June 12, 2012

Pay it Forward

We are living in a "me first" type of society. For many of us, we are taught from the cradle to "look out for number one!" and many of us do just that. We are self-focused and self-possessed. An unfortunately large segment of the world population finds it very difficult to see beyond themselves to look at those around them. How often do we act without considering the effect of our actions on those around us? 
We all complain, but most of us have it so easy.  Sure there are rough spots along the way but with every bad thing in life, there is generally a balance of good as well.  When life gets tough acts of kindness whether from a stranger or someone you know can make a tremendous difference in how we approach the hardships.
Next time you are able to help someone out, does it.  Think of it as serial reciprocity or paying it forward.  This is the concept of asking that a good turn be paid by having it done to others. Do just one little deed to help someone out today. Be it a loved one, a neighbor, a co-worker, or a stranger.  Try to make a habit out of it.  By doing this you are helping build kindness-aware communities that value spirit and action and kindness to others.
It is often overlooked how important an act of kindness can be to someone who is in need. We find it easy to look past the beggar or the disabled person. We would rather avoid eye contact with the person who is standing on the street corner holding a sign. We turn a blind eye to the homeless woman and her children sleeping in the doorway of an abandoned building. We drive right past that car that is broken down on the side of the highway, and we don't give them a second thought.
Our own acts of kindness, however, can change the life of a person who is in a point of struggle in their lives. If we stop to give the beggar something to eat, or to help the disabled person to gather items that are out of their arms read; if we take the time to provide clothing to the person holding that sign so that he can perhaps find himself a job; if we offer shelter to the woman and her children; if we stop to make sure that the person broken down on the side of the highway has been able to call for help -- If we do these things, perform these acts of kindness, we have the potential to not only change the course of a person's day, but to change their outlook on life (even if only for a short period of time).
Every action you take affects the life of someone around you. I challenge you to pay it forward.

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