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Motivate Kindness - What Motivates People to Be Kind

Updated on January 14, 2016
"What ever the reason, the world is a much better place when people are kind to one another."
"What ever the reason, the world is a much better place when people are kind to one another." | Source

What Motivates People to be Kind?

It has been awhile since someone has been randomly kind to me. Of course, I expect kindness from my family and friends who love me, but a total stranger?

I called Brian in a pinch. My daughter’s car was broken down AGAIN and I was unsure of what to do. My finances were strained and then some. Who would expect kindness from a car towing mechanic? But Brian showed just that. He had the part “lying around” and he did the work for free. I cannot explain to you how flabbergast I was – who does this? Brian did and it restored my hope in mankind if only for a day.

And it made me think – what motivates people to be kind? The reasons, says Nickie Isaacs,are numerous and varied”. From making people feel good to the “helper’s high”, Nickie explores why people act in kind ways. If it is not religion or upbringing, “for some people,” says Nickie, “being kind makes them feel as though they are a ‘better person’. This can be very helpful for self-esteem.” Whatever the reason, the world is a much better place when people are kind to one another.

As of late, besides my new mechanic, I’ve read about some kindnesses that truly stand out. Here are four messages about kindness that I just have to pass forward.

"...bringing moms together in support instead of dividing them on one of life’s most intimate decisions."
"...bringing moms together in support instead of dividing them on one of life’s most intimate decisions." | Source

1. I Support You Even if I Do Not Agree With You

Lisa Belkin, Huffington Post, is bringing the sisterhood together on a very controversial topic when she writes, “I Support You: The Conversation We Should Be Having about Breastfeeding and Formula”. Women have been sparring very heatedly on this issue for way too long. The message is, “that ALL mothers need to be supported in whatever way they choose to feed their child.”

The article goes on to say, “The I Support You team has started collecting messages from mothers to each other, photos that say we might lead different lives but we share wanting the best for our children in common.” These slides can be seen online and encourage mothers everywhere to support one another no matter what the feeding method.

As a mom from both sides of the fence, I cannot tell you how hard it was for to quit breastfeeding and take care of my own health after the birth of my fourth child. What a wonderful encouragement this site would have been – bringing moms together in support instead of dividing them on one of life’s most intimate decisions.

"... it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church."  Alan Chambers
"... it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church." Alan Chambers | Source

2. I Was Wrong and I Apologize

In June, Alan Chambers said, “I’m sorry”. People may not have taken any notice, except that Chambers was the 12 year President of Exodus International a non-profit, interdenominational ex-gay Christian organization founded in 1976 that sought to help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires.

"Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person", Chambers said, "yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story."

What is Chambers "own story"? It is that he "conveniently omitted" his own "same-sex attractions"?

Chambers had a change of heart, "... it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church." He realized that being outcast was not the peaceful message he wanted to send. Thus, Chambers took the plunge and bravely said publicly, "I'm sorry, I was wrong" and he shut down the program.

No matter what your belief, kindness in the form of an apology will go a long way when you have harmed someone individually or as a group.

3. You're Hurting and I Empathize With You

According to Psychology Today, ‘Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling”. Showing compassion through empathy is a lost art these days, so sometimes it takes a great person to show the way. George H.W. Bush did just that.

According to a USA Today article, the 41st president's decided to shave his head in solidarity with a 2-year-old leukemia patient – the son of a member of Bush's security detail. Seeing an 89-year old Bush wheelchair-bound, smiling and bald as a cue ball is endearing. Sitting on his lap is the 2-year old leukemia patient, Patrick.

There is more to the story, according to USA Today, in that “Leukemia has special resonance in the Bush family; George senior and wife Barbara lost their infant daughter Robin to the disease in 1953.” He is not just feeling sympathy for his security staff member, he knows because he’s worn those shoes.

4 Lessons Summary

1. I Support You Even if I Do Not Agree With You

2. I Was Wrong and I Apologize

3. You're Hurting and I Empathize With You

4. I Share Because I Care

4. I Share Because I Care

A friend recently told me that she hardly goes to the grocery store anymore. Why? Because, she said, a couple of veternarians near her home opened a farm stand that runs on the honor system. Need organic meat or fresh eggs? Come in 24/7, mark down what you took and leave your money in the cash register. The owners do this because they believe in the healthy food they are selling. They share because they care.

There are many motives behind the kindess of sharing - tax writeoffs, publicity and praise along with the easing of our own guilty, greedy consciences. But sharing because we simply care is truly a kind and noble deed.

Barb Clerici sells produce and eggs on the honor system at her ranch in the Napa Valley. "A lot of people leave more than we request", says Clerici, "along with notes that say they really value what we're doing here".

Why do people value what Clerici and the veternarians are doing? Because they are truly sharing out of the care they have for other people's health and well-being.

How long has it been since someone has showed you random kindness?

See results

REFERENCES

Belkin, L. (2013, August 1). I Support You: The Conversation We Should Be Having About Breastfeeding And Formula. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/i-support-you-breastfeeding-_n_3685881.html

Chambers, A. (2013, June 19). Exodus Int'l President to the Gay Community:. Alan Chambers. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://alanchambers.org/exodus-intl-president-to-the-gay-community-were-sorry/

Empathy. (n.d.). Psychology Today. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from www.psychologytoday.com/basics/empathy

Franklin, D. (2013, June 11). NPR.org » The Psychology Of The Honor System At The Farm Stand. NPR.org. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/11/154750001/the-psychology-of-the-honor-system-at-the-farm-stand

Jackson, D. (2013, July 25). Bald Bush earns presidential praise. USA TODAY: Latest World and US News - USATODAY.com. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/07/25/george-hw-bush-obama-bill-clinton-bald-leukemia/2585921/

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    • carlajbehr profile image
      Author

      Carla J Behr 3 years ago from NW PA

      Thank you, Froggy - I agree

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 3 years ago from Central United States of America

      'Random acts of kindness' are one gentle way of changing the world where we live, if nowhere else. Thanks for your hub.

    • carlajbehr profile image
      Author

      Carla J Behr 3 years ago from NW PA

      Teaches, this is one I really feel strongly about. : ) cjb

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Carla, this is a very touching post and I am moved by your words. I must remember kindness when dealing with others. Although I try to do so regularly, your stories hear add extra emphasis on the practice. Thank you.

    • carlajbehr profile image
      Author

      Carla J Behr 4 years ago from NW PA

      Thank you, Ms. Dora!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      The topic of random kindness crossed my mind today. Reading this article now makes me think even harder on some kindnesses I could do. Your stories tug at the heartstrings. Thank you very much for this presentation!