An act of kindness is any behavior performed to benefit others, putting them first before you. Specifically, this act must be performed without the expectation of receiving anything in return. The compassion in these acts can make a difference in the world – and it can also fuel inner growth inside you.
Compassion should indeed be performed with an outward focus. If you’re only behaving kindly for the sake of personal gain, then it’s not an actual act of kindness. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate the positive effects that being compassionate can have. Numerous recorded benefits of kindness have made it even more enticing of a trait to develop.
One of those benefits, as mentioned above, has to do with your personal growth. Many people seek to improve themselves and become better people over time. Without consistent and dedicated inner growth, you’ll wind up stagnating in your life’s journey. To be your best self and achieve all your goals, you’ll want to be committed to continual inner growth. Though it can be an uncompromising commitment, it’s very worthwhile in every way!
So, what does kindness have to do with that personal development? As it turns out, being compassionate towards others may improve the person you are. It’s a truly incredible way to be rewarded for acts that genuinely require no reward. That’s all the more reason to start learning kindness today! Here are four ways an act of kindness can help with inner growth.
1. You Fuel Inner Growth By Gaining Perspective
Acts of kindness can open you up to many new perspectives in life. Studies show that one of the reasons your compassion can make you happy is because of broadened viewpoints. It makes sense! By being kind, you often see people when they’re vulnerable, and you learn from what you see. Perspective is a crucial part of inner growth for the following reasons.
When you regularly gain new perspectives, you also learn to apply them to different people. You’re able to understand the many walks of life that people come from. This makes you kinder, more tolerant, and more open to further learning. This empathy can also facilitate stronger bonds that enable you access to even additional perspectives!
· You Gain Other Points Of View
You can expand your horizons by taking in a vast array of different paradigms from people. This can be done whenever you perform an act of kindness for someone new. These new perspectives open your mind and broaden the way you see the world.
· You’re More About Future Possibilities
Direct those acts of kindness towards those who may feel down on their luck. Your simple action could do so much for them. That shifts your perspective and shows you the power that small and meaningful behaviors can have. You’ll be more optimistic about the future when you know that mindful and positive action can change so much in your favor.
2. You Fuel Inner Growth By Developing Positive Emotional Responses
Acts of kindness make others feel good, but they make you feel good, too! You’ll experience more positive thinking, higher levels of happiness, reduced stress, and decreased negativity. Studies have found that altruism links closely to joy. Regular volunteers are likely to feel happier overall!
But what do positive emotions have to do with inner growth? Well, the human brain learns best when it is at peace. Happiness and positivity bring the mental wellness you need to be at your best for learning, growing, and reflecting. Research has also found other relevant benefits, such as:
· Improved Creativity
Being happier can make you more creative, say studies, as your brain has more space and capacity to brainstorm. This allows for unique and exciting approaches to different problems, which can also help decision-making. These factors combined contribute to the ability to better reflect on situations and events for continual personal improvement.
· More Societal Contribution
According to research, happier people are more likely to contribute to society positively. While improved citizenship doesn’t always contribute to personal growth, you can’t deny that they’re often connected. Being a better person to those around you and helping society to progress can impart valuable lessons. Besides, when was the last time you looked at someone doing good for society and didn’t admire the person they’d become?
· Less Risky Behavior
A little bit of risk can be fine, and it can even be necessary for growth. But there’s a difference between calculated risk as measured by your decision-making skills and plain risk-taking behavior. The latter can lead to all sorts of dangerous decisions. If you want to grow as a person, mitigating impulses to take unnecessary and questionable risks is essential. Happiness decreases the frequency of these kinds of actions, say studies. This awareness gives you the chance to stay safe, be more thoughtful, and learn with wisdom.
· Better Financial Health
Research indicates that happiness can lead to wiser financial decisions and fewer frivolous expenses. While not necessarily directly related to inner growth, having a secure financial situation can still be necessary for your journey. If you’re preoccupied with money-related stressors, you can’t strictly focus on your personal development. Plus, financial stability helps invest in your growth. You might want to do so via classes, programs, therapy, or other endeavors, all of which cost money!
When you perform acts of kindness, you get to witness how much power your actions hold. Something that seems small and simple to you can have such a vast and notable effect on those you help. There’s so much strength and confidence that can be built from owning and understanding that power. If small acts that you can do easily do so much, what about big gestures that you put effort behind?
Self-efficacy, which stems from self-confidence, refers to the belief that you can perform various tasks. Acts of kindness can help improve that trait by showing you what you’re able to do with seemingly innocuous behaviors. Experts have long believed that this trait is a significant predictor of success. This outcome happens because self-efficacy:
- Encourages you to set higher goals
- Makes you expect and visualize success
- Helps you regulate negative emotions
- Reduces the chance of your giving up
- Lets you take reasonable risks
- Maintains your motivation
While these reasons can all refer to more material success, they can also refer to personal growth. When you believe you’re capable of significant self-improvement, you’re more likely to hold yourself to a higher standard. This allows you to grow at a stronger and more powerful rate, all thanks to believing in yourself!
Growing as a person brings you several steps closer to your life goals and requires a similar commitment to achieve. So don’t forget that personal growth can be a success that you aim for in life!
4. You Fuel Inner Growth Through Extra Social Interaction
When you help other people, you actively spend time with or around them in some way. Your interactions with them make you feel less lonely and help you get the time to socialize. Studies have found that acts of kindness, such as volunteering contribute to a sense of belonging and better social activity.
Choosing acts of kindness that allow for direct interaction with positive people is ideal for inner growth. This is because of the following reasons:
· You’ll Learn From Other People’s Kindness
When you’re around other people who are kind and cheerful, you get to learn from them. This is a familiar concept of social and psychodynamic psychology. Both schools of thought indicate that you pick up information from those around you, developing a subconscious set of beliefs from these tidbits. Essentially, being around good people increases the likelihood that you’ll be good, too. You’ll see them grow and fuel your inner growth, too.
· You’ll Make Better Choices
When you’re around other people, you subconsciously expect them to hold you accountable to some degree. This means that you’ll be more motivated to make good choices and prove yourself to them. This is why group efforts are often more effective than solo ones, as research shows! When you’re all working together to be kind and to learn and grow, you’ll motivate each other to do so.
· It’s Just How We’re Wired
Human beings are social creatures by nature. From the get-go, human beings have formed communities to foster and support each other. It is in these communities that people grow, learn, and are exposed to things that help them in life. Simply put, people are not meant to be isolated. They know best around others. That’s just how it is!
Compassion is a valuable and beautiful trait that is selfless, loving, and caring. When you are kind, you’re able to help those around you, and you often feel good about yourself after the fact. The additional bonus to your inner growth is even more of a reward, even when you reach the point where you find kindness itself to be its reward!
Do you worry that you might not be that kind of a person? Don’t worry! Compassion can be learned and developed over time. Better yet, it’s something that breeds itself. The kinder you are, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the more you want to be kind. If you dedicate yourself to learning to be compassionate, you can certainly achieve that goal. One great way to start is with acts of kindness.
There are many ways that you can perform acts of kindness. You can give compliments to loved ones and friends. You can volunteer or donate to a charity. Or you can take on extra tasks at home to help those you live with. Perhaps you can offer someone a kind, listening ear or offer help to an acquaintance. All of these simple acts can be done at home or close to home, making kindness incredibly accessible to all! You can start today and hone your traits in no time!
Remember, of course, that you have to be kind to yourself, too. While acts of kindness are lovely, you shouldn’t be performing them to the point where you harm yourself.
One final thing to consider when you’re trying to fuel inner growth. Getting burned out on compassion isn’t something that you’ll want to happen to you. To maintain positive thinking about kindness and take care of yourself, also remember to direct your compassion inward!