Have you seen the film Pay It Forward? It came out in 2000 and being honest, I must have since it’s release watched this film about ten times. The concept just fills me with a lot of hopefulness.
The premise of the film is simple, a young boy is set an assignment by a teacher to come up with an idea that will change the world; the idea is ‘Pay It Forward’ – if someone does something kind or good for you, you repay that kindness by doing something good or kind to another three people, they do the same and on it goes; until you have an infinite loop of continuous kindness. Simple, straightforward and in my mind – a genius idea. I won’t tell you the ending, I recommend you watch it.
What does it mean to Pay It Forward?
To pay it forward simply means to repay a kindness received with a good deed or an act of kindness to someone else. It’s such an easy thing to do, yet how many of us actually do it? How many of us acknowledge the good things that people do for us and pass that kindness on?
Let’s explore the idea of kindness for a second..
What is it?
According to the dictionary:
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
But in my opinion, kindness is so much more. To be kind and to show kindness can mean different things to different people. Ultimately, though it is about how you chose to show it and the possibilities are wide ranging and endless. Kindness is also more than just being nice. I really think it’s important to remember that. To be kind is to do something without expecting something in return, showing up because you know it is the right thing to do and you know that your support is needed in that moment and forgiving because you know that it will serve you and others being in the long run. I feel like there is a level of insincerity to being nice.. have you heard the phrase ‘you’re only being nice because you have to’, I think that’s true – when you’re nice, it’s often because you’ve done something because you know you should rather than because it’s voluntary and intentional; coming from your heart.
So, really kindness is love, and love is kindness because it comes from within. We’re seeking kindness in some way or another; a hug, a text from a loved one, sincere recognition of hard work, an unexpected conversation, supporting someone’s new business… the list is endless.
I don’t really think you need tips to be kind or show kindness – it’s innate and when you feel it, it will show itself but if you feel like you want to live a kinder lifestyle.. then these few thoughts might be worthwhile considering:
- Be kind to yourself – how can you expect to show others kindness, when you aren’t kind to yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others. If you speak badly to yourself and berate yourself when things don’t go to plan then all you’re hearing is and unkind thoughts. They manifest into negativity and that negativity can feed poor mental health and poor treatment of others as a result. Taking time to focus on what you say to yourself and how you treat yourself is really important. We as humans also likes to emulate what we see; so if you’re busy treating yourself like sh*t, then others will quite easily do that to you as well and to others because that’s what they’ve learned.. that’s especially important when it comes to children; they really do learn from the people around them. If you want your kids to be kind – show yourself some first so they can learn from you.
- Be intentional with your kindness – if kindness doesn’t come naturally to you then your really need to take the time to practice and be intentional with your kindness. Why not try the pay it forward and do kind things for others, just because you can. Soon it will become second nature and you’ll feel so good because of it. Simple things you could do are holding the door open for someone, saying ‘thank you’ to anyone that’s helped you out, making dinner for your loved one just because or taking them a cup of tea in bed before they wake up.
- Donate your time – I really think this will change your outlook on kindness. We’re all so busy all of the time and we don’t have time to stop and do something other than work or do what we need to do to get through the day. By stopping and choosing to actively give your time to something that matters to you, you are choosing to do something that just brings your soul nourishment. We’re all so time poor, that forcing ourselves to give our time may seem like a chore but you’ll probably have some of your most meaningful experiences through this.
Being kind really can change the world or at least it can change someone’s world. You never really know what someone is going through and so showing a little bit of kindness will go a long way, more than you may realise…
So tell me.. what your act of kindness today?