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Being Too Kind?

Serena Mao

It’s universally accepted––almost obvious––that one should be kind to others. This means putting others first, going out of your way to do favors, and avoiding selfish actions. Indeed, it is often hard for many to be conventionally nice, as human nature dictates that one’s own self comes before others. When we are younger, our parents often tell us to share our food, or help out others with our own time just because it isn’t exactly instinctual to care overly about others’ needs over our own.

Unfortunately, being on the other side of the spectrum can also be damaging. Some people are excessively kind, placing their own interests far behind those of others. Ironically, they are more heavily impacted by the effects their actions have on others than they have on themselves, thus making helping others technically “self-interested.” Regardless of the paradoxical nature of this selflessness, focusing too much on others and their emotions can detrimentally take away from our own well beings.

The reason human instinct typically aligns with the “survival of the fittest” mindset is to keep our own welfare in mind. You are the best person to govern yourself, and there is no guarantee that anyone else will be concerned about you, so therefore you should put yourself first. Having too little respect for your own time, emotions, or health in exchange for being constantly pushed over by others is thus unambiguously damaging. Agreeing to everything others request or shifting large parts of your life around to accommodate your peers damages yourself and your ability to assist others in the future. In fact, it has even been proven that people who reject the unreasonable requests of others rather than accepting every request thrown at them are more respected in society. Although it is important to be kind, it should always come after ensuring that you have your own responsibilities, obligations, and necessities sorted out.

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