We’ve been taught that we should try to be kind whenever possible.
So why does kindness get such a bad rap? And why are people who are kind often seen as weak and naive?
That’s because there are people who take advantage of kindness.
So while you try your best to be kind, you must do it with eyes wide open.
To help you along, here are 7 traits of people who are naturally kind (without being naive).
1) They’re extremely considerate (except towards selfish people)
In today’s extra-competitive world, most people begin to develop the survival strategy of putting themselves first. It’s normal. That’s because if they don’t, they fear they’ll be left behind.
We’re all designed to prioritize ourselves.
But naturally kind people don’t mind being a step behind, because they’re extremely considerate to others.
Whether it’s at the line to the cashier, or even a promotion with all the perks, naturally kind people don’t believe in putting themselves and their needs above everyone else’s.
But take note, they’re not martyrs nor saints.
They make sure that the person is deserving of their kindness.
If someone’s cutting in line because they’re in a rush, they’d willingly let them. But if someone is cutting in line just because they’re lazy, then that’s another story.
If you ask them to sacrifice themselves for your SOLE benefit, you’ll likely be sorely disappointed, and held accountable for it.
So don’t even dare try it because they may be considerate, but they won’t help people with selfish motives.
2) They’re always willing to help (unless you abuse their kindness)
Naturally kind people take initiative. They pick up the slack as soon as they notice it without needing to be asked.
Whether it’s washing the dishes so their partner can have extra time to work, or catching a work error for a colleague before the boss catches on, naturally kind people are happy to help.
They do it not just to please people. Neither do they do it to get credit.
They simply take initiative because they see their well-being as interlinked to others as their own.
Like if their partner is stressed, they also feel stressed, and when their partner is happy and relaxed, the positive energy in the home is amplified, too.
At work, they catch the error not just to play the hero, but because damage control while the error is small is easier to fix than bigger blowups.
But watch out. Naturally kind people can easily detect when you’re taking advantage of them.
So if you dare to steal their ideas or take credit for their work and effort, you’ll be surprised by how confidently they can call you out on it and put you in your place.
And if you keep slacking off at home that it’s become a habit, you’ll also get a lecture from them.
3) They’re loyal (as long as you deserve it)
While people think that naturally kind people just smile and act polite, they’ve likely confused kindness with being nice.
While nice people will smile and avoid confrontation, naturally kind people are deeply loyal and will speak up on your behalf if someone tries to backstab you or speak ill of you even if it means they might end up on the losing end.
Even when there’s a clear benefit to abandoning or betraying someone’s trust, naturally kind people can be relied on to have your back even during the toughest times.
But be careful.
Naturally kind people are loyal through the test of time, but if they find out that you’re undeserving of their loyalty—like you stole a big sum of money, committed a deadly sin, or you’ve betrayed their trust— they will also withdraw it.
Sure they’re loyal, but it doesn’t make blind to your acts. In fact, they have high moral standards and if you repeatedly fail, you’re back outside their circle of trust.
4) They’re humble (but they’re actually confident in themselves)
And naturally kind people are high on both modesty and humility.
They don’t pride themselves on being special, because they think everyone is— in each of their own ways.
Even when they win an award or have a successful business, they remain humble because they believe everyone is a work-in-progress.
But don’t confuse their humility for lack of confidence or self-esteem.
Some people would take advantage of others who seem to be lacking self-confidence by not giving them what they deserve or by making remarks that could make them doubt themselves.
Naturally kind people can tell when people are attacking them simply because they don’t spread their feathers like a peacock.
And when that happens, they will advocate for themselves and cut you off when you start to get disrespectful.
5) They’re generous (but will cut off leeches)
While naturally kind people are generous even to people who can’t give them anything in return, they can sense when someone is a leech.
And if they have proof for it, they’ll stay away.
There is a flow to reciprocity that naturally kind people are deeply attuned to and this is why they are both grateful and generous.
If you offer to look after their cats for a few days, they’ll come back from their work or vacation with a thoughtful gift.
And if they can sense that someone just takes and takes without giving anything in return—not even time—then they’ll stop being too giving.
They do this so they can protect themselves and so they can remain kind. The last thing they want is that they become too burnt out and jaded that they’d have nothing to give even to the people who did nothing wrong to them.
6) They’re forgiving (but they’re not doormats)
Naturally kind people are also naturally forgiving. They don’t hold grudges, pile on faults, or practice pettiness in any way.
Because of this, some people see them as doormats to walk all over, and often misinterpret their being forgiving as a weakness.
That is until they realize that naturally kind people forgive, but they don’t forget.
Naturally kind people are forgiving because they know that we all have our flaws and that we all make mistakes.
But if someone’s actions repeatedly show malice, selfishness, and ill intent?
They will hold them accountable for their actions, privately and collectively if needed.
7) They’re optimists (but not blind)
Naturally kind people are the optimists who are always looking on the bright side of things— seeing the goodness in people, and appreciating the beauty of life.
This can make them deeply annoying to some people who choose to look at negativity and be wary of others.
But make no mistake!
Naturally kind people aren’t blind to the darker side of life and people.
They know that some people can be selfish, manipulative, inconsiderate, and vile…but they just CHOOSE to focus on the good (and everyone has a good side).
This is how they are real friends with the grouch of the office, and this is how they are able to navigate the curveballs life throws at them.
While people expect them to be unable to cope when the going gets tough, it’s actually the naturally kind people and their optimism that gets everyone through hell.
While it may seem difficult to be naturally kind without being naive, it’s actually really simple.
The key? Be kind to yourself, too.
Treat yourself as someone important, someone valuable, and someone worthy of respect.
And here’s something you must remember: If you’re feeling burnt out and bitter, don’t be mistaken that your kindness is diminishing.
Instead, use it as a cue to funnel some of that kindness to you, and with that you’ll be able to balance being kind without being naive.