I realize that phrase gets used a lot, but frankly I’m thrilled it does. It has forced people to not keep warm fuzzy feelings to themselves, and instead pass it along.
It encourages us to pay better attention to the humans around us, and the beauty we might be missing.
Lately I’ve been so caught up in listening to amazing podcasts during my commute, that I’ve missed watching the every day human connections all around me on the subway and walking around the city. Sometimes I need that time to disconnect, but other times I force myself to unplug and just be present.
If you start training your eye, you will be able to spot some snapshots into people’s lives that can be so life-giving.
There’s some pretty incredible human moments happening all around us, and when we pay attention it makes life that much more magical. When that magic moment inspires you to lend someone else a hand, the beauty just keeps going and you end up practicing an act of soulful self-care.
Amazingly, it does even more for you when you can pass it on. Why keep that feeling to yourself, if you can make someone else feel appreciated and cared for.
For me, if I am treated kindly I try to compliment in the moment, or pass that kindness along shortly after I’ve received it. I am ridiculously forgetful, I won’t always remember later. Also this allows the beauty of whatever has happened to stay with me longer.
I had an interaction with a patient recently. He was a kindly older gentleman who exuded warmth and kindness. I told him he always made everyone around him so much happier for having come in contact with him. He said to me, “I’m glad to hear that, all I ask is that you pay it forward and make someone else smile.” Later that day I went to the bodega to grab a snack and noticed the lady ahead of me had left her portfolio leaving against the candy by the register. I’m sad to admit I had a moment where I almost didn’t run after her. But I remembered the words of the old man and ran outside to see if I could track her down. I found her two blocks away. And the look on her face when she realized she had left her artwork but that it was safe, was worth all my asthmatic wheezing.
Write that thank you letter, give that compliment, give up your seat, help that person across the street, offer to help a lost person with directions, open your eyes, unplug, pay attention and by paying it forward you’ll take care of YOU.