I was chatting to a friend a while ago about how I believe in paying it forward but they didn’t know what I meant. They thought I was talking about putting a deposit down on something I wanted! And then they asked if I meant the 2000 film Pay It Forward with Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey, and Helen Hunt. So I explained that, for me, it’s carrying out an act of kindness, with no expectation of thanks, reward or payback. Without wanting to sound too preachy, it’s also my way of feeling good about myself when I do this.
My favourite acts of kindness
Thinking back about some of my pay it forwards has been a lovely trip down memory lane. Remembering the happiness on someone’s face, or knowing that I’ve been able to make a difference, even if it’s only a small one, has given me so much pleasure in return. Anyway, here are a few of my favourite things to do for others:
- Smile at everyone (and ignore startled looks from strangers).
- Always say please and thank you.
- Hold the door open for someone.
- Give someone your unexpired parking ticket.
- Send a bunch of flowers to a friend or loved one.
- Cook a meal for a friend or loved one.
- Write a letter instead of sending an email or a text.
- Listen to what someone is saying, without looking at your phone, or interrupting (this one is quite hard!).
- Send a friend or loved one a book you think they’d like.
- Donate old clothes / books / toys to charity.
- Share a positive quote to cheer someone up.
- Comment on another blogger’s post or social media feed.
- Compliment a loved one, or a stranger, with no ulterior motive.
- Buy a homeless person a cup of tea and a sandwich instead of just throwing a few coins at them.
- Take time to talk to a homeless person, because human interaction is important.
- Become a mentor.
- Donate your skills.
- Adopt a rescue pet instead of buying one.
- Volunteer somewhere.
- Give up your seat to an elderly person or pregnant lady.
- Offer to babysit (for free) so new parents can go out for a break.
- Make a pamper box for a stressed friend or loved one.
- Hug your friends and loved ones – physical human contact means a lot.
- Apologise to the customer service rep after a rant, it’s not their fault (I have to do this far too often).
- Laugh at terrible jokes (I do this quite a lot too).
- Mind your own business and don’t gossip.
International Pay It Forward Day 2018
On 28 April 2018, the UK is invited to join more than 80 other countries in performing random acts of kindness to three or more people, and asking those people to do the same. You can pick up more tips and get involved here: www.payitforwardday.co.uk. Hopefully, these random acts of kindness won’t be limited to just one day, people will adopt the ethos on an ongoing basis.
Or why not treat yourself to a Skratkz 51 Random Acts of Kindness poster like the one I reviewed here?
I believe you should never underestimate the value of paying it forward and the effect it has on others. Are there any other things that you do, or have seen, that should be included on this list?