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  1. #11
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Definitely. It takes more effort to be kind than not to be kind. In addition, your feelings need to be integrated enough to feel more than one emotion at a time and to be able to see things from more than your own perspective. While that is a natural, organic process given the right "growing conditions", age does not automatically bring about emotional maturity.

  2. #12
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Haven't read any responses yet, but I think that nearly anything can be taught to anyone willing to learn.

    Even if they aren't entirely convinced they're cut out for it, if there is a desire to learn for any reason (selfish or otherwise), strides and improvements will probably be made. Many adults believe themselves to be naturally bad at math, and there's a self-fulfilling prophecy in that where they avoid it outside of necessity and thus miss much of the necessary repetition and interaction math requires for one to be successful at it. I think people who are unkind to people in their lives and around them just tend to hear it a lot, tell themselves it, and then the cycle continues until something makes them want to fix that.

    No, I don't think that a person that's been an asshole their whole lives is going to become a saint or anything. I have, though, met many men that I personally knew to be in ruins (in regard to kindness towards others, and themselves) until they met the woman they were married to--and you could literally see a change in them. Yeah, they were still really assholeish in comparison to someone I would date, but you could see a switch flip in them--they wanted to keep that lady of theirs around, and they really cleaned up their acts and tried hard to put the girl before them as a result. And that's in public--so I'm sure they're much kinder and nicer to the girl in private too.

    It absolutely can be taught. But, like anything, the learner needs to be willing.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    To some yes, but i dont think its easy for an adult, maybe not even possible unless they are really motivated.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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  4. #14
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    If a person is willing to wade through all that though, I believe they can become kind, even if they haven't been earlier in their adult life.
    How does one do this? Where does one even start?
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    I made a thread a while ago asking if empathy can be learned, and I think it can be learned. Now I am asking, can kindness be taught? (to an adult) I don't think it can be taught. I think that is something that is innate. What do you think?
    Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.

  6. #16
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    I think it can be taught by the lessons of life. Some people may never learn, but I believe in eye-opening experiences that might reveal the value of kindness to someone who never "got it" before.

    I imagine someone receiving kindness from someone who shouldn't care about them when they least deserve it and desperately need it.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I know it can

  8. #18
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    How does one do this? Where does one even start?
    I believe it starts with recognizing where the lack of trust stemmed from in the first place. Often people avoid thinking about things that cause them pain (ignoring or minimizing the impact or the opposite extreme - becoming bitter or phobic about it because it becomes built up in their head bigger and bigger).

    Often when those things that have undermined trust happened, the person was vulnerable and felt very powerless. Therefore, by recognizing the full impact of what happened, and bit by bit allowing oneself to look at it, it can get shrunk down to a manageable size and better responses can be chosen. (Long after a person is dead and gone, their words/actions are still impacting the people they affected negatively. Recognizing the factors that made someone act as they did doesn't excuse their actions, but it does make them more human and take away a lot of their godlike power in one's head. The key is for the person to realize that they have more power than they actually believe they do and therefore are capable of dealing with what happened in a proactive way). It is not that the unkind person is always a bad person, but rather that they have unconsciously chosen to protect themselves from ever feeling that vulnerable and powerless again.

    When we follow a course of action or thinking that isn't working for us and we get stuck in it, it creates extreme frustration, which boils over into aggression. When we are able to get "unstuck", then we are free to try new courses of action or thinking that will yield better results.

    To do that, the person must actually look at what isn't working for them, which means going back to the original problem. It requires coming to a place of futility where the person recognizes that what happened was wrong but that they can do nothing to change the past. What they do have control over is how they let that event or that person continue to impact their present or future and also whether their experience can cripple them, or positively impact others by how they respond to it.

    By grieving over it, and then getting to a point where they start following a new course of action that will work better for them, they can develop resilience, and they can become proactive in their own situation. You can't change the set of circumstances you were given, but you can change your reaction to them.

    For a lot of people, it helps them to have someone to talk to about it. For most, they need to develop trust again with someone (preferably in a non-romantic context, as that introduces a whole other layer of complications) and recognize that the responses they adopted in reaction to the original situation are no longer necessary here. At first, it may be easier to begin by learning to love a pet, as it is less vulnerable than loving a person.

    This can be done, but it is usually a process of months or years and it requires willingness to go in and deal with something that is very scary. The longer it has been avoided, the more difficult it is to face. In the end, it often is more of a relief than a terrible ordeal to face it, but it feels like the Monster At the End of the Book before that happens. The fear that is there is not a rational one, but it is a very real one.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I disagree. Kind actions can definitely be taught. Kind feelings perhaps less so, but while feelings without action don't accomplish much, actions without feeling can indeed have the desired effect.
    The heart speaks for character. The hand speaks for action.

    Which value is greater, what's inside versus what manifests is open for questioning.

    I, for one, prefer to look within myself for the answer rather than on results.

    Ultimately, are we idealists or realists?

  10. #20
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    I made a thread a while ago asking if empathy can be learned, and I think it can be learned. Now I am asking, can kindness be taught? (to an adult) I don't think it can be taught. I think that is something that is innate. What do you think?
    Empathy is related to kindness. They are both an extension of one's self toward another. The former with a specific origin, the later possibly without, which is to say that one can be kind without directly relating to the mind of another.
    But the result of a kind act that is not directly related to the mind or state of another, will probably create an empathetic feeling in both parties. They will move toward one another.
    And if emapthy can be learned (and I see no reason why it couldn't be), then there is no reason kindness couldn't as well.
    I think it's more helpful to relate to thease things as 'motion toward' or 'motion away' from another person.

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