Capitalist cultures in particular encourage stingy behavior, while in many religions it is considered immoral. Ragnhild Struss explains where stinginess comes from and how you can share more easily with others. Minor spoiler: We can live happier lives with more generosity.
flatmates who insist on the heating being switched off even in the depths of winter. Friends who remind you that you still owe them 31 cents for the apple you brought with you. colleagues who never share their own snacks. Partners who, even on their joint anniversary, prefer a dinner from the discount store to going to a restaurant. What some people even perceive as reasonable, frugal and sensible behavior, clearly falls into the category of "hedgehog in the pocket" for others. As one of the seven deadly sins In classical Christian theology, miserliness was condemned in the strongest terms, whereas it is now almost "in", especially in capitalist countries. How are stinginess and greed related, why are some people more stingy than others and what can you do to develop more generosity??
What does stinginess actually mean?
According to the definition, miserliness stands for an "excessive thriftiness" with an unwillingness to share goods. In Christianity, the "root sin" of stinginess is directly related to greed (lat. "avaritia") together – in a sense, they represent two sides of the same coin: The miser greedily accumulates more and more resources without giving any of them away. Thereby it can be material goods such as money, possessions, or food act, but also about intangibles as time, love and attention, which are not shared with other people.
On closer inspection different kinds of stinginess distinguish. So some people are simply Generally extremely thrifty and reject any waste, whether towards themselves or others. They can be wealthy (also as a result of their stinginess), but live in poor conditions and spend little money even on others. Other types Greed component is more strongly emphasized, want to have everything good for themselves alone: They appear stingy to the outside world while pampering themselves with a luxurious lifestyle. And finally you come across martyr-like people, who deny themselves any comfort and give all their resources to others instead. This group is rarely considered stingy in the classic sense because they are so generous with their fellow human beings. To let oneself come permanently "too short" can however have similar motives as the more obvious forms of stinginess.
Why do some people develop miserly traits?
As depth-psychological reasoning for the emergence of a miserly character, Sigmund Freud considered the so-called anal fixation. At a certain age, according to this theory, the child experiences a sense of control, autonomy, and power when he or she does not share but keeps everything to himself or herself. Some people get "stuck" in this phase because they feel strongly that too much is being taken from them. They then tend, even as adults, not to want to relinquish control – which can eventually manifest itself in stingy behavior. By the way, extremely stingy people often also suffer from Obsessive-compulsive, which are also associated with an anal fixation.
Another explanation for the development of stinginess is provided by the BehaviorismThe avaricious behavior is simply the Result of learning processes in childhood and adolescence. It depends very much on how one’s own parents deal with money and other resources and what values they impart to their child in this respect. For example, if a young person is praised every time he or she dutifully puts another coin in the piggy bank instead of spending his or her pocket money, this acts as a positive reinforcer for the learning process. Likewise, criticism as a result of "wasteful" behavior can lead the child to avoid such things in the future in order to escape the negative feeling of being blamed. A family’s "stinginess" is often also reflected in Beliefs They may also be proud of this trait, which will be passed on to future generations: "He who does not honor the penny is not worth the dime." or "The smart person takes precautions." support a mindset in the long run in which any spending of money must be well thought out.
In any case, stingy people believe themselves to be in an insecure world in some way and are characterized by doubts around their own self-efficacy. They are therefore insecure about themselves and have Fear of the future or of being taken advantage of constantly the feeling of having to provide and hoard. They want to feel in control and safe through a lack of generosity – possessions serve as a kind of shield for them.
Negative effects of stingy behavior
Straight Relationships Stinginess can have clearly negative effects. If someone doesn’t share or doesn’t give anything, the other person feels unappreciated. Worse, this behavior makes others feel like they can’t be trusted – because the stingy person shields everything from themselves and doesn’t allow any "insights" into themselves and their material or immaterial world. At the same time, people who don’t give often don’t take well either: If you give them something, they often don’t thank you properly because they basically feel guilty – knowing that they won’t "return the favor". If give and take are not in balance, this puts a strain on every relationship, because human connections flourish when there is balance. Stinginess also has a detrimental effect professionallySomeone who can’t give is firstly not really liked and secondly disliked for promotion.
Three tips for more generosity
Stingy people often don’t even realize they fall into this category. They may simply consider themselves to be very thrifty and may even be proud of this trait. An indication that you should develop more generosity is provided by listening to yourself: Do I really feel happy and fulfilled with my frugal ways? If the answer is "no," the following will help you Tips helping you to overcome your stingy tendencies.
1. Questioning one’s own beliefs
Think about where it comes from that you live a certain stinginess. What do you expect from it? What would happen if you were more generous? What frightens you about it? Perhaps security represents an important value in your life, and you view your stinginess as an adequate way to achieve it. "Better safe than sorry." or "The world is full of unforeseen dangers." could then be beliefs in the back of your mind that keep encouraging you to be conservative with money. Or perhaps you have experienced firsthand through deprived periods of life what deprivation means, and you never want it to come to that again. "I am prepared for anything." or "I will not let others take away from me what is rightfully mine." are then perhaps guiding principles, which cause you to hoard all resources. Whatever beliefs underlie your actions: Question whether they really still serve you today – or whether they are outdated attitudes that you once adopted, which actually no longer apply to your present self and your present situation at all. You can also actively adopt new, more positive beliefs by rewording your previous ones: for example, "The world is full of opportunities and there is a solution to everything." or "When everyone shares, there is enough for everyone.".
2. Filling the inner void
Now it becomes even more personal: What deep-seated unmet need do you want to fill with stingy behavior?? And: Is this way really successful? A person who suffered as a child from aloof parents who showed no respect for his things and for his privacy may, as an adult, use stinginess to compensate for this: Today, by cutting himself off from others and not sharing his thoughts, material resources, time and even love, he can finally define his own boundaries. And if you don’t need anything, you don’t have to ask for anything, thus creating quasi-independence. In such a case, it’s worth considering how this person might establish autonomy in his or her life in other, healthier ways – such as martial arts that boost self-confidence, or set times in the week to spend alone. Another example related to greed: if a child was always just showered with gifts while their parents barely had time for them? Then it has probably learned that material wealth stands for love. By hoarding all kinds of possessions later on and always wanting to have more, such a person is actually expressing his longing for affection – which he seeks in an unfavorable way. Here it can help, Build and strengthen genuine relationships, which are much more likely to provide a sense of social validation and security.
Self-worth is also usually too weak in greed: Possessions should act as compensation to create protection and strength. The right strategy would be, Work on more self-love. Stinginess is always associated with some form of fear, and therefore no amount of hoarding, accumulating or saving will ever make the feeling of lack disappear. Inner abundance must be worked on instead. In many cases, psychotherapy can also support this process.
3. Actively practice generous behavior
Consider in what areas you would like to be more generous from now on, and what concrete actions you can take to achieve this. For example, at work, your colleagues take turns bringing a bag of candy for the whole team, while you have so far abstained? Then get something for everyone this week. Or buy a round at the next pub crawl with your friends – just like that. You learn that a good friend is sick in bed? Then give your a piece of your time, By offering to do the shopping for them. Your partner has already told you that they want "more love" from you? Perhaps you will be able to express your feelings more openly and give him a word of affection or a tender gesture more often. Or, if necessary, you could Be a little more generous to yourself and, for example, replace an old, worn-out jacket with a new one of good quality – despite its high price. In all these situations, you may initially encounter an inner resistance. Because your previous pattern has been to conserve resources – so doing the opposite seems counterintuitive at first. Give yourselves nevertheless a jerk and register also, how you feel afterwards. Is it nice to give others (or yourself) a treat? Feel more connected to them as a result? And perhaps nothing bad will happen that you have been afraid of – for example, that you will have no time left for yourself or that you will be noticeably short of money at the end of the month? Repeat generous behaviors until they become more natural to you.
The opposite of stinginess is not wastefulness. No one is saying that you should adopt an irresponsible use of resources to overcome your stingy traits. However, there is between these two extremes healthy middle ground, where you let others share what you have to offer – without throwing overboard any measure, any reason and safety. The gain: more closeness, connectedness and joy in social relationships and a sense of abundance instead of lack.
The most important basis for professional success and personal satisfaction is a lifestyle in line with your personality. Knowing them is the first step. With our free Taster test we offer you the opportunity to go him and get a first glimpse of your interior.