When I think about paying it forward, I associate it with one thing: money. You have to donate money to a cause, spend money to buy things for a nonprofit, buy the person’s meal who’s in line behind me, etc. But impacting the world doesn’t take tons of cash.
There are different ways to improve the world. Sure, money can help. But there are plenty of free ways to impact someone positively. A personal favorite of mine is when people genuinely ask about my life and follow up with it. And not a “hey, how are you?” “Good” “Good!” conversation. I mean a sit-down, deep conversation about the goings-on of life. For example, if someone tells me about a particular family issue, I try to make a mental note. That way, I can ask them “how’s your family doing with xyz?” and even send them a follow-up text throughout the week. Having gone through several tough personal issues lately, it’s meant a lot to me when people check up on me and remember the details. You don’t have the bear the burden of the issue yourself–but remembering their hardship speaks to how much you care about them.
One way to positively impact those you care about is to find out their love language. A love language is how someone feels/interprets love. Some prefer gifts, others prefer spending quality time with someone. There are 5 love languages that were created by Gary Chapman. There’s a free online quiz that ranks the “languages” in the order you value them.
To show the people you love that you truly value them will better your relationships. After you’ve taken the quiz and shared it, consider sharing the quiz with others. It’s a good place to challenge your group of friends or family to “pay it forward” by taking the extra step to care about the people around them.
Annie K. Swain