I heard about The Shine Project, through another blog (lilblueboo), and really liked the idea of spreading “shine” which encourages us all to pay it forward. I’ve taken the opportunity to purchase a stranger’s coffee behind me in the drive thru at the coffee shop a time or two, and also have been the recipient of the same act of kindness. I took those opportunities to pay it forward, by purchasing the persons drink behind me. It’s a win-win. I feel so much gratitude for the stranger that purchased mine, and I get the joy of helping someone out by doing the same. While I can’t speak for the person behind me, I know that no matter how hurried, troubled, or whatever, my morning may have been going, in that instant, that all melts away. It REALLY does! The thought that someone is nice enough to do that for a total stranger, is awesome. It helps you to take a step back, step out of the “mirror room”, and remember that life is bigger than what is happening TO JUST YOU. Think of OTHERS.
For someone with low self-esteem (me), it’s hard not to be overly critical of myself. I am discovering that the more I focus on OTHERS, and doing kind things FOR others, the less energy I have to spend criticizing myself. For lack of a better word, it’s “cleansing”. As each day passes, it becomes easier and easier for me to Choose Joy in my daily life. I suppose that lends to the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Maybe it’s becoming a habit. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I do have those moments during the day when I get to thinking about the things that cause me or people I care about pain, and wonder why they are happening, or have happened. The difference is, I’m not consumed by it and I’m learning to look at those things from different angles.
The Shine Project has many different ways of helping people. (You can also read more about it yourself here). One of them, is the “Pass it forward cards”. The idea being, that I purchase (which I did – they are really inexpensive) some cards (below) from the project then, I go out into the world (well, my community anyway), and do random acts of kindness for others. When I do, I give that person the “Pass it forward” card (but first make a note of the number that was on the card). The card explains the project to them, and encourages them to then go out and do the same thing for someone else. Then, I go back to the website, find the card number, and log my random act of kindness (what I did and where). The idea being that the person I give it too, will do the same with that very card.
The first card I gave out, was at the drive thru coffee stand one morning. It was easy…I just paid for the persons coffee in line behind me, and gave the card to the Barista to hand to them with their drink. The second one was to my daughters teacher when I gave her a gift Emma and I had made her, but this was a little different, and as I started to explain it to her, I started to feel a little like a salesman. Kind of like saying “Here I did something nice for you, now go do something nice for someone else….and then record it, and do it NOW!” She had kind of a glazed-over look on her face, which was a pretty good indicator I was going in one ear and out the other. That’s when I decided I wasn’t sure about this card idea. I think it’s a fun idea, and it would be awesome to be able to “spread the shine” and actually “watch” it spread, but it just felt weird to me.
I am absolutely going to continue to do random acts of kindness whenever I can, but I’m leaving it up to fate as to whether that person pays it forward, or not.
If you have never done it, give it a try. Think of how it could change someone’s outlook on the day, and perhaps even on life in general, given to the right person in the right circumstance. In the words of Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”. 🙂