24 Character Strengths: Kindness

We are all unique and we all have strengths which allow us to contribute to the world. In the early 2000’s, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson developed the VIA Character Strengths. Their research determined that there are 24 common character strengths that each of us possess to one degree or another, giving us a common language to use, but still recognizing that each of us is unique.


Each of these Character Strengths fall under one of six broad categories called Virtues. These Virtues and Character Strengths have proven to be universal across cultures and nations. Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of the 24 strengths that we all share, yet make you uniquely you!

Next we will look at the Virtue of Humanity, which brings together those strengths used in one-on-one relationships with others.



The Character Strength of Kindness is what you might expect, being nice to others. Kindness brings together a generosity of spirit, compassion, being present and doing for others without any need for reciprocity. Kind people truly believe in doing for others because of deeply held altruistic beliefs. For them, it isn't about being recognized, rewarded or even acknowledged. Performing an act of kindness is valued for the sake of doing it and not out of any ulterior motive.


The absence of Kindness looks like indifference or a lack of caring for others. It's opposite is cruelty or intentionally harming another. In excess it can be intrusive to the point where acts are taken on whether the recipient desires it or not. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Kindness in ourselves and in others. Expressing Kindness is a natural state of being that we can all tap into.


How kind are you? Consider some of the ways you have expressed Kindness in different situations. Also consider situations where you may have chosen not to be kind. How does each situation make you feel? For most people, being kind just feels good and kind people have been shown to be happier, more likable and have more meaningful relationships. How can you find ways to be kind to those around you? You might trying actively looking for kinder ways to interact with people, smile more or perform random acts of kindness. Be kind and watch how your life changes!



If you would like to learn more about Kindness and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.


https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/