“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Ever feel like you’ve gotta pay someone back? Even in a small minute way. Like someone does you a favor, and then you “owe” them one? To even the score…
Give a little, take a little. Or, when one is operating in fear, we don’t take at all. Closing ourselves off from every single inlet that anyone could give anything to us. Been there too?
It’s pretty common and can occur without one even noticing. Sometimes I ask myself and others, ‘Why don’t you like to accept help or support?’
The answer: Because I’m afraid of the expectation of what I’ll have to give back. I don’t want to OWE anyone anything.
The unwritten rules of expectation and exchange that are quietly woven throughout our society, our lives, our families and our relationships. I’ve felt this space too. It hangs over me like a hook, I owe them. This is something I’m gonna have to do. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day… How will I ever pay them back!?
Not accepting help or compliments is an action that let’s this fear or anxiety run our lives.
Learning how to accept from others wholeheartedly, Say Yes Thank You to compliments, and receive willingly takes a bit of practice and navigation. Working with a Pay It Forward mindset can help one easily and openly travel these interactions.
How Can I Pay it Forward?
Paying it Forward is when one show’s up to every occasion ready and willing to give what one can so the Collective Ball of Life keeps rolling forward. Call it progress, an act of kindness, compassion, call it what you want. When garbage needs picked up on the side of the street, you pick it up. Not for your own benefit but for all those people who may walk past the same spot and enjoy how “clean” it is. They’ll never know that garbage was there in the first place. But they may feel gratitude for how “beautiful” the place is and this gratitude may inspire them to take some sort of similar “Pay it Forward” action in their own life. Let’s call this a Win/Win.
Paying it Forward feels good IN the moment!
A zero sum game is just about the opposite of Paying It Forward and doesn’t feel so good. A zero sum game is about Balancing the score. There is always a winner and a loser. My gain is your loss. My loss is your gain. You gave to me, so I must give to you. It’s almost like a constant tally system that plays in the mind to “settle the score”. Which works for a while, but can lead one to feeling “indebted” for everything.
“I owe you” isn’t a great space to move from. It does not create a feeling of gratitude or abundant giving. Anxiety rattles in the body through the movement asking, Did I give enough? It leaves ones feeling the need to protect themselves from having to owe anyone, Everrr. Which can lead to closure/defensiveness/protection in the psyche and emotions. This can be masked as Independence, Stubborness, or just plain out Walls of never letting anyone in. Receiving any sort of help or gift can leave one feeling indebted and stuck in a loop of “giving back” when we’re unsure of how to do it, How to Pay it Forward.
Closed, Stuckness, Non-Receptivity can lead one to feeling blocked or trying to hone in their ZERO, which could also be called “Balance” so all their “debts” are settled and so they don’t incur any more debts.
A Zero Sum Game is a Win/Lose.
My gain of having no more debts is your loss of not holding me to those debts anymore. Your win of holding me to debts is my loss of being stuck until I can repay said debt. Unspoken expectations seem to run rampant in zero sum games/movements/lives.
So. What do we do if we find ourselves slowly getting closed in on the Zero Sum Game? Because everyone else kind of operates on this tally system representing a lot of old held beliefs of how we SHOULD do things and how things SHOULD go even if it doesn’t work anymore???
MAKE. A. MOVE.
Move with the Pay It Forward Mindset in an Unexpected or Spontaneous Way.
• Picking up garbage on a beach, park, hike, sidewalk or pathway…
• Saying “Yes” if you can, to a friend for a favor without making them feel like they ‘owe you one’…
•“Give back” in a new way with the intention of “Giving Forward” using a new skill you’ve learned…
• Let your interests and inspirations guide you…
The movement needs to be something new, something you’ve never done before or might think you’d never do, or at least something you might’ve always done but in a different way.
“When a person does something for another person – a prosocial act, as it’s called – they are rewarded not only by group approval but also by an increase of dopamine and other pleasurable hormones in their blood.”
-Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
When You Do Make a Pay IT Forward Move:
Notice the gratitude as you move IN the moment. It doesn’t have to come at another time, or later, it can be now. Gratitude can be felt now even though you’re “Paying It Forward”. Kind of like Flow. Paying it Forward is an easy way to tap into Flow.
Gratitude closes the loop. There’s no expectation beyond the current moment. Gratitude, even presence, occurring in a Pay It Forward inspired moment is the culmination of expanding, resounding, vibrancy. Life Feels Good! The action is a win/win for all parties involved. It’s operating in life without any expectations other than continuing to find new ways to give forward.
When we all lean into this aspect of life and giving and Paying it Forward we all reap the mysterious and surprising rewards of “clean streets” and receiving unexpected without return expectancy gifts. Being the receiver of these types of gifts are basically like little miracles floating around making the ever elusive Rainbow Unicorn Fairy Dust Sprinkles ALIVE in the normal waking everyday life.