Do a quick Google search for its definition, and you will find that kindness is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
It’s no wonder we often associate it with public displays of generosity and politeness.
But dive a little deeper, and you will see that it is also defined as a “kind act”.
Kind acts can be less obvious. They don’t always come with a smile, and they certainly don’t always come with public acknowledgment.
Much kindness is selfless and, therefore, often goes unnoticed.
Because of this, it can be difficult to spot, even in ourselves.
There are some signs, however.
If you treat others in these ten ways, you are kinder than you think.
1) You treat everyone with respect regardless of their social status
If there is one sign that you are a kind person, it’s that you treat people of all professions and social classes with respect.
You aren’t rude to servers in restaurants, taxi drivers, or colleagues in less powerful positions than you.
Similarly, you don’t look down on celebrities or people who are more successful than you.
This is actually a common trait of people who believe themselves to be kind. They make sure to give respect to those less fortunate than themselves but don’t extend the same courtesy to more “successful” people.
A truly kind person treats everyone with respect regardless of their social status.
If you do this, you likely also boast this next trait.
2) You don’t judge a book by its cover
If you are the kind of person who knows that appearances can be deceiving and you don’t judge people based on how they look, you may be kinder than you think.
You remain open-minded and respectful no matter how someone appears.
You know that everyone has their own story. Instead of making a snap judgment based on your first impressions of someone, you choose to dive deep into the chapters of their life.
3) You are honest even when it isn’t easy
True kindness can sometimes come in the form of tough love.
Sometimes the kindest thing to do is be honest even when it isn’t easy. Yes, it may hurt in the short term. However, in the long run, it is often the kindest thing to do.
Are you the type of person who doesn’t avoid difficult honesty, who tells it as it is because, in the end, it’s the most helpful thing to do?
It sure won’t always feel like it, but it is a sign that you are kinder than you think.
4) You give without expecting anything in return
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, right?
Well, there is with kind people.
If you often give your time, knowledge, and even money without expecting anything in return, you are probably kinder than you give yourself credit for.
This could mean making an anonymous donation to charity, or it could simply mean helping a friend to move house or lend your ear in times of distress.
The truth is you often get something in return for these acts of kindness.
When you give money to charity, you get a feeling of satisfaction.
When you help a friend, they will often be there to return the favor when you are in need.
If nothing else, studies have shown that acts of kindness increase our happiness.
However, the point is that you don’t go into these situations expecting something in return.
You do it because you have a genuine desire to help people.
5) You give people the benefit of the doubt
Do you treat people as though they are good and truthful, even though this may not be the case?
If so, it is a surefire sign that you might be kinder than you think. It’s easy to be negative these days; we are surrounded by pessimism.
Kind people, however, believe that people are good and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Some will call this behavior naive, and if you have this trait, you have probably been burned on more than one occasion. Haters will use this as an example of your naivety.
But at least you are not living your life in negativity. You are giving people a chance.
You will get hurt sometimes. But other times, your kindness will spread and come back to you.
6) You don’t lie for personal gain
There are many reasons people lie.
According to a 2021 study, these include lying in order to be humorous, to avoid people, and even to hurt others.
However, the study revealed that two of the common reasons people lie are selfish.
That is,13% of people lied to “impress or appear more favorable,” while 9% abandoned truth for “personal benefit or gain”.
If you were surprised by these findings and you never lie to people for personal gain, you are likely a kinder person than you give yourself credit for.
7) You are forgiving
Do you choose to forgive and move on rather than hold a grudge?
If so, you may be kinder than you think.
This is a funny one because it’s as much about being kind to others as it is about being kind to yours truly.
According to Mayo Clinic, the benefits of forgiving someone can lead to improved health, less stress, and even lower blood pressure.
So by being kind to others here, you are also kind to yourself.
8) You are generous with your time
Despite what modern media may lead us to believe, our most valuable resource is time.
It’s one of the only things that we can’t get back. You can make more money, but you can’t go back in time.
Therefore, being generous with our time is one of the kindest things we can do.
Do you volunteer at a local old folks home or coach a junior sports team?
Do you sometimes spend hours listening to and consoling friends who are going through rough times?
If so, you are probably a kinder person than you think.
9) You choose to see the best in others
We are all flawed. None of us are perfect.
Most see the flaws and nothing more. They don’t consider the positive traits that people have.
However, if you are the sort of person who chooses to see the best in people, you are likely kinder than you might think.
10) You give genuine compliments
A lot of compliments are thrown around these days with no real meaning behind them.
People compliment others for the sake of it. They don’t care what the compliment is, and they don’t often believe it.
Kind people, however, give genuine compliments. They work hard to find something they truly admire in a person, and they make it known.
If you are someone who does this, you are probably kinder than you give yourself credit for.
The bottom line
Public kindness is most recognized for obvious reasons, and there is much association between kindness and being friendly or polite.
Because of this, it can be difficult to identify genuine kindness, even in ourselves.
I hope this post has communicated that kindness doesn’t always come with niceties, and sometimes, true kindness can even seem harsh.
While you might not have realized it, you are likely a kind person if you treat people in the ways mentioned above.
Until next time.