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How to be a kind-hearted person: 10 effective tips

Everyone likes people who are genuinely kind-hearted.

They spread joy wherever they go so it isn’t really a wonder why we all aspire to be one.

If you want to be kind-hearted to the core—something that’s genuine and longer-lasting, here are 10 things you should do.

1) Try to be kind to yourself

The first step towards being a genuinely kind person is by being kind to yourself.

This might sound like something that is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said, but sadly most of us have forgotten this basic fact.

There’s the somewhat common idea that even while you exercise patience towards others, you should be tough on yourself.

I know people who believe this and, when I ask them why, they tell me it’s so that they are always on their best behavior or so that they won’t ‘slip up’ and be mean towards others. Sadly, this doesn’t quite have that effect.

If you’re too tough on yourself, you’ll just end up building resentment inside of yourself that will, one way or another, make its way outside.

It’s not a myth, folks. Everything truly starts with the self.

So go ahead. Treat yourself like you’re a king or queen…spoil yourself!

Most of all, give yourself a break and stop beating yourself up.

When you get that down pat, it will be easier for you to be more understanding and forgiving of others’ mistakes.

Practicing genuine self-love can really make you a much kinder person.

2) Avoid judging people

Something that needs to go if you truly want to be kind is to avoid being judgmental.

We’ve all come across people who would talk badly about other people simply because they belong to a given demographic, or think a certain way. Basically, that they’re different!

You’d hear people mock LGBT+ for all sorts of reasons, call them insane or deluded. You’d hear people hate on and laugh at neighbors, colleagues, family, and strangers just because they can.

These things are most definitely unkind, and you will want to avoid doing what these people are doing.

If you’re around people who gossip and judge for a hobby, you may want to distance yourself from them a little bit. Not only will they gossip about you behind your back, you’ll also be infected by this bad habit.

If you know that you’re a judgmental person, then stop it like you need to quit any addiction. It’s not a healthy way to live.

3) Learn to listen well

You know those people who don’t make eye contact when you’re talking or those who change the topic so it’s all about them?

Yeah…we don’t like them either.

You don’t just get to be a kind person if you don’t try to pay attention to people as they speak.

Avoid interrupting people, or looking at your phone, or randomly slipping off-topic things during the conversation.

It’s just not nice to leave people feeling like they don’t matter. Look at them while they’re speaking, nod, and actually engage with them in conversation.

People remember you by how you make them feel when you’re together.

If they feel heard and seen, they’d feel like they somehow matter. You’d be amazed that even a single gesture as a nod would have a big effect on how someone feels.

Actively listening to people like this is a great quality to have.

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4) Learn kindness from others

While it’s possible for one to be kind regardless of circumstances, it nonetheless helps a lot to surround yourself with kind people.

It’s a matter of perspective and exposure.

There are some people who are kind at heart but don’t quite know how to be kind. Later they reveal that they haven’t seen much in the way of selfless kindness growing up.

When they’re shown kindness, they become immediately suspicious and uncomfortable.

See, if you aren’t used to acts of kindness, having people treat you nicely might have you feeling like people are trying to curry your favor or put you in a spot to be taken advantage of later on down the road.

Likewise, showing kindness might have you feeling like you’re putting yourself in a spot to be taken advantage of by other people.

Being around people who are genuinely kind can help us become more comfortable with receiving and showing kindness.

While good intentions are cool, what’s cooler is knowing how to actually show kindness.

5) Pay it forward

Receiving the kindness of others and learning from it is one thing, but paying their kindness forward is arguably even more important.

Paying forward means showing other people the same kindness that has been shown to you… and more, if you are willing!

It should never be an act to be done for the sake of bragging and saying that you have done something charitable. It shouldn’t be done to satisfy your need to hear the gratitude of the people you’re helping.

In fact, sometimes people will reject your help. And that’s alright.

There’s nothing too complicated about it either. It’s as simple as giving people a helping hand when they need it.

Do something good even if it seems so little. Buy a painting from a struggling artist, or give a poor beggar some bread. All of that helps.

And perhaps, just perhaps, in showing kindness to others you will also inspire them to be kind in turn.

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6) Count your blessings

When you wake up in the morning, thank the universe that you’re still alive.

Thank your heart for still beating, thank your teeth that they remain intact, thank your eyes, your nose, your hands!

There are so many things to be thankful for every single day that we’re alive, even on the worst days.

If you feel like you have a lot and you’re blessed, it will be easier for you to be a kind-hearted person. You’d feel like your glass is always full and that you have to share your happiness to people around you.

7) Say thanks

Kindness is something to be acknowledged and treasured.

By being grateful and saying “thank you”, you are giving acknowledgment to the good things that happen to you and not simply taking them for granted.

And to make it even better, you make the people around you happy, which would make them . There are few things that give people so much pure joy as helping others. But go ahead make their day by thanking them for it.

It’s also best to see gratefulness not as a one-and-done thing, but as something that you hold close to your heart.

You can start with saying “thank you” when something good happens to you. It can feel a bit weird at first, especially if you’re not used to saying those words.

But it will grow on you, and later on, you can get right to thanking people out of the blue for things that happened ages ago!

7) Focus on others

It might sound contradictory to loving yourself, but not at all.

Once you’ve given yourself enough love, it’s time to not focus on just yourself when you’re with others.

You need to think about how others feel. If you straight up don’t bother to care about how others feel, then it’s going to be impossible to be kind.

Kindness is rooted deep in empathy, in being mindful towards how others will feel. It’s based on selflessness and is dimmed by selfishness.

It pays to ask yourself before saying or doing anything, “how would this make other people feel?”

If you think that someone will be hurt, then try to find ways to change your approach or do something else entirely.

Keep yourself from doing things that could impact other people negatively as much as you can. It’s going to be somewhat hard at first if you’re not used to it, but it will become second nature in time.

Keep in mind that everyone is facing their own battles. And even when you’re in a bad spot, it might help to remind yourself that there are others going through the same things as you, or even worse.

Don’t take this to mean that your struggles are meaningless or insignificant. That’s not the case at all!

Rather, it’s a reminder that regardless of your situation, you should be kind towards others by not always thinking about yourself.

8) Be okay with imperfection

Don’t expect perfection, both from others and from yourself.

If you expect perfection, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

It’s just impossible to find people who are without flaws, or who fit the image of perfection you might have in your mind. And those people whose flaws are few or innocuous are also incredibly rare.

The vast majority of people are, simply put, imperfect.

And if you expect perfection, you’ll end up becoming way too critical of yourself and others, which would then end up making you resent things.

Do temper your expectations and accept the imperfect nature of humanity. People can’t help but be what they are and, if people turn out to be better than you expected, then take that as a bonus you should be thankful for.

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9) Try to be optimistic

A positive mindset goes a long way to being a kind-hearted person.

It is, after all, hard to be kind when you have nothing but negativity in your head. Meanwhile, by being positive and optimistic you are in a much better place to be kind to others.

And to that end, it pays to try to be optimistic. By all means, listen to news of bad happenings, but also balance it out by looking for stories of goodness. Stories that would somehow restore your faith in humanity.

It’s not always easy to be optimistic, especially if you’ve been having a bad day. And, well, everyone’s allowed to have their off days.

But optimism, like all the items in this list, is something you can learn!

It’s something you can condition your mind into defaulting to with practice. Try to focus on the good stuff even when things seem bad at the moment.

10) Don’t discriminate on who to show kindness to.

There are people who are only exerting effort to be kind to those who already have abundance of it — the rich, the powerful, the lovable.

You should never discriminate on who you are kind to. In fact, try to be much kinder to those who might need it.

I said earlier that all of us face our own battles, and therefore we should try to show kindness to everyone regardless of who they are.

That also means you shouldn’t show kindness towards poor people alone, or towards animals alone.

If you’re excluding anyone or anything at all from your list of “who to be kind to” because you think they don’t need it, you’re not really being a kind-hearted person.

Kind-heartedness is a state of being that reflects in your actions, and not entirely the sum of your actions.

You shouldn’t even keep a list of people or things you should be kind to. You simply are kind.

Conclusion

Kind-heartedness might seem like something that some people just have…something that healthy and well-balanced people are born with.

But the truth is that it is something you can learn, just as you can train yourself to be a person who saps the joy in the people around them with their sheer gloom and doom.

It’s not always easy, especially if you have been the opposite for way too long.

But so long as you are willing to make small changes day by day, you’ll one day realize that you’ve actually become the kind-hearted person you’d always wanted to be.

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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