The Kindness Movement: From Tiny Ripple to Worldwide Rally
Don’t wait for someone to be kind to you … show them how.
Without realizing it we perform small acts of kindness each day; simple things such as smiling and greeting people in a friendly manner, saying please or thank you, opening a door for someone or complimenting them about how they look or about something they’ve done well.
When we choose to do a “good deed” for other people, it makes them feel good and it makes us feel good; and as an added bonus research shows that when we do something good, our body rewards us by releasing endorphins. These morphine-like substances create a feel good experience, and also have the capacity to reduce or even block pain signals to the brain. In fact people suffering from physical or psychological pain actually experience relief when they carry out an act of kindness.
Sometimes it’s hard to be kind …
The truth is it’s pretty easy to be kind to someone you know and care about, or someone who’s been kind to you … not so easy when it’s someone who’s just cut you off in traffic, been rude to you or ignored your efforts to be friends, or who’s dressed shabbily and asking for a handout.
By definition an act of kindness is a selfless deed performed to either help, cheer up or pass on goodwill to someone, for no reason other than to make them happier without expecting anything in return.
It is when we choose to accept the literal definition of kindness that the real opportunity to make a difference in the world comes in to play because it means agreeing to reach outside our comfort zone to do our part to make the world a better place.
My car got towed this evening and believe me I was furious until a voice named Charley Johnson got into my head and said “Until you care about that person who flipped you off in traffic, the world will never change.” So, what did I do??? I got “piffin” mad instead LOL, asked the tower how his day was gave him a tip, thanked him, and then gave him my (PIF) bracelet. ~Alex Bynum
Alex is a member of the Pay It Forward Facebook Group and I was so pleased when she was kind enough to allow me to share her experience with you because to me it reflects, in a way we can all relate to, exactly what the Pay It Forward movement is all about.
Pay it Forward
Maybe you had the opportunity several years ago to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book Pay It Forward, or see the movie of the same name starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. The premise is that if someone begins with three acts of kindness, and asks that each of the recipients “pay it forward” … that one person can change the world. I was reminded just how brilliant the dialogue is in this movie when researching this article and came across some of the quotes from the film.
Trevor McKenney: Are you saying you’ll flunk us if we don’t change the world?
Eugene: Well, no. But you might just scrape by with a C.
Trevor McKenney: I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are – even if they’re bad – to change. ‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.
Jerry: [tearfully] Do me a favor… save my life.
Charlie Johnson is the President of the Pay it Forward Foundation, a TED Talk Presenter and creator of the Pay it Forward Bracelet, a physical reminder to do good that has (so far) been sent to over 1 million people in 112 countries.
This is a dynamic group of individuals who are putting tremendous energy into expanding the PIF movement, so if you like the idea of being a part of something world changing, I encourage you to visit the PIF Experience website to learn more. PIF is a closed group on Facebook but you can request to join … there is a LOT of activity and it’s all pretty amazing. I’d love to see you there!
Just a couple of upcoming PIF events:
- Worldwide Flash Mob on March 28th
- National Pay It Forward Day on April 26th
If you’d like some ideas on intentional acts of kindness, here’s a link to my article with a list of 50 things you can easily do to start creating your own ripple.
If we allow ourselves to focus on all that needs to be done to “fix” our world in these uncertain times it would be easy to question what one person could possibly do to make a difference; but there is always something that we can do. Something as “simple” as a smile can change a person’s day. The next time you find yourself thinking that you’re too busy to allow someone ahead of you in traffic, consider that it will only set you back a minute or two — not a lot of time in the long run; you will have made someone’s day and they’ll be far more likely to let someone else in the next time they have the opportunity!
There is no such thing as a “small” act of kindness!
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