Kindness – A Deviant Trait?

I’m sure you all know what kindness means.  If not, here is the definition from

– the state or quality of being kind: kindness to animals.

– a kind act; favor: his many kindnesses to me.

– kind behavior: I will never forget your kindness.

– friendly feeling; liking.

Some synonyms to kindness include: thoughtfulness, consideration, understanding, benevolence, and forbearance.

Deviant is defined as being different, unique or strange.

This article is about kindness and how it seems to be a deviant trait in today’s society.  I do realize that there are some really great people still out there, but due to my personal experiences, it seems that kindness has become odd in today’s world. Being kind should not even be thought about.  It should just be done.  We should be kind to everybody.  It’s obvious that not everybody is going to be kind to us, but it’s important for us to not allow somebody else’s lack of character hinder our own.

As a martial arts instructor, kindness is extremely important in my book.  Although I was always brought up to be kind and thoughtful, the martial arts have assisted me on my journey through life to accomplish that task.  To me, it’s a part of me.  I also want that in my students.  Kindness means everything.  My students learn to be kind verbally, and to due random acts of kindness.

I will share two personal stories with you that shocked me.  The first one occurred several months ago.  I was walking into the local country fair.  As I approached the glass door I could see that a woman–probably in her mid-forties–was approaching the door from the inside, which immediately told me that she was on her way out.  As a normal thing that I do everyday, I pulled the door open for her and waited for her to come out before I went in.  She walked through the door with a smile on her face and said, “Thank-You!” I said, “You’re Welcome!”

After she walked through the door and I was about to head in, she stopped walking, turned around and said, “You know, there aren’t very many people around like you!”  I said, “Isn’t it sad?”  She agreed.  Just the simple kind act of holding a door for this woman really made her day.  I was shocked.  It was just a simple act of kindness.

My second story has to do with another normal act of kindness on my part.  At least three times per week I go to my favorite place to eat lunch in my hometown (Bradford, Pa), Togi’s restaurant.  Togi’s has great people, great service, and awesome food.  The best soups I have ever tasted.  While there about two months ago, this distraught couple came into the place.  They had to be upper thirties, lower forties in age.  They came from out of town and needed to make an emergency phone call.  Because Togi’s doesn’t have long distance, they couldn’t use the phone their.  This couple was clearly stressed and didn’t know what to do.

I told them that they could use my cell phone.  They could not believe that I was going to do that for them.  They thanked me profusely, made the call, and offered to buy me a drink.  I told them no thank you.  They asked if they could at least pay me a few dollars for doing this.  Once again, I declined.  I told them that I was just doing what everybody else in the world should do–help out someone in need.  They then ate lunch and as they were eating, my phone rang.  The person they had called needed to talk with them so I walked over handed them the phone and after a five minute conversation, the fellow gave me my phone back and apologized for that person calling my phone.  I told him it was not an issue and to have a great day.  They still insisted on doing something for me, even to the point to where they were trying to get the waitress to convince me to allow them to do something.

I look at this situation as being sad, because clearly, they arenot used to kind people.  They did tell me that they asked three different people to help them and they were all rude.  I offered–they didn’t ask.  I think it’s pathetic that everybody automatically feels obligated to give something in return when a kind deed is done.  I know it’s natural to feel that way, but true kindness comes from not wanting anything in return.

I challenge you to open your heart to being kind all the time, if you are not already.  Kindness can change the world, but it starts with you.

“If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.”  ~Bob Hope

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.”  ~Jesse Jackson

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”  ~Author Unknown

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ” ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.”  ~Author Unknown

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  ~Dalai Lama

About the Author:

Michael Miller is an expert in self-defense, personal protection, personal development, and fitness.  He currently holds a 4th degree black belt in American Kenpo (one of the leading systems of self-defense), and also studies and teaches boxing, kickboxing, Joe Lewis Fighting Systems and Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu.  He has been featured several times in Inside Kung-fu and Black Belt magazines as an authority in his field.  He can be reached through his web site at, through e-mail at or phone at 814-368-3725.