We live in stressful times. The news is full of sad, tragic, hate filled stories. It is difficult to hear much good news because the negativity is so overwhelming. This is not news, but we are in a unique position in our country where we are extremely divided and politics, intolerance, and hate is literally dividing families, neighbors, and cities. This is a tragic situation and whether you are personally involved in spreading the hate or not, the existence and prevalence of it affects us all. Amid all this negativity and division, we have a weapon: kindness. We can protect ourselves from being swallowed up by the hate, and we can help others by spreading kindness. There is a difference between paying someone back who has done something for you and paying forward to someone else. Paying someone back is always nice. Paying it forward is even better. When you simply pay someone back, the kindness effect stops there. You and the person you pay back are the only participants in the positive activity. On the other hand, paying it forward involves spreading the kindness to others. Doing something for someone else feels good and having someone do something for you also feels good. Paying it forward is a powerful way to spread good, positive, healing feelings and this brings people together. You might say you have a lot of stress in your life and are already overwhelmed, what is in it for me? You certainly have a right to that feeling and question. The reward you get from doing something for someone else is that you are part of the generation of happiness. Gratitude from others for what you have done generates positive feelings and these benefits are experienced emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, and socially. In a world hardened with hatred, you soften it with kindness and help kindness spread throughout other communities.
Here are some ideas for Paying it Forward:
• paying for the order of the person in line behind you at the coffee shop or fast food restaurant • taking your neighbor's trash cans in or taking a sack of groceries to a friend or neighbor • offering a ride to a friend when you heard them mention a taxi or Uber• babysitting so a single mother can get away for an hour or two• volunteering to help serve food at a shelter• picking up trash• buying some school supplies and a backpack and giving it to the new kid on the block• picking up an extra coffee for your co-worker• leaving a coworker an anonymous gift card
Look around and you will see things that need to be done.
It does feel good to be part of the solution.