HomeDaily DigestPaying it Forward: Learning to Spread Kindness

Paying it Forward: Learning to Spread Kindness

It is not often that a stranger brings a smile to your face, and even less often for them to go out of their way to be kind to you. Few years ago my mother, like most mothers, forwarded yet another WhatsApp video but this one struck a chord. It was a clip on a kind act of offering a flower which led to a domino effect of this same flower being passed to strangers who seemed to be having a bad day, this random act of kindness not only made them happy but also made them want to pass on this happiness to others.

What does ‘Paying it Forward’ mean?

The phrase ‘Paying it forward’ is an act of doing something good for a stranger or somebody we know, with no intention to receive anything back in return for your act. This act of kindness is then expected to inspire the receiver to maintain the ripple effect of paying the kindness forward. The once receiver of kindness becomes a doer of kindness. This possible ripple effect of kindness reflects back to the potential power of kindness.

A simple way to be kind

For example, imagine the cashier that you meet almost every day at your nearest grocery store. This person might have just gotten yelled at by their boss for something trivial, but the hurt may be lingering around in their minds when you walk up to buy a few items. This scenario could turn out either way depending on how you react. The cashier could be grumpy and give you a hard time with your shopping, which you can respond to with a general query of their wellbeing with an intention of concern. This will often be met with positive effect on the cashier and it will probably make them feel better too.

But this scenario could also turn ugly if you act on your instinct to respond with anger to the cashier. But the act of kindness in looking beyond the grumpy exterior of the cashier to show concern for their well-being is an example of how a potentially volatile situation can be defused and also result in a ripple effect of kindness. This demonstrates the power of the kindness to turn ugly situations into beautiful ones.

This is what acts of kindness can do

An act of kindness has the potential to heal broken relations between individuals and communities. A step in the right direction can heal years of strained relationships. The transformative power of kindness therefore also helps explore the possible physical and mental implications it has on human beings. A random act of kindness has a great impact on the physical and mental well-being of humans and therefore prompt kindness to be paid forward.

Delving deeper into the emotional and physical benefits of engaging in acts of kindness, it has been found that acts of kindness release neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which helps in elevating the happiness of individuals and reducing the level of the stress and anxiety thereby improving the individual’s wellbeing. The shared experience of giving and receiving kindness helps build a sense of purpose in terms of impact on others and ultimately the society. Acts of kindness creates a positive feedback loop that improves mental health, strengthens emotional bonds and fosters a sense of belonging in a supportive community.

In conclusion even when one faces with hindrances to carry out acts of kindness, especially when you have a strained relationship with someone or prior bad experiences, push through the obstacle to make a positive impact. This act of kindness can inspire a chain reaction of such acts, therefore aiding to build a loving community.

So, think about it, what can you do today to make someone’s day? How can you contribute to someone else’s happiness? How can you mend those year-long strained relationships? Get to work and help build a stronger empathetic society.

Randy Pausch


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