8 signs you’re kinder than the average person, according to psychology

What single human trait is more appealing than kindness? 

Out of all human characteristics, it’s the one that improves the world the most. 

The surprising thing about kindness is that it can be found anywhere, even in the places you least expect to find it. 

In contrast, it’s often missing from the places you’d expect to find it most abundantly. 

I remember thinking about kindness a lot when reading Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

In this story about his life as a concentration camp survivor, he delves into the nature of human kindness, and its dark opposite — cruelty. 

He says “Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.” 

The point is that kindness isn’t a group phenomenon, it relates to individual people. 

Every person makes choices about how to treat others — and some people are more kind than others. 

How can you tell if someone is remarkably kind? 

In this article, I’ll discuss a few signs that you’re kinder than the average person.

1) You forgive people who hurt you

Forgiveness can be tough, especially when the hurt runs deep. When someone has intentionally set out to make your life miserable, it’s not easy to just look past it and move on. 

More often than not, malicious action against us causes trauma. The memory sticks to our consciousness like a leech — sucking away our life force. 

How can you forgive something like that?

If you often choose to forgive those who have wronged you, you’re demonstrating a profound level of kindness and maturity. 

It’s about letting go of resentment and anger, not just for the sake of the other person, but also for your own peace of mind. 

You either forgive or you live in resentment. Despite what people say, forgetting simply isn’t an option. 

This act of kindness frees you from negative emotions and helps you move forward. 

It doesn’t mean you condone the wrong; it means you’re strong enough to offer a second chance.

2) You’re generous

Sharing is caring — it’s true. 

What sits at the source of generosity? 

Selflessness. And the ability to want goodness for other people. 

Generosity is not just about giving money or gifts; it’s about sharing your time, knowledge, and energy with others.

Not everything in life is material. 

If you’re someone who gets joy from making others happy, your generosity is a clear sign of your kind nature.

You don’t need to give your wages away to be generous. It could be that you’re lending a listening ear to someone who needs it, or sharing a meal with a person who has been lonely. 

It’s about offering support without seeking anything in return, embodying the essence of true kindness.

This type of kindness is also contagious. 

One study found that when people remember someone being kind in a usual way, they feel happier and give more money to charity. 

But when they remember a surprising act of kindness, they might be more generous to strangers or people they don’t like.

Let’s talk more about giving to strangers…

3) You’re charitable

What separates generosity from charity? 

Well, I’d say that generosity can be towards anybody but mostly extends to friends and family — people in your immediate inner circle. 

But what about giving to people outside of your circle? People you don’t see on a regular basis. 

Charity is the act of giving without expecting anything in return. 

It’s a commitment to helping others and making a positive difference in the world — regardless of whether you know them personally or not.

It could be: 

  • Volunteering
  • Advocating for social causes
  • Helping those in need

Charitable people are driven by a desire to improve the lives of others, showing that kindness can indeed change the world.

4) You make tough sacrifices for others

Are you willing to sacrifice a much-needed quiet evening alone to help your friend in a crisis?

Can you deny yourself to help someone in need?

Sacrifice is never pleasant, but if you want to be the kind of person who goes above and beyond for other people, it’s often necessary. 

Sacrifice is a powerful form of kindness. 

And it’s not always easy for us to let go of our little comforts to help others. That’s what makes it so remarkable when people can do it.

If you’ve ever missed out on something important to you to help a friend, you’ve made a tough sacrifice. 

And it’s a testament to your kindness. 

This willingness to put others first, even when it’s hard, is a true mark of a kind-hearted person.

5) You’re always ready to help

We all need help from time to time. 

If you’re the person who always lends a hand, your readiness to help is a testament to your kindness. 

Many of us help other people because we know the karma wheel might spin around on us one day. And low key, sometimes we just help as a form of reciprocity. 

We think things like “If I help them now, they’ll help me later when I need it.” 

It’s true — reciprocity makes the world go around. But simply being reciprocal isn’t enough to make you outstanding. 

Being helpful without expecting recognition or reward shows that you genuinely care about others’ well-being and are committed to making their lives easier. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Am I just helping because I want something in return?
  • If they didn’t reward me or thank me, would I feel cheated?
  • Am I helping out of true altruism or is there a hidden selfish motive? 

It’s not always easy to answer questions like this honestly. I’ve personally discovered a lot about myself through this type of self-investigation and forcing myself to answer the tough questions.

If I’m going to be kind, I don’t want to be disingenuous about it. I want to do it to relieve other people’s suffering.

6) Other people’s misfortune genuinely hurts

If you’re the kind of person who struggles to walk past someone who’s clearly suffering, it shows you have high levels of empathy.

Empathy is at the heart of kindness.

You see it yourself — how many people simply walk past when a person is in need?

If you’re the person who breaks the cycle by stepping in and offering what’s needed, you surely stand out from the crowd of passers by. 

People often use the excuse “But you can’t help everyone.” 

This is, of course, true. 

But does that mean you can’t help anyone at all?

Rather than simply numbing the instinct to help altogether, help where you can. 

If you’re the kind of person who knows this instinctively and refuses to be one of the multitudes of people who choose to ignore their empathetic instinct, your kindness is already greater than most — well done!

7) You enjoy listening to other people

How many of us listen to other people out of a sense of duty? 

Let’s face it — there’s nothing special about that.

On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who derives real joy from hearing about others’ experiences, thoughts, and feelings, your kindness is already above average.

If you’re not:

  • Listening because you feel like you have to 
  • Waiting anxiously for your turn to talk
  • Getting bored while you listen

… it’s a sign that you’re intrinsically interested in other people. You’re not so self-centered that you can’t appreciate other people’s life experiences. 

You understand that every conversation is an opportunity for learning.

8) You don’t judge others

It’s easy to form quick knee-jerk opinions of people without taking the time to look deeply into the story of their lives. 

Often, when someone does something unsavory, we’re quick to criticize and slow to forget. 

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t form knee-jerk negative judgments about people — good for you!

When people judge us negatively, our response is usually something like, “They don’t really understand.” 

So why not extend the same philosophy to others? 

Being a beacon of light 

As Plato once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

And it’s really true. Life is already hard enough and the more kindness we have circulating around, the better. 

Most people think being kind is just “Not hurting other people.” 

For me, that’s not kindness — that’s mediocrity. 

Be the person who goes above and beyond for other people. 

Be the person who makes sacrifices. 

Be the beacon of light that stands out in a crowd. 

Marie Lamb

Marie is a writer with an academic background in psychology and neuroscience. She’s also a qualified yoga teacher with more than 10 experience in Eastern practices. When she’s not writing about psychology and life, she’s reading and crafting stories, poetry, or prose.

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