Motives for kind actions:

  • You feel their pleasure by empathising (I think this is the most pure motive)
  • You are able to boost your sense ofself worth.
    • Define yourself as a “good person”. – This always stems from insecurity.
    • Following your philosophical principles (religious, humanist etc.). (also a good motivation in my view).
  • You want them to give you something. Money (directly or indirectly), trust, acceptance, love, sex, opportunities. This drive for self gain could be relatively harmless to others or come in the form of manipulation.


Why does this matter? A kind action is a kind action regardless of the intentions behind it the outcome is the same.

I guess it says something about a person’s character. Many people are ego based in their motivations. They will be kind to get things out of people to fulfil ego driven desires that they have probably been carrying around since childhood.

Examples of kindness driven by the wrong motivations:

  • One who showers kindness with the ego centric motive to feel loved and accepted.
  • One who is more interested in creating the perception of being kind than in the kindness itself. Battling their low sense of self worth by being kind so that they are able to define themselves as a “good person” – it will be very important to them that others are aware of these kind actions consider them a “good person”.
  • One who is kind as a conscious manipulative ploy to get something from someone.

A more developed person will be kind because they really feel the happiness within others through empathising. Their actions will also be based on strong principles of how they believe they should live. They will almost never use kind actions as a tool for getting things out of people because they will know that good things will flow their way just be being kind in general since everyone loves kind people.

So thinking on it more, we always get something out of being kind to others. We always get something positive out of everything we do otherwise we wouldn’t do them; whether it be something material or fulfilling some kind of abstract philosophical belief.

I guess to me this matters when determining what place a person should have in my life. I respect those who are more “pure” and “egoless” in their motivations.

  1. M-R said:

    And so you should !

  2. An interesting post! I guess I’ve never given it much thought. I was raised to be kind, mind my P’s and Q’s, I guess it’s just part of me now. Another example: I never smiled much and I got into work where I was dealing with public. Also, ended up posing for a lot of photos so started to fake smiles. Now smiling is just part of me, I’m not faking it anymore… No doubt different things motivate different people – I will have to give this more thought.
    Diana xo

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