Pay It Forward for a Better You

Reviewed Oct 13, 2017

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Summary

  • Share gratitude for others.
  • Volunteer your time or material goods.
  • Find self-compassion.

The expression “pay it forward” is a common one, but what does it mean? And does it really work? If you want to make a positive change in your life it just might be this simple−think about what would make you smile, and then do that very thing for someone else.

Right where you need to be

You are most likely right where you need to be in order to help others and yourself. Take a look at those in your immediate circle: family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. Pay attention to what they need and how you can make their life a little brighter. Make the time to help your elderly neighbors take shopping bags into their house. Offer to bring in a coffee for a co-worker who is having a rough time. Reach out to your mom and tell her you love her.

Most people—just like you—want to be reassured in life. You can extend small amounts of kindness to strangers by slowing down at a crosswalk, opening the door to a building or just saying hello. As simple as these gestures sound, it shows people that they matter. It might be just enough to change the course of someone’s day. And that someone could be you. It feels good to hear a “thank you” or a “hello” back.

A little gratitude goes a long way

Depending on your interests, you might have people you have looked up to over the years. This could be a favorite teacher or writer, your high school coach, or a local shop owner. People love to hear how they have touched others’ lives. There are so many ways to contact people. Reach out to them via social media, regular mail, a phone call, or an in-person visit, just to let them know how much their influence has meant to you. Think about how great it would feel to get a handwritten note or invitation to lunch from someone you influenced in the past.

Volunteers wanted

If you are interested in donating your time, there are charities all around you that would gladly take your help. Check the United Way and VolunteerMatch for a list of interesting ideas. Even if you can’t donate your time, you can give to organizations that take clothing and household items to promote charities like animal welfare and independence for those with disabilities. If you are getting a new piece of furniture or your child has outgrown her tricycle, find another local family who could use it. Websites like Freecycle can help you to find people within your community. You can also reach out to your local schools, churches, non-profit thrift stores, and civic league.

Don’t forget about you

Remember to treat yourself, too. A little self-compassion can go a long way. Make note of negative thoughts and feelings that you internalize and let them go. Accept that you are flawed, like all humans. It’s OK to make mistakes. Smile at yourself in the mirror and treat yourself like you would like to be treated by others. You can test how self-compassionate you are through this quiz.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time or energy to make a positive change. But there are many small strides you can make to pay it forward to friends, family, your community and even yourself. Letting your positivity radiate throughout your daily life will enrich your being. Let yourself shine.

Resources

Freecycle
www.freecycle.org

Test Your Level of Self-compassion
http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

United Way
www.unitedway.org

VolunteerMatch
www.volunteermatch.org

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: American Psychological Association's "Golden rule redux." (2011) http://apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/golden-rule.aspx. World of Psychology's "Paying It Forward." (2014) http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/31/paying-it-forward/. Self-compassion.org’s "What Is Self-compassion?" http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

Summary

  • Share gratitude for others.
  • Volunteer your time or material goods.
  • Find self-compassion.

The expression “pay it forward” is a common one, but what does it mean? And does it really work? If you want to make a positive change in your life it just might be this simple−think about what would make you smile, and then do that very thing for someone else.

Right where you need to be

You are most likely right where you need to be in order to help others and yourself. Take a look at those in your immediate circle: family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. Pay attention to what they need and how you can make their life a little brighter. Make the time to help your elderly neighbors take shopping bags into their house. Offer to bring in a coffee for a co-worker who is having a rough time. Reach out to your mom and tell her you love her.

Most people—just like you—want to be reassured in life. You can extend small amounts of kindness to strangers by slowing down at a crosswalk, opening the door to a building or just saying hello. As simple as these gestures sound, it shows people that they matter. It might be just enough to change the course of someone’s day. And that someone could be you. It feels good to hear a “thank you” or a “hello” back.

A little gratitude goes a long way

Depending on your interests, you might have people you have looked up to over the years. This could be a favorite teacher or writer, your high school coach, or a local shop owner. People love to hear how they have touched others’ lives. There are so many ways to contact people. Reach out to them via social media, regular mail, a phone call, or an in-person visit, just to let them know how much their influence has meant to you. Think about how great it would feel to get a handwritten note or invitation to lunch from someone you influenced in the past.

Volunteers wanted

If you are interested in donating your time, there are charities all around you that would gladly take your help. Check the United Way and VolunteerMatch for a list of interesting ideas. Even if you can’t donate your time, you can give to organizations that take clothing and household items to promote charities like animal welfare and independence for those with disabilities. If you are getting a new piece of furniture or your child has outgrown her tricycle, find another local family who could use it. Websites like Freecycle can help you to find people within your community. You can also reach out to your local schools, churches, non-profit thrift stores, and civic league.

Don’t forget about you

Remember to treat yourself, too. A little self-compassion can go a long way. Make note of negative thoughts and feelings that you internalize and let them go. Accept that you are flawed, like all humans. It’s OK to make mistakes. Smile at yourself in the mirror and treat yourself like you would like to be treated by others. You can test how self-compassionate you are through this quiz.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time or energy to make a positive change. But there are many small strides you can make to pay it forward to friends, family, your community and even yourself. Letting your positivity radiate throughout your daily life will enrich your being. Let yourself shine.

Resources

Freecycle
www.freecycle.org

Test Your Level of Self-compassion
http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

United Way
www.unitedway.org

VolunteerMatch
www.volunteermatch.org

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: American Psychological Association's "Golden rule redux." (2011) http://apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/golden-rule.aspx. World of Psychology's "Paying It Forward." (2014) http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/31/paying-it-forward/. Self-compassion.org’s "What Is Self-compassion?" http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

Summary

  • Share gratitude for others.
  • Volunteer your time or material goods.
  • Find self-compassion.

The expression “pay it forward” is a common one, but what does it mean? And does it really work? If you want to make a positive change in your life it just might be this simple−think about what would make you smile, and then do that very thing for someone else.

Right where you need to be

You are most likely right where you need to be in order to help others and yourself. Take a look at those in your immediate circle: family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. Pay attention to what they need and how you can make their life a little brighter. Make the time to help your elderly neighbors take shopping bags into their house. Offer to bring in a coffee for a co-worker who is having a rough time. Reach out to your mom and tell her you love her.

Most people—just like you—want to be reassured in life. You can extend small amounts of kindness to strangers by slowing down at a crosswalk, opening the door to a building or just saying hello. As simple as these gestures sound, it shows people that they matter. It might be just enough to change the course of someone’s day. And that someone could be you. It feels good to hear a “thank you” or a “hello” back.

A little gratitude goes a long way

Depending on your interests, you might have people you have looked up to over the years. This could be a favorite teacher or writer, your high school coach, or a local shop owner. People love to hear how they have touched others’ lives. There are so many ways to contact people. Reach out to them via social media, regular mail, a phone call, or an in-person visit, just to let them know how much their influence has meant to you. Think about how great it would feel to get a handwritten note or invitation to lunch from someone you influenced in the past.

Volunteers wanted

If you are interested in donating your time, there are charities all around you that would gladly take your help. Check the United Way and VolunteerMatch for a list of interesting ideas. Even if you can’t donate your time, you can give to organizations that take clothing and household items to promote charities like animal welfare and independence for those with disabilities. If you are getting a new piece of furniture or your child has outgrown her tricycle, find another local family who could use it. Websites like Freecycle can help you to find people within your community. You can also reach out to your local schools, churches, non-profit thrift stores, and civic league.

Don’t forget about you

Remember to treat yourself, too. A little self-compassion can go a long way. Make note of negative thoughts and feelings that you internalize and let them go. Accept that you are flawed, like all humans. It’s OK to make mistakes. Smile at yourself in the mirror and treat yourself like you would like to be treated by others. You can test how self-compassionate you are through this quiz.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time or energy to make a positive change. But there are many small strides you can make to pay it forward to friends, family, your community and even yourself. Letting your positivity radiate throughout your daily life will enrich your being. Let yourself shine.

Resources

Freecycle
www.freecycle.org

Test Your Level of Self-compassion
http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

United Way
www.unitedway.org

VolunteerMatch
www.volunteermatch.org

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: American Psychological Association's "Golden rule redux." (2011) http://apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/golden-rule.aspx. World of Psychology's "Paying It Forward." (2014) http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/31/paying-it-forward/. Self-compassion.org’s "What Is Self-compassion?" http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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