pause + rewind + try again

Pay it Forward

About two months ago I was struggling from a breakup with a man I adored. Our relationship wasn’t perfect but I loved him wholeheartedly. After it ended, I was sad, my self-esteem was at an all-time low, and I felt empty and exhausted emotionally. I gave so much to that relationship that I lost myself along the way. I lost my joy, my self-confidence, and my ability to laugh. I’m used to feeling confident and light and instead I wanted to hide and questioned my worth.

One of the things I always wanted was for my partner to compliment me.

If I had a pretty dress on or if I took the time to get dressed up for a date, I would wait for him to notice and hopefully tell me he appreciated the effort or even just me as a whole. Sadly, words were not his strong suit and in the year we dated, I yearned for a compliment or kind word. After we broke up, I wondered how many other people have the same yearning for those kind words or a genuine compliment that I did. I decided I didn’t want to wait for another man to fulfill that need and sought to fulfill it for others instead. I noticed more when someone would post a pretty selfie on Instagram and began taking the time to let people know I thought they were hilarious, that they glowed, that they were strong, and that they had a sweet smile. I shared how amazing their new haircut looked, or that I loved their outfit, or how radiantly happy they looked. I decided to pay it forward and sought to look for the beauty in others that I wanted someone to recognize in me.

In the time that I started giving love rather than asking for it I have witnessed so much joy.

The reactions﹘warmth and happiness﹘that I’ve received in response to a sincere compliment have given me so much more than I anticipated. Seeing women revel in their strength, beauty, courage, intelligence, and grace has been a gift. I treasure knowing that such an easy gesture can bring so much joy to others. By shifting my focus, I have been able to rely on myself for the things I need but also to be a source of love and light for others who might be struggling like I was. Mark Twain said you could live for two months on a good compliment and I truly believe that.

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Sharing kindness and love is free..

In the time I started to sprinkle it, those seeds have grown. Grown into my own confidence, my own joy, and my ability to bring joy and light to others. I would like to challenge those struggling to pause for a moment and instead of looking for something, look to give something. A kind word, an act of kindness, a small token of affection, be the light for others. If I have learned anything these past two months is that we get more by giving than by receiving. So go out and sprinkle a little love today, light it up!

Thanks for checking out this post by our guest contributor, Rhea!

We are so inspired by her effort to #payitforward that we have created a challenge that will help each of us keep an attitude of gratitude. Using the hashtag #sharingkindnesschallenge, we want to hear your stories about sharing compliments, thoughtful words, smiles, good vibes, and other random acts of kindness with your community!

Rhea is a writer, marathoner, and run streaker. She is currently on an almost 5 year run streak and you can see her out and about Raleigh on her daily run. She is also the proud dog mom to two rescue beagles, Jack and Benson.