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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How do you show kindness?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25799 points ) November 27th, 2012

I ask this as a serious question.

Words can comfort or hurt. The lack of words can do the same.

A touch can heal or injure. I’ve heard it said humans need touch to properly mature emotionally.

Charity toward others is a hallmark of help.

Teaching, whether it be in a classroom or on the job, can be conducted with grace or a heavy hand.

There are too many ways to show kindness for me to name. How do you show it?

How do you demonstrate what you cherish?

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24 Answers

DigitalBlue's avatar

I put people’s needs and wants before my own.

hearkat's avatar

I show kindness by being sincere. I respect people enough to be honest and to let them make their own decisions on how to proceed. I have learned that while the truth can sometimes be hard to hear, it doesn’t do anyone a favor to try to withhold or sugarcoat it, and manipulative behaviors will backfire in most cases.

A few months ago, my son and a long-time patient of mine both told me that I have put on too much weight. There are people who would be aghast to be told such a thing; but to me, it was a sign of their genuine concern that they chose the hard way in order to be truthful with me. I also took it that they knew they could be direct because that is the way I am with them.

bhec10's avatar

I show it through charity. If you remember my question on what to cook for 500 people then that is what I do on a weekly basis. Taking 8 hours from my day and giving food to the homeless has taught me so much about what’s really important in life as well as sharing kindness and happiness with those in need.

Shippy's avatar

I think about this a lot. So this question is dear to my heart. I am on various portals on the internet, and people say I come across as ‘hard asse’d’. I get that a lot. Then they ‘meet’ me on cam for example and tell me I am very warm and not at all how they first thought.

I wish I knew how to convey more, gentleness, kindness, and warmth more easily. I think I am more so in person. Sometimes, for example, I will watch someone with a menial job. Like swishing a mop in a public bathroom. I see how people treat this person as invisible. I remember once, when working in a large company, in an equally large building, one of the cleaners hung himself in the lift shaft.

I never forgot that. Every day I would greet every cleaner I’d meet and ask them how they are. Because I feel, one can make a difference to another human beings day. We all go home and think about our day. Some go home alone, and have no one to talk to. So imagine also being invisible during the day also.

Sometimes here too, a person will send me a message wishing me a good day, or ask how I am. I appreciate it beyond words. Its a beautiful question @Hawaii_Jake and your gentle spirit always shines through by the way.

Sunny2's avatar

I listen. I offer an empathetic response to friends and strangers. I thank people for doing their jobs sometimes, like the guy who works cleaning up the park and making it better for all of us. I try to be thoughtful and always consider others. It all comes back to me, in a smile or positive reaction, so, in a way, it’s selfish, but that’s who I wish to be.

hearkat's avatar

@Sunny2: Agreed. My efforts to be sincere include expressing gratitude for as much as I can. I used to be quick to point out faults and flaws, now I try to focus more on what is good that I want to encourage – from extending common courtesies to commending and rewarding good service and hard work.

marinelife's avatar

I try to listen when people talk to me. I try to demonstrate empathy with what they are feeling.

I usually stop for stray or loose dogs (and then try to return them to their owners).

Coloma's avatar

I do my best to be sincere as well. I do not do anything out of a sense of duty or obligation or tradition. I give and share freely without contrivance, but I do not put others before myself anymore. That is codependent.

Well…I do put the needs of my animals before mine, in the sense that they are completely dependent on me for their care, just as children are.
I just spent the morning comforting a friend who had to put down her 24 yr. old cat yesterday.
Her teenage daughter is devastated losing her childhood pet and I just left another message a few minutes ago asking her to be sure and let her daughter know what a loving and brave and mature decision she made to help her kitty pass on and no longer suffer.
I too always stop to help stray animals, give to the homeless and really, the best “kindness” I can share with others is just being my usual silly and comedic self.

I just got in from the doctors for a Rx for a nasty sinus infection I have.
I feel horrible, have a fever, a pounding headache but, I entertained the entire waiting room of 5 other people and had them all laughing. My doctor said he should hire me to do stand up waiting room comedy. :-D
I could be on my death bed and I will still be cracking jokes.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve found, like others, that empathy seems to be one of the kinder acts I can provide. It’s kind of funny to me, because it is natural for me to try to imagine what it is like for someone else, and I really do care about people. Sometimes, of course, I get angry with others, and that makes it really hard to be empathetic, but I hope people will accept that as part of being human. I do get annoyed.

But I try to get over it, and to see it from the other person’s point of view and give them some understanding they haven’t gotten elsewhere. It’s always a great reward when someone tells me they feel understood, or that they’ve been able to tell me something they haven’t told anyone else.

So while it seems more rewarding to me, and kind of selfish, it also seems like people find empathy to be a kindness. That’s weird to me. Like, I think they are being kind by opening up to me, and they think I am being kind by listening to them. But if it works, it works. Let’s not complain. I’m happy that my listening makes them feel good even if I do it because I hunger for other people’s stories. And also I hunger for connection at as deep a level as people are willing to open up to me.

And if they want to hear from me, I am happy to share, too, although I do find that not a lot of people ask. But if they want to listen to me, too, I’m happy to talk for a bit.

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

I have a hard time showing kindness or sympathy through words. I’ll try, of course, and offer a hug, but I’m pretty awkward at it.
One of my talents is baking, and I use that. I like to gift cakes and pies and batches of cookies, and let that action speak for me. I can’t afford to do much else, and I think that the time and effort are more important than the monetary value anyway.

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Bellatrix's avatar

In many ways. It depends on the situation of course. It might be a touch with no words. It may be a smile, a kind word, it might be just listening or giving a hug. It might be by offering practical help or doing something quietly in the background to help someone. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to demonstrate kindness.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I try to tie it to the person. It personalizes it and makes it mean more. It takes a little more effort, but it get’s appreciated more.

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majorrich's avatar

I do a lot of volunteer work. I am a volunteer at a facility that loans out durable medical equipment free of charge. We have a fleet of some 200 wheelchairs. over 600 walkers, shower benches and chairs, bedside commodes, canes, crutches, motorized chairs. It started out in a room in the basement of the Church and has grown into a garage next Door. I foresee us out-growing this facility within the next five to six months. We have even donated a large amount of equipment to another facility. Or mission is to bridge the gap between when a need arises and insurance and/or Medicare pay for permanent equipment for people who have need of these items. We get a lot of donations from people who no longer need things and cash donations to keep the lights going. My experience from my own medical odyssey has helped me to empathize and help clients make informed choices of equipment, and advise people to wait until their PT can make recommendations of what they need.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Through common courtesy, consideration and showing discretion. Sometimes it’s about doing the right thing even if it puts me out of my way a bit and not going on and on about my action.

Coloma's avatar

Well…sick as I am tonight I just bundled up and took my geese their bedtime 12 grain bread treats. Bread before bed, unless you are dead. haha
I also tossed out a big bowl of apple peels for the horses and sheep.
I hope to be reincarnated as an animal that belongs to someone like me. lol

rooeytoo's avatar

For me actions speak louder than words so I try to show kindness by example. That doesn’t work so well in here, but in real life it does. We were recently in touch with an aboriginal boy, man now who lived with us for quite a while. We tried to show him there was another way, we taught him it feels good to be clean and not everyone drinks or drugs. We lost track of him when his family moved to a remote outstation. Now he is back in town and he is such a role model for the younger kids. He is clean and sober and doing well. I am not so arrogant to think it is all because of us, but I do like to think that in a way we helped him not to fall into the path so many choose and lose themselves in the process.

augustlan's avatar

Empathy, touch (from a light touch on the arm to a full-on hug, depending on circumstances), practical help when I can give it, and always: listening.

lillycoyote's avatar

I haven’t read any of the other responses but my answer is: by being kind. It’s really not that complicated, in my opinion.

emersonkelly's avatar

By fulfilling one’s need.

newtscamander's avatar

Hmmm….
I show kindness by showing that I think of the people important to me, and I show kindness by being very forgiving, I rarely hold a grudge when I notice that the other person is genuinely sorry…

bookish1's avatar

I try to show kindness by sharing my time, attention, and food.

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