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  1. #1
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Default Can kindness be taught?

    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?

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    girl with a pretty smile Honor's Avatar
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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?
    I agree for the most part, Giggly. I have read research that suggests that selfishness is actually a biologically determined trait to a certain extent. That is, selfish people experience high levels of inhibitory activity in a certain area of the brain that selfless people do not experience. However, I think it depends on how you define "kindness." There are probably certain types of kindness that can be learned through experience.
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    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    At least in the face of predjudice. I feel strongly that interaction amoungst people of different groups is the really cure to all kinds of discrimination. Exposure leads to seeing people as human and identifying with them

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    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Some people have an instinct for it, and some people don't. But for the most part, kindness is a series of rules and guidelines that you can adapt based on the situation. Anybody can do that, because the rules of kindness generally aren't unreasonable.

    Saying that kindness can't be learned is essentially like saying that cruel people can't be redeemed. And there's been too much evidence to the contrary, throughout history and throughout my own personal experience, for me to believe that.
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    It's more something you have to get a feel for than it is something robotic, in which case it's fake and doesn't even have meaningful substance.

    If you want to express "kindness", make sure it's actually existent within yourself.

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    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    It's more something you have to get a feel for than it is something robotic, in which case it's fake and doesn't even have meaningful substance.

    If you want to express "kindness", make sure it's actually existent within yourself.
    Right.

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    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    It's more something you have to get a feel for than it is something robotic, in which case it's fake and doesn't even have meaningful substance.

    If you want to express "kindness", make sure it's actually existent within yourself.
    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.
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    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    ughh... i just can't believe that...at all.

    i think if the answer is no...i might just prefer not to know that.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I believe that kindness is a choice that people have to make moment to moment everyday. It involves looking outside of our own selves and choosing to meet someone's needs because it is the right thing to do, not always even because someone deserves it, or because we feel like it.

    While I believe that thinking of others may come more naturally to some people than others, any person can consciously make a choice to act with kindness in any given situation. I also think that as we become accustomed to doing so, it affects our own outlook on the people around us. The more you invest in other people, the more you grow to care about them or look for the good in them.

    For those who are very resistant to showing kindness, I've concluded that it usually comes down to a lack of trust in others. While lack of trust is something instilled usually by a person's past experiences, it doesn't serve them well, as it is impossible to become authentically close to anyone, if you cannot trust and cannot be vulnerable with them. Showing kindness requires at least momentary vulnerability. If you are unable to trust other people, you will do anything to avoid feeling that vulnerable, and in fact, may bond to other people in a less vulnerable way, by mocking someone else, bullying them, or making them feel powerless and uncomfortable.

    So while I wouldn't say that a person lacking kindness is predestined to forever be an unkind person, I would say it would take considerable work and effort on the person's part to recognize what interfered with their ability to trust and do the work to rebuild their relationships from the ground up. That is difficult work, as it takes facing a lot of uncomfortable and scary emotions, so most people will find ways to avoid those feelings through alcohol, drugs, work, creating a false image of themselves as protection, through escaping to obsessive gaming, non-confrontational behaviour, becoming controlling, becoming passive-aggressive etc etc. These strategies allow the person to avoid feeling badly enough that action is required, yet those feelings are always present, creating a kind of aggression or anxiety that comes through in less than flattering ways.

    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.

  10. #10
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Good points, @fidelia
    At the very least, a person has to want to be kind in order to be taught kindness.

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