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It can be thankless trying to maintain optimism and kindness in a world so full of hard-nosed individualism. And yet, there are a few people who have examined the circumstances and still find it's worth the bargain.


Because they are relatively few and far between, kind people are full of interesting opinions that we can all learn from--even the kind ones reading here.

A recent Reddit thread asked specifically for the motivations that drive people to remain kind in the face of such a negative world.

Redditor jeev07 asked:

"People who choose to be kind everyday despite not receiving the same kindness back, what motivates you?"

Many were fueled by empathy. They know how common it is to find yourself in a spot where you'd benefit from even the smallest act of kindness.

On the Other Foot

"Because I could be the other person." -- felipebsr

"Today you, tomorrow me." -- scubaguy194

Just One

"Because I know how it feels when you're down and your day/week/month/year just fu**ing sucks, and if there's a chance I can make just one person who feels like that have a better day and feel good for a bit, then it's worth it"

-- PubicAnimeNummerJuan

Worth It

"It just never hurts to be nice. You don't know what people go through or how long it's been since someone said something or did nice for someone, so I do my part to reset the clock on that."

"I remember holding the door for a guy one time when he was like 20 feet behind me, and he was so appreciative that someone did something for him that sounded like he was about to tear up."

"You just never know, so why not be a good person?"

-- FryinGosling

Others found that being kind actually ends up benefitting them as a side effect.

Kind to Others, Kind to Self

"I try not to reproduce behaviour I don't like in other people. Makes me like myself more" -- Grand-Ad4739

"yup, do it for yourself."

"When you live consistent to your values and principles, it builds your self confidence, esteem, and just generally you walk lighter. That's more than enough reason."

"If the only reason you're kind to people is to get something back, you will always only ever be disappointed. Do it for yourself." -- misterandosan

A Clear Pattern

"being unkind makes me feel very guilty immediately lol. even if they 'deserved' it, I just feel kind of angry or upset after, never better" -- lillyko_i

"Tbh for me it takes a lot of effort to be an a**" -- OkTower9298

Staying Open

"You catch more flies with honey. Not saying your motivation to be nice should be to get things out of people, but more opportunities present themselves when you're likeable and people want to be around you."

"You sleep well and have diverse social groups to interact with. And being nice does not mean to let people take advantage of you. Clearly communicate your boundaries and have the other person confirm that they've heard and understand you."

-- DrSpaghetti

A Nuanced Life

"Being kind is so much more powerful, if subtle, than unkindness. It's costs me nothing but a bit of mental gymnastics and for a few moments life isn't terrible."

-- gotogarrett

And a few just couldn't imagine not being kind. They didn't have some clear social motivation, but rather they just felt the whole thing was non-negotiable.

Not A Transaction

"I'm kind because I'm kind, not because other people are" -- The1Real1One

"Yup, this one for me. I just literally don't have it in me to be mean or rude. It's not who I am."

"That said, I have gone on a few rants at people who have treated me badly. Alone, in my car." -- amatchmadeinregex

Principled

"Having ideals means you stick to them no matter what. You have no expectation of getting anything in return. Trying to be a good person is done solely because it's the right thing to do. Not because you think people will like you better or you'll be rewarded."

"Even though being a good person has burned me so many time's, I refuse to let it break my ideals."

-- charlielovesu

Stay Free

"I'd rather put positive vibes out into the world. It feels good." -- stick_a_fork_in_it

"It feels good and it's free. Once I realised that it's free being nice, I do it all the time" -- AfricanWarrior96

For those of you out there feeling worn down and succumbing to negativity, hopefully this list served as a little well-needed jolt of encouragement.

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