Asteya (generosity) Be generous with yourself, your listening, and sharing
Learning to treat myself with kindness is a lifelong process. Being Latina, I often felt the pressure to be generous to my family or friends when I was growing up. My attention was always focused on what other people had to say, but I did not express my own viewpoint. Yoga and meditation have helped me identify how to be confident in what I have to say.
Here are three ways that I have started practicing generosity with myself.
Listening with an Open Heart
I am the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who left the island in the 1970s as a part of the Puerto Rican Diaspora. The life they lived (without power, running water, 12+ siblings each, limited educational opportunities, etc.) was very different than my upbringing in NY as a Millenial. Their life has been so different, and their way of thinking has been informed by their life experiences. So, I practice listening to their stories of their dias en La Isla. Some of the things they experience I will never experience. There are some experiences that I will work on to make sure my baby love doesn’t have to experience hunger and housing insecurity. My parents deserve my time to sit at a table with some cafecito listening to their stories de los dias de antes. I am not here to judge their choices. By listening with an open heart, I can see their humanity for what they have done to ensure a happy life for themselves and for me.
Pause Before Speaking
Yoga has taught me that I can ned to take a pause before I react to the moment. I have the option to take a moment to listen to what I think. This is a really important skill that I have started to use with my mami. She will often talk about different things that I might not agree with and ask me what I think. I am learning not to answer quickly. I can take a moment to hold the multiple truths of my mom’s thoughts, experiences, and feelings instead of trying to project what I think is right or launching into a disagreement with her. I am able to listen better in our conversations when I'm listening to different perspectives while still expressing my own.
Sharing my Boundaries
The life that has shaped me has influenced the way I think and act in the world. I believe that every person has an undeniable worth. I must also be equally generous with what I think I am worth. Focusing on others is easy, but recognizing my worth is harder. My energy is my worth. I deserve a life where I can let go of pain without carrying anger. I deserve a life of building liberatory communities through an equity lens. These are possible when I set boundaries around how much energy I am willing to give and receive from others. To be generous with myself is to set my limits and to be ok with keeping them as long as they support my wellness.
Holding space for others by listening with an open heart, pausing before speaking, and sharing my boundaries are ways that I practice generosity with myself and others. It doesn’t mean that I got it all figured out because, Hermana, I don’t. There are days I am better at pausing before unleashing the verbal vomit. I try to pause and listen to the other person. I have a lot to say ALL THE TIME. Pero, I am learning to let silence fill the space for my thoughts, feeling, and experiences to inform my perspective.
Hermana, be generous with yourself. You deserve that and more!
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