I owe so many debts of gratitude that I can never repay some people – they are dead or live too far away.
In the barren lands of earth, our gestures of gratitude can often seem hollow and trite–an obligatory Thank You note written here; a box of chocolates given there; handshakes, hugs, and gift cards, though well intended, can also prove lacking. The worst, of course, is when someone’s precious gifts of time, effort, and heart are overlooked and entirely taken for granted.by R. Arthur Russell on To The One
Arthur Russel expressed his deep gratitude to the people who have helped him in his life and he encouraged his readers to express this love and gratitude for each other.
What if you cannot repay someone for a kindness that may have been small for them but had a huge impact in your life?
What if the person has died or lives too far away to do anything tangible?
Are we stuck with feeling helpless about repaying someone or being able to adequately thank them for their kindness?
I do believe in paying it forward, of doing acts of kindness for others who may never be able to repay me, for that is how this gratitude cycle works when we live the full circle!
Life is a circle, always coming around to a point where we need to accept help and where we can offer it. It is up to us to participate in it or not. I find it far more satisfying and rewarding to live the full circle!
Paying kindnesses forward
There are so many little opportunities to pay kindness forward.
I was feeling badly about not having smaller denominations of cash on hand when I was approached at a traffic light by an unhoused person or someone in dire need, while I will give smaller amounts, I hesitate at giving $20, the denomination that comes out of the ATM.
I heard that the most requested item at homeless shelters is socks, so I figured that I could buy a bag of socks at the store, then re-package them in baggies and have something to give at a traffic light. When I looked at the pair of socks in the baggie, it looked lonely so I looked around to see what else I could add to the bag. I had some packets of EmergenC, so I added 2 to each bag.
When I showed my brother the stash I had in the back of the front passenger seat, he thought it was a great idea, “like giving out a hug” to each person, was what he said. It may not make a big difference overall, but in the day of one person maybe it could help them feel cared for to get through another day.
I’m a door holder and let people cut in front of me in traffic; I’m donating artwork to sell to raise money for Ukrainian relief efforts. When I can I bring food or clothes to groups or organizations that redistribute things. I keep my eyes out for free things I can pass on to others. I’ll look online for free egg cartons to pick up for a friend who raises chickens and who gives the eggs to veterans as her service project.
I know these aren’t big, life-changing things to do, but they are something.
Even if we can’t do big things, it’s an accumulation of the little things we can do for others that makes a difference too.
Giving helps keep us in the gratitude cycle of life
I listen to people when they’re venting; I try to be friendly and pleasant to all around. Our personal interactions with people can become burdensome if we vent on others or they can be a blessing when we respond with gentleness and respect even in difficult times.
We’re all stressed an overwhelmed, so “busting someone’s chops” when we feel slighted or if things aren’t going our way can turn a difficult situation into something hateful. Our vented anger doesn’t help resolve a situation, it just shows others our immaturity, our inability to handle life’s problems with grace and respect for others.
Instead, if we choose to handle things with more patience, respect and diplomacy, this in turn is a kindness we can give to others!
I have found that doing these little things with frequency helps keep my heart focused on the gratitude part of the life circle, which helps me to focus with positivity on my life instead of feeling discouraged when things aren’t going so well because I now have a library of events in my brain to return to where I can remind myself of all the times the dark clouds cleared up and the sun came back out again in my life.
Giving and gratitude seem to work well together, don’t they?
This may also be an antidote to the ills in our society
On Thanksgiving Rosaliene Bacchus on Thought for Today: Trapped in a Loop was saddened about the shootings in the USA to date (total figures for 2022 alone: 613 mass shootings, 642 deaths, more than 2,500 people injured) and asking: When will we say ENOUGH? When will we break free?
I hear staunch Conservatives saying “we need people to get back into churches, then we wouldn’t see these shootings!”, and then I see the same people saying or behaving in very hateful ways towards their neighbors who aren’t like them.
I think we have become so emboldened and entitled in our society that more and more people are feeling free to express unkindness, hatred, and cruelty freely, whether in person or on the internet.
This results in more and more people becoming hurt, as well as hatred becoming amplified to the point where a shooter breaks inside and feels the only possible solution is to pick up a gun and attempt to take matters into their own hands.
This is a time when we need MORE kindness, MORE compassion, and MORE respect for each other.
I say: “If hatred can create negative ripples, then love can certainly create ripples too!”
If you have been the recipient of kindness from people you may never be able to repay, please consider finding ways to pay this kindness forward!
I hope you’ll poke around my Archived Posts to find a wonderful trove of supportive and encouraging posts! Don’t forget to Like, Comment, and Follow my blog! If you want to become a Guest writer, please contact me and we’ll work out the details!
I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:
- 10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness
- Setting “Boundaries with consequences”
- Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”
- Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!
- As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!
- Always believe that wonderful things can happen!
- A healthy outside starts from the inside!
- Brain Rewiring
More good stuff:
- Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves
- By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!
- Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!
- Red Ocean or Blue Ocean? How do you think?
- An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!
- My top 10 most viewed posts, plus a few bonuses!
- A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…
- Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?
- A new you! Is this possible?
- Start today, start tomorrow, just start!
- There is no enlightenment outside of daily life – Thich Nhat Hanh
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