To “pay it forward” is to respond to someone’s kindness by then being kind to someone else. Ultimately the idea of this is to create a wave of kindness amongst humanity. Imagine a tsunami, but instead of water and destruction there is kindness and happiness. That’s pretty cool.
Yesterday in Australia it was Pay It Forward Day, where you are encouraged to act with generosity towards others and set off the kindness motion. It is a day dedicated to doing something without expecting anything in return, which is awesome. But why are we only expected to notably act with such kindness on one day of the year? Why not pay it forward on 365 days of the year? Yes, it is important to actively recognise a powerful phenomenon such as this, but if we all practiced it as part of our everyday lives would it really be necessary to dedicate a single day to it?
Is it just an excuse for your kindness to be noticed?
There’s no extrinsic reward for paying it forward, you don’t get a lollipop or trophy for being kind, which is possibly why there is not a lot of kindness in the world. People are motivated by materials and receiving, they won’t pay it forward because there is nothing in it for them. Don’t feel bad, we all do it, it’s the truth of today. But don’t be fooled, there is something in it for you. It’s that wonderful feeling of internally knowing that you did something great and made a permanently positive impact on someone’s life. That’s the power you have as a human, you can change people’s lives. And you can do this by simply being kind, acting with generosity, being considerate, seeing a need and acting on it.
When you reflect later on in life, imagine the feeling of knowing that you contributed some goodness to this world, that you made someone’s life that bit better.
That feeling should be enough to not only pay it forward today, but every day. You should never underestimate the magnitude of your actions, so why fit all of your kindness into one day? And sometimes, kindness is kind to you. You might choose to help someone carry their groceries, and one day, someone might just help you. It’s like a kindness boomerang.
So I hope you did something nice for someone yesterday, that you received a kindness too and that you pay it forward today, not because that’s what were told to do, but because you are human and you can.
And then do it again tomorrow, then the next day, then the next and so on. Make ordinary lives extraordinary.
I challenge you. Please accept.
– Annika Miesen, FedUni Student