What does it take to be a genuinely kind person?
This question might seem straightforward enough to answer—it’s something you can ask 5-year-olds— but the surprising thing is that most people have the wrong idea about what actually makes one kind.
So in this article I will tell you the 10 signs that you’re indeed genuinely kind (even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes).
1) You don’t act with ulterior motives
When you do something charitable, you don’t do it because it will make people like you, or because you want to look like a good person.
You don’t wave your cash before you put it in the donation box.
Hell, you don’t even worry about whether God will acknowledge your kindness or not.
You do them simply because you want to, and don’t waste any time wondering if the person you helped would repay your kindness in the future, or if your actions will earn you a spot in heaven.
You don’t see kindness as an “investment”, but as your duty to others.
2) You try to understand, not judge
It’s just a fact of life that as we live our lives, we will encounter ideas and people that are strange to us, as well as narratives that encourage us to think ill of things that we don’t understand.
For example, it’s quite inevitable that you’ll have heard people say “gay people are evil!” or “poor people are poor because they’re lazy!”
It’s easy enough to go with the flow and nod along—and indeed most people do just that—but not you. You reject judgment and instead try to understand and sympathize especially those who are struggling.
And sometimes, you even try to speak your mind (as politely as possible) so others will be less judgmental.
3) You’re careful with your words
Words can hurt and you know this. So much hurt and even a few deaths in this world could have been avoided had people been more careful with their words.
So you do your best to be careful with what you say and how you say them.
You choose your words carefully and refrain from throwing insults—not even in a “joking” way. And when you feel that you have nothing good to say, you simply shut up.
You know how to be gentle.
When someone commits a mistake, you don’t say “You always know how to ruin things!” because you know it can cut deep and scar them for life. Instead, even if you’re frustrated, you say “Oh no. You should be more careful next time”. It stings way less and it’s more constructive.
Words, once uttered, cannot ever be taken back, so you’re extra careful.
4) You act the same way whether or not people are looking
It’s tempting to throw trash out in the woods where nobody’s looking, to take a little “extra” something when you know you can get away with it, or be very mean to others online where you’re anonymous.
But these things are wrong and you know it, so it doesn’t matter whether or not there’s someone looking at you and judging you. You try to do the right thing no matter what!
And it’s not like you need to be afraid of God either!
In fact, even if you believe that God is blind, or that he doesn’t exist, you would still be kind anyway simply because you want to make the world a better place for everyone.
5) You acknowledge your mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes you.
A lot of people would rather pretend that they did not make any mistakes at all, or even get mad when people point it out.
And this is understandable—it can be very embarrassing to admit that you were wrong. But while it is human to make mistakes, refusing to do something about them despite being aware of them is malicious.
You know this so you say sorry when you realize you actually made a mistake.
A genuinely kind person does their best to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes instead of dragging an issue forever just because they’re too proud to say sorry.
6) You take people in good faith
Related to the above point is that when someone stumbles over their own words or says something somewhat uncomfortable or hurtful to you, you don’t assume the worst out of them. Not right away, at least.
Instead, you try to understand that they might just be ignorant, or that they were simply bad at expressing their thoughts. So rather than attacking them straight away, you try to reach out and clarify things with them.
This doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat, of course.
If someone is obviously acting in bad faith—and this is something you have learned to discern in time—then you know to step away and not engage.
7) You can’t stand to see unreasonable suffering
There’s already a lot of suffering in this world, and you can’t stand seeing injustice and suffering around you. So you try to help as much as you can.
You empathize with those who have been dealt a bad hand in life, even if they aren’t someone you personally know.
You don’t have to wait for someone near you to get hurt before you raise your voice in support of mental health programs, for example.
But at the same time, you’re mindful of the fact that tolerance is a peace treaty—you’re not going to speak up in support or sympathy of someone who called for violence towards other people.
8) You treat everyone equally
It doesn’t matter whether you’re interacting with your boss or a homeless guy on the streets—you treat everyone with respect. Everyone.
A genuinely kind person does not care for one’s status, beliefs, or looks. They don’t go “ew, this beggar is stinky,” or “she’s a waitress, she should be fired for messing up my order.”
In fact, one of the biggest giveaways that someone is NOT a good person is when they treat service staff like waiters and cashiers like dirt, even if they’re perfectly fine around their colleagues. Gladly, you’re not like that at all.
9) You care about the world
You’re worried about the state our world is in, and you put in a lot of effort to make sure you are doing your part for the environment.
It can be inconvenient sometimes, like when you have to use recyclable shopping bags, use public transportation, and join clean-up programs, but that’s perfectly fine by you.
You’re very willing to sacrifice a bit of convenience to make sure that the world is still livable for future generations to come.
Of course, you don’t just do this so you’ll appear cool in your social media and dating profiles.
You don’t do it to be interesting. You do it because you genuinely care.
10) You don’t want to appear kind, you want to BE kind
One big giveaway that someone is NOT a kind person is that they make a big deal about being one.
So if you spend your time talking about how you’re “always nice” or that you’re “very empathetic,” you’re probably not a genuinely kind person.
A genuinely good person simply is, and isn’t concerned about how other people see them. So they don’t say that they’re a kind person, and will simply smile and nod when someone else tells them that they are.
Instead of worrying about being seen as a good person, they’re more concerned about actually being one.
A lot of people think that to be kind, you need to always put others before yourself—that you must be a self-sacrificing martyr. That’s not necessarily true.
We see so many self-sacrificing people with good intentions who are, well…anything but kind.
In order for you to be genuinely kind, you only have to be genuine in your desire to see people for who they are, and to be respectful and open-minded towards your differences. And of course, if you can, you offer help. And that’s enough.
You’re genuinely kind if you GENUINELY care for others—plain and simple.