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How to Train Yourself to Be a Kind Person

Make Somebody Smile

Make Somebody Smile

Five Steps to Becoming a Kind Person

Anyone can do a kind deed here and there but what does it take to become a kind person? In order to learn how to be kind you have to learn the basics. Become a keen listener and a conscientious observer. Have a sympathetic/empathetic heart and be eager to lend a helping hand. In addition, you have to be generous and sincere. That all sounds pretty easy; and, it is; but, it takes practice to get good at it; and, it may even take some practice to become sincere.

First of all, don't knock yourself out trying to be nice all of the time. It's highly unlikely that any human being has ever accomplished that task. Everybody has bad days where they can't focus on anything other than what makes them feel indifferent, depressed, or angry. They, also, have great days where they can't focus on anything other than what makes them feel good, happy, or proud.

On the bad days, try to find ways to make yourself feel better; but, remember it's important not to be mean to anyone else either. On those days, not being mean might be the kindest thing you can do. Keep to yourself if you have to. In addition, if someone needs something from you while you're basking in your happiness, don't beat yourself up if you feel you weren't as attentive as you "should have" been.

There's no rule that says you have to brush your happiness aside to be kind to others. Enjoy your moment and make up for it later with a kind gesture to accommodate whatever the person needed or to offer another solution or to talk about it. After you get the basics down, being kind will become second nature to you, maybe even first.

Step One - How to Listen without Distractions

1. Become a keen listener.

For most people, hearing comes pretty easy; the listening part is where things tend to fall apart. Usually, when one person is speaking, the person they are speaking to is thinking about what they want to say. As a result, the listener may have caught a few key words of what the other person said and can usually piece together the gist of what it was about but they don't have a clear understanding for full participation in the conversation.

While you're having a conversation with someone, the best way to begin to overcome a habit of hearing but not listening is to listen as though you will be quizzed on what was said afterward. At first, this may feel uncomfortable to you. You may even feel like you're cheating somehow. Hang in there and those feelings will fade away. Eventually, listening with your full attention will add much more substance to the conversation and bring more meaning to your response. More importantly, it will become natural to you.

Step Two - How to Become More Aware of How Someone Feels

2. Become a conscientious observer.

In order to help somebody feel better, or more comfortable, or when they need comforting, you need to be able to recognize the signs that they welcome your aid and you need to figure out in what way you can help. Look at the big picture. Paying attention to body language and facial expressions play an important role in helping us understand what we see on the surface and what lies beyond it. Most people have an innate ability to read other people by watching their body movements or by looking at the faces they make.

However, many people block out the opportunity to acknowledge what they witness because they may be too busy; or, they may not want to face the truth; or, in the moment, they don't recognize the significance of the matter; or quite commonly, their inhibitions may keep them from reaching out. Don't let fear stand in your way of doing the right thing. Own up to your instincts; and then, examine your reaction or inaction to them. Are there current outside influences that made you see what you seen in a person, situation, or thing? Or, does your vision have deeper roots that may or may not have relevance in the here and now? Why did you act or fail to act?

In essence, trust that your instincts are trying to tell you something but question what exactly it is that you need to take from them in order to have a more complete grasp on the reality of what is. Being aware of the intricate details of what you see and perceive will help you distinguish what it is you can do to make somebody's day a little bit brighter.

However, if an encounter appears to be dangerous, think of ways that you may help from afar. After you have conquered the art of looking inward, branch out and look for the good, the bad, and the ugly around you; and, when you find it, take action to make it better, more bearable, or beautiful.

Homeless Woman and Child

Homeless Woman and Child

Step Three - How to Put Yourself in Someone Else's Shoes

3. Have a sympathetic and an empathetic heart.

Now that you've learned how to become a keen listener and a conscientious observer, it's time to get down to the heart of the matter. In order to feel sympathy or empathy for someone, you have to feel compassion. The difference between the two is that with empathy your compassion begins in your soul and goes beyond sorrow. You internalize the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of somebody else.

For example, you are being sympathetic when you see a homeless woman sitting in the cold with her child and you compassionately think, "How sad; she must be cold." You kindly offer her a cup of coffee and go about your day. However, when you see a homeless woman sitting in the cold with her child and you notice the despair in the mother's face. You imagine what it must be like for them, and you imagine what this mother must be thinking, "I wish I had money to get a room for my child tonight," and you picture yourself sitting there freezing, all the while feeling the coldness in your bones and the harsh wind on your cheek hoping that your child doesn't become ill, even though, in actuality you're looking at them through the window of a warm car; then, you are empathizing with them.

You may even offer to put them up for the night or longer if need be. In order to be a kind person, you will have to have a good measure of both sympathy and empathy. However, no act of kindness is too small.

Step 4 - How to Become Better at Giving

4. Be generous and eager to lend a helping hand.

The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your time. However, in this fast paced world, giving up your free time (if you have any) may feel more difficult than it would feel to hand over your checkbook. The good thing about being generous is that you don't have to have any money to do it. While donations to charities are helpful and demonstrate the kindness of their patrons, many people can barely afford to get by.

They may not be able to squeeze apple juice out of oranges, but they can wiggle some time out of their busy schedules to give help to those in need. Volunteering is an excellent way to learn the importance of generosity. If you don't have the means to get to volunteer sites, you could always offer to help the elderly in your area, or to help tutor kids at your local library.

Often, the volunteer gets more from the experience than what they give. More importantly, the recipients of your charity, usually, have a need met that otherwise may not have been and most of the time their gratefulness is written all over them.

Lend A Helping Hand

Lend A Helping Hand

Step 5 - How to Become More Real in Your Interactions with Others

5. Be sincere.

Look for the good, whether it be in a person, a thing, a situation or the solution. Find something that you can share that will lift the person's spirit. This is not to say that their spirit has to be down in the first place. They could be having a fine day and you may be able to lift their spirit even higher by bringing up something good that you see. Sometimes, when people share their troubles with you, they don't want advice, or solutions at that moment. They may only want to be heard, get it off their chest, or to be comforted.

Therefore, it's important to listen with a keen ear, respond accordingly, decide or ask whether there is anything you could say or do to help. Honesty is key; however, there is no need to be brutally honest. Usually, you can avoid making hurtful comments by offering heartfelt suggestions or solutions or by getting involved to bring about the changes to eliminate the problem.

Don't forget that most people have an inborn sense when "something's not right." If you lie, they will feel it. Trust grows over time but when it's broken it takes a long time to rebuild. When you give wholeheartedly, your kindness has the potential to build their self-confidence, self-reliance, and overall respect and admiration in mankind.


Animals Need Kindness Too!

Being kind to people while also being mean to animals disqualifies a person from being a kind person. Animals have feelings, too; and if you are not "an animal person" the kindest thing you could do is to leave them for people who will give them the love and care they deserve.

If you want to get a pet, read up on their characteristics and be sure they fit into your lifestyle beforehand. Fostering a pet before you adopt one reduces the risk of them being treated unkindly. If you decide having a pet is not for you, you simply, find it a better home or bring it back to the shelter. Instead of having a pet, you could donate to an animal shelter, if you have the means to do so. If you have pets, recognize that they have feelings and treat them with respect and care.

Reach Out and Make a Difference

Some people and animals experience little or no kindness in their lives. You can see it in their eyes and in the way they pull away from others. Whether person or animal, if you listen, you can hear it in their voices. Think about what it feels like to be them. Reach out and show them that you care. Let them know that kindness is not just a word.


VioletteRose from Atlanta on April 04, 2014:

That's a beautiful hub :)

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on December 24, 2012:

All good advice and being kind can make you feel good too:)

H Lax (author) on December 22, 2012:

Magdelene, you bring up a good point. People often act and then regret their actions and sincerely wish they could take back what they have done. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Magdelene from Okotoks on December 22, 2012:

'Think about what it feels like to be them.' This is where I always stop before I react. I can't say that my actions have always been grand but when I do a wrong I will recognize it and ask for forgiveness from the depths of my heart. Sometimes you wonder, do I forgive too much? Then you remember that God said we need to forgive and move on.

ologsinquito from USA on December 20, 2012:

Great works to live by, especially for the Christmas season, and for all the rest of the year too.

H Lax (author) on December 20, 2012:

I know, wouldn't the world be so much more wonderful! Maybe it will get some people motivated! We can hope, right? Thanks for reading and commenting!

H Lax (author) on December 20, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting. Your kindness is appreciated. And thanks for the up vote!

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on December 20, 2012:

IF everyone followed your advice what a beautiful world. We are given so much and yet we don't share our joy and our gifts. We have allot to give and we were designed to give.

Beautiful hub - thank you for training us. We are all trainable but we need the leadership you have provided. Thank you!

vibesites from United States on December 20, 2012:

Yes, I agree... kindness begets kindness... and everything will be easier. :)

Ms. Immortal from NJ on December 20, 2012:

Great information, 5 things we should practice every day. You are right there is no act of kindness is to small.

voted up.

H Lax (author) on December 20, 2012:

Thanks vibesites for reading and commenting...you're right it does take dedication but it's not hard to do if you're motivated to have that kind of integrity behind you and after you get through the steps it's not hard to keep up with because most being kind often releases endorphins that energize people.

vibesites from United States on December 20, 2012:

Thanks for your great hub on simple kindness steps. Sounds easy to follow but if you think about it, it really needs a lot of dedication in doing it. Thanks again.. voted up and useful.

H Lax (author) on December 20, 2012:

Wow moonlake that was really awful of her to freak out like that. I'm glad she realized just how awful it was and lightened up. Thanks for reading and for the comments. I agree with you that patience helps people be more kind.

moonlake from America on December 20, 2012:

Great hub. While shopping one time my car wouldn't start. A nice young man stop to help. While he was helping me he had to pull his car into part of a parking space. This woman came by and wanted that space and she started screaming at him. I finally had to step up and explain to her what was going on. She stopped then and seem to be embarrassed. Why would she be that unkind in the first place? I think part of being kind is learning to have lots of patience.

Enjoyed your hub and you are so right about everything.

Voted up and shared.

H Lax (author) on December 17, 2012:

Thank you lovedoctor. I appreciate your support.

lovedoctor926 on December 17, 2012:

Excellent hub. voting and sharing this

H Lax (author) on December 17, 2012:

Thank you dwachira, your kindness put a smile on my face. I really appreciate you reading, commenting, voting, and sharing too! I'm glad you liked it.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on December 17, 2012:

Hi HoneyBB,

Just the kind of articles that really suit this holiday and x-max season, kindness will go a long way to make wonderful moments. I like the aspect of volunteering, even if we may not have anything to donate, sparing a few hours in volunteering work is more than enough. Great article, voted up, useful and shared.

H Lax (author) on December 14, 2012:

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Bruce from Chicago, Illinois on December 14, 2012:

This is very good - I need these reminders so thank you very much!

H Lax (author) on December 01, 2012:

Thank you btrbell, I really appreciate the time you took to read my article. And, I appreciate your comments and votes too. I hope it helps some people to try a little harder to be kinder.

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on December 01, 2012:

Perfect hub, best advice! So often we forget the, seemingly simple things, in favor of the grand gestures. Thank you for bringing them to the forefront! Up++++l

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 01, 2012:

This is surely the best five steps to be taken in order to become a kind person, perfectly stressed and demonstrated. Meanness should never be part of our make-up, even while we feel like being mean just to get rid of our frustration. I really don't like unfriendly people, not to talk about mean people relieving themselves of negative feelings by being nasty and rude to others. Not that I am completely innocent. When confronted by mean people, I am very able to be more mean and nasty than they. In fact, I can seldom resist the temptation to wash the floor with them.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 01, 2012:

Voted up and awesome. All it takes is kindness and compassion. It would be a great world if everyone loved one another and there was no hate. Passing this on.

Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on November 30, 2012:

This is great, I can always use a good way to learn how to do anything better!

H Lax (author) on November 30, 2012:

H.O.W. 101 LOL!

Joseph De Cross from New York on November 30, 2012:

What can I add? I will copy those five steps down behind my lap top or computer, and in my wallet. This is getting better by the day. Feels like I'm taking sociology classes all over again. Thanks Honey BB!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 30, 2012:

I like that, Honey! you are a good person.

H Lax (author) on November 30, 2012:

Thanks billybuc, Did I leave out love...lol? Sometimes when something's so much a part of who you are, you forget to mention it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 30, 2012:

I wholeheartedly agree with all five...bravo! I might add...do all things with love! :)

H Lax (author) on November 21, 2012:

OMG...I can't wait! Turkey is my favorite and I make myself wait all year for it...lol. Happy Thanksgiving, Ken.

Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on November 21, 2012:

And to you Honey. Enjoy your gobblin'.

H Lax (author) on November 21, 2012:

Thank you for the wise addition to my feelings and for the kind words. Happy Thanksgiving!

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on November 21, 2012:

Kindness and niceness are undervalued traits IMO. I've found one way to encourage myself to be kinder to others is to learn to be kind to myself, too. Positive self-talk, those thoughts that we have running through our minds about ourselves is a good first step to extending kind thoughts and actions to other.

Great hub; voted up and Shared.

H Lax (author) on November 14, 2012:

Ken, I'm glad you came across this at a good time for you. I hope it's helpful. You've always been so kind to me; I can't imagine you needing it but I guess we all need a refresher here and there. I enjoy our mutual admiration society too; it makes me smile!

Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on November 14, 2012:

Honey: very timely for me, and worthwhile for anyone. I enjoy our mutual admiration society. Ken

H Lax (author) on November 06, 2012:

Thanks for responding Sherry, and I agree that people often go through the motions, a lot of times I think it's because we all get so busy it gets hard to spread yourself out so thin.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 05, 2012:

This hub makes me think more deeply about what it means to be kind. I especially like #5- Be sincere, I think a lot of times people just go through the motions.

Elena from London, UK on November 05, 2012:

That was beautiful to read. Being kind should come naturally, but some people have it more in them than others. I think that's because maybe they have been hurt badly before.

I love this Hub and it will help many reach out again. It's a beautiful feeling being kind to people... and even more to those who appreciate it.

Thanks for making the world a better place.

H Lax (author) on November 02, 2012:

Thanks Hyphenbird, I don't know if that statement is coming across the way I meant; I will have to look into it and see if I can rewrite it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I have written the staff and I am still waiting for a reply. I am so upset by it that I cannot even concentrate on anything else. They also took away my Start Great Conversations accolade. I am puzzled. I'm sure something I said must have been taken out of context. I have been reading the moderation rules and noticed that you can't add links to pages most of the forum. I did post a link to a HubPages Staff page to try to help people in one of the forums understand what happens when their hubs are idle....that might be why they blocked me but I still don't understand why they would take away my accolade. It makes the whole idea of getting them pointless. It took away my excitement.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on November 02, 2012:

One at a time, we can change the world. Every single act of compassion and kindness softens one's heart and makes it look for new opportunities. May every human being learn such simple yet powerful lessons.

I do disagree on one point you wrote. "On the bad days, it's okay not to be kind; but, it's important not to be mean either." I believe on bad days, it is even more important to be kind when we are in difficult times because we also need kindness then.

I have never heard of someone being blocked from leaving comments. That is so odd. Have you sent an email to the staff asking why? You have always been very nice whenever I see your comments here on HP.

H Lax (author) on November 01, 2012:

Thank you teaches; I only hope that more people want to learn how to become kind or more kind. I have been blocked from leaving comments for at least 21 more hours at least of other people's hubs. I don't have a clue what I said wrong and nobody sent me a notice saying why. I hope I didn't offend anyone. Maybe I need to take my own advice.

Dianna Mendez on November 01, 2012:

Five wonderful tips that will make the world of difference to so many people.

H Lax (author) on October 31, 2012:

Thank you fpher for your kind words and the up vote! I appreciate the time you took to read it!

Suzie from Carson City on October 31, 2012:

Honey....This is so sweet and I couldn't agree with your "tips for being a Kind person," more. This is extremely well-written and you've covered pretty much the entire concept. You're so right in all that you say here, honey. Thanks for sharing this important topic1..UP+

H Lax (author) on October 31, 2012:

Yes, it would Stormy! What a wonderful place it would be!

Ethan Blaze on October 31, 2012:

If everybody would practice these five things, the world would be a better place to live in :)

H Lax (author) on October 30, 2012:

Thanks Mhatter for reading. I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way. I hope you find more kindness in your life.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on October 30, 2012:

Good advise, thank you. I learned this the hard way. I expected people to perform at my level. I learned we are all different glasses.

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