him everything, my love, my money, my heart. And I received treats and silence in return. That does not seem fair.

    Thanks for spreading much light Jodi. Stay blessed.

    1. It is helpful to be selective about who you give to. This helps you become empowered and not feel like a victim. Your ex sounds like a real peice of work. I’m glad he is an ex. Sometimes we want validation from the person who hurt us. I was juts talking to a woman about this today and they are the LAST person we can hope to find validation with. hugs!

    1. Yes, and when we say “others take advantage” it is as if we are powerless to do anything about it. If we thought differently, that we get to choose, then this can change everything. A person can learn empowerment instead of disempowerment.

  2. Hi Jodi,

    I agree whole heartedly…giving heals, it makes us happier, it is one of the best virtues we need to cultivate. I have never felt giving stressful…it could be if we are giving under compulsions and don’t have the means to give. What about giving a warm smile, a hug, a word of encouragement or sympathy from the bottom of our heart, a word of appreciation, a gesture of being kind. It always comes back to add a glow to our face and heart, like that legendary candle!
    Balroop Singh recently posted..Living AgainMy Profile

    1. I love the candle metaphor. Give the light away and we both have light.

      I heard this recently. That if you give someone your product and they give you one, you still have one each. But if you give someone an idea and they give you one, you have two ideas…cool, huh?

  3. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    I love being generous. I wish I could win the lottery so I could pay off all my friends student loan debts. I find that it energizes me to give. I was told by one person though not to give so much because it can be off putting to others because they will then feel like they have to give as much.

    I do a pretty good job protecting myself. I know how to say no and when to give and share myself and so forth. Thanks for the share Jodi. : D

  4. I don’t think I ever told you this, but Fr. Jim didn’t save my life, but sort of, because he saved my faith, my beliefs and my trust in my religion. I didn’t tell you, but all my family knows how “changed” I felt after just one visit to his Church. Everyone was “worried” about my big anger and disappointment with priests and Church.
    I never feel I need to protect myself from giving too much. I like to give whether it is appreciated or not.
    Nikky44 recently posted..I challenged the FearMy Profile

    1. You did tell me how special he was and the community.:) I’m so glad you were part of it, and I think of you everytime I am there. When I listen to a homily, I know you will hear it soon, when it comes online. Look for the one from last weekend. It was great.

    2. I said here I never need to protect myself from giving too much, but I think I was wrong. I need to learn and put some limits. I love to work and I love my job, but I don’t seem able to say no in helping others. People are calling me from different departments, people I don’t know or work with saying they were told I can translate, write letters or edit a document. It was nice and I felt good although it meant I stayed at work 10 hours everyday instead of 7. Today it felt different. Working on an urgent document (for someone I don’t know), having fever and a headache and realize the person was home while I was doing her work.

  5. Hi Jodi,

    Loved the post, and most of the picture with the image of yours and those lines on being happy – awesome and I SO agree with them 🙂

    Helping others is what I love doing and that’s the reason we went ahead and made a little community and forum where there are so many joining in to help each other, nothing could be better.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

  6. Kathy @ SMART Living 365

    Hi Jodi! Your friend sounds like an awesome man. Congratulations to him. And thank you for your three questions–and even though a lot of us like to believe that we never get sucked into feeling “giving to a fault” I think it happens unconsciously some of the time to the best of us. Remembering and asking ourselves your questions are a great way to come back to what is really important. Thanks! ~Kathy

  7. This is awesome! So important to state this especially to entrepreneurs or creatives who like to give and give and feel used up in the end. Great post!

  8. I think I read somewhere that giving makes the giver feel better than the recipient. That is definitely true. When our house was flooded in the 2010 Nashville flood, I was amazed at the outpouring of generosity from the community but I realize now, people just want to feel like they’re doing something when disaster strikes nearby!
    Stephanie Faris recently posted..What Do You Mean You Don’t Carry My Book?My Profile

    1. Hmm, maybe but I don’t think in a bad way. It may be because sometimes people feel guilty about receiving. Plus it’s just an inspirational thing to say.

      Yes, people want to contribute during a disaster but others need them to. It’s the best of humanity. It seems weird when that outpouring stops but that’s not because it was just ego, it’s because they’re just distracted.

      Thanks for sharing. Xo

  9. I guess I’m a bit selfish, and I tend to make excuses when I don’t feel like helping someone. But when I do help someone, it’s because I want to, and it makes me feel great, never depleted. Great post 🙂

    1. Saying no doesn’t make you selfish. But thinking you are selfish could be depleting! Saying no is a great skill to have. It makes you awesome! And it looks like it serves you well when you choose to give! Thanks, Caroline!

  10. Funny you should use the word “victim” in your video. I’ve often thought one of the root causes of selfishness (and other bad behavior) is people feeling victimized by others they deem to be more powerful than themselves.

    I’ve come to realize recently though that while people can behave poorly toward you, in reality no one can make you a victim but yourself.

    That being said, you have to be really confident in your self-worth to detach your generosity from an expected outcome – the recipient’s gratitude and respect – that may or may not come. Most people don’t have that kind of confidence – but I love how you’ve framed it up for them!

    Excellent post!

  11. Hello Jodi! I guess you’re right. Giving is an opportunity to help others and a way to help yourself too. I feel glad whenever I give to someone and that someone really appreciates what I do or what I give and does not misuse it. I think it heals me of the loneliness and the feeling of isolation that I sometimes feel because I am able to reach out to other people- making them smile and start to hope again. It makes me feel alive and it’s a great feeling that I am making a good thing out of the blessings that I receive.

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