Pay It Forward

Pay it Forward Jennifer Trager University of Phoenix PSY/490 Instructor: Vicki Koenig November 25, 2011 Pay it forward is becoming a more popular phrase it seems. When you drive through towns and different communities, one can see signs for soup kitchens, volunteer services, etc. There is something about the idea of giving back to others that is not only for the one receiving, but also beneficial to the one doing the work behind it. This idea is considered altruism and is driven by a want to contribute to someone else’s life instead of focusing on what one can get from others.

There once was a movie called “Pay it forward” about the whole idea of doing something for someone with the only stipulation being to do something for someone else. Once, Oprah did a show on random acts of kindness and the reactions of those receiving these acts. Currently, it is the holiday season and it might be safe to assume that these acts of kindness might be more in the making. Some of these acts could include carrying someone’s groceries to their car, buying someone a cup of coffee at the local convenience store, or even paying someone’s check at a restaurant.

Personally, one of my favorite things to do is pay the toll for multiple cars on one of our major highways. I enjoy this most because I am unable to see their reactions and I hope that they would “pay it forward” also essay writers online. Although I am not there to see their reactions, there have been moments when people have sped up to wave to me or mouth a thank you, which is nice even though these are not things I look for in doing this. Some might suggest that the idea of altruism can be based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model. This idea suggests that there are fundamental drives behind people’s actions.

While the first two stages might suggest a more selfish need due to the idea of meeting one’s physical needs such as food, shelter, etc. and the second stage is security and the idea that one’s needs will be met in the future. The third stage is belong or a need for unconditional love and leads to the fourth and fifth stage. The fourth is purpose/esteem which is seen in one’s activities and the fifth is human potential that is suggested as meaning “self-actualisation” or the development of self, personal creative potential.

In an article titled “Re-Establishing Altruism As a Viable Social Norm” (2011), it is stated that “people are generally keen to promote well-being of others, and a new generation is working as volunteers far more than their parents ever did”. This might be attributed to the idea that today needs are met with less struggle than in years past or that this “new generation is discovering the tremendous value of making a real contribution to the lives of others”.

Another article in Psychology Today suggests that “acting with an unselfish regard for others doesn’t always come naturally, even though many psychologists believe we’re hard-wired for empathy”. And the final thought from this same article states that “most of us realize that when we make an effort to give without expectations of reciprocity, we feel fulfilled and energized”. So if this is the new idea behind our everyday, the world might not be doomed! I often feel that we are becoming more of a society that is all about themselves and what can be gained at anyone’s expense.

This small assignment and project has shed some hope on my sometimes cynical attitude. And brings me to a place of realization in that there is always more that can be done on my part alone. References Psychology Today. (2011). Altruism Basics. Retrieved November 23, 2011 from http://www. psychologytoday. com/basics/altruism. Re-Establishing Altruism As A Viable Social Norm. (2011). Retrieved November 21, 2011 from http://www. altruists. org/ideas/psychology.

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