Finding Kindness in Unexpected Places

Humans are compassionate by nature, but sometimes we need a little reminder.

As the 24-hour news cycle churns out dramatic and often frightening stories, it can lull us into focusing on all the negative things happening in the world. We put blinders on to the great acts of daily kindness that happen around us.

One example of kindness that’s bound to warm your heart: an undercover investigation in Vancouver that took an amazing turn. After a series of robberies of people in wheelchairs in the downtown east side of Vancouver, a cop went undercover and posed in a wheelchair to investigate.

Instead of finding exactly what he was looking for, the police officer discovered the daily compassion that was happening in the downtown east side, despite being known for street drugs, prostitution, and crime.

The dog-eat-dog version of human nature is coming up against new research that suggests humans are actually altruistic and cooperative by nature. In an article for Greater Good Science Center, Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., the founder of GGSC and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses the recent research on pro-social behavior, i.e., actions that promote our mutual well-being:

“Human communities are only as healthy as our conceptions of human nature. It has long been assumed that selfishness, greed, and competitiveness lie at the core of human behavior, the products of our evolution. It takes little imagination to see how these assumptions have guided most realms of human affairs, from policy making to media portrayals of social life.”

For some simple and rewarding ways to cultivate more kindness in your life, check out these 5 ways to develop kindness and generosity.