You undoubtedly have at least a couple of big-hearted people in your life. These folks radiate kindness and compassion, and are known for being wonderful people in general.
We’re not sure whether you’ve noticed this or not, but many (if not most) big-hearted individuals tend to have a number of traits in common. Below are some of the main ones that these absolute treasures tend to share.
1. They are the helpers.
Do you remember Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood? He would often tell his audience: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
These helpers might be teachers or healthcare professionals, or they might simply be friends and neighbors who are always willing to lend a hand. They’re the altruistic souls; the lightworkers who dedicate themselves to leaving this place better than how they found it.
People with big hearts are often the first to extend a helping hand wherever it’s needed. Is there a seriously ill community member who needs assistance? Then the helper will be the one who steps up to organize meal trains and childcare.
2. Many have been through great difficulty.
Many big-hearted people have experienced significant difficulty in their lives. Whether they discuss the old hurts in their eyes or not, you’ll know they’ve been through severe hardships based on how they react toward others.
As a result of everything they’ve been through, they often go out of their way to alleviate others’ suffering. They might not talk about the awful things they’ve experienced, but instead turn their efforts toward ensuring that others don’t go through the same things they have.
They’ll also have a lot of good advice to share about how to avoid certain situations, or how to handle various difficulties if and when they arise. A perfect example of this is a grandparent (or great-grandparent at this point) who lived through World War II. They undoubtedly had a ton of great advice to share on everything from cooking frugal meals to home defense and preparedness.
3. They show kindness and generosity without expectation.
Many people with big hearts have either “acts of service” or “gift-giving” as their primary love language. These folks would (and often do) give others the clothes off their backs if they’re in need. They often lavish their friends and loved ones with gifts, whether purchased or homemade. In fact, they often love to grow and make things simply to give them to others.
These are the people who’ll show up at your door with a dozen jars of home-canned preserves and fresh garden produce. They’ll knit you holiday gifts and write sweet letters by hand simply because they know how lovely it is to receive them.
You’ll find these big-hearted people just about everywhere, though they often gravitate toward jobs and volunteer opportunities where they can put efforts toward the greater good. They like non-profit organizations, religious organizations, community outreach, and other endeavors that allow them to help in many different ways.
4. They lift others up instead of putting them down.
One thing you’ll notice about most big-hearted people is that they’re always speaking well of others. While some folks are quite critical and always have something mean to say, big-hearted people always see the good in others – even when they have trouble seeing it in themselves.
Furthermore, they’re quick to extend compliments and encouragement, even to complete strangers. They’re the ones who will yell out how wonderful someone’s hair looks, or tell a child that the artwork they’re creating made them feel happy. They know what it means to receive a kind word, so they’re very generous with doling them out.
5. They are protective and caring, particularly toward the vulnerable.
You’ll often find that big-hearted people are stalwart protectors of the vulnerable. While some like to take a hands-on approach, such as pursuing a career in elder care, others will work more behind the scenes.
The type of work they’ll do will often depend on their personality type. For example, an INFP who’s very gentle and nurturing might dedicate their lives to volunteering at overseas orphanages. In contrast, an ISFJ might get a law degree specifically to champion human rights.
These people often do everything they can to help those who are suffering. They’ll use their individual skills in the best way possible, and make countless lives better in the process.
On that same note…
6. They’re prone to adopting/rescuing others, whether animal or human.
Big-hearted people often open their homes to others. They might adopt or foster children and animals, or take in friends who need a place to stay. Some even open their doors to complete strangers simply because they can.
Their homes are bastions of calm in a scary, stormy world, and are often decorated in soothing hues and comforting textures. Those who are hurting find solace in big-hearted people’s arms, and inevitably find that their lives vastly improve thanks to the love and support they receive.
7. They have incredible amounts of patience.
You’ll find an extraordinary number of big-hearted people working in education, healthcare, and social work.
Even if these people aren’t social workers or caregivers, they’ll exhibit similar levels of gentleness and patience toward others. Especially children, or those who are disabled, dealing with trauma, or otherwise working through difficulties.
Their patience wells never seem to run dry, and those who struggle are often calmed by their very presence.
8. They are immensely forgiving.
Basically, they seek to understand why others behave the way they do. Instead of knee-jerk reactions such as anger and retaliation, they’ll take the time to listen to explanations. As a result, they’ll give second, third, and fourth chances to people whom others would have given up on a long time ago.
This can be both a blessing and a curse to them, however. Many people will mess them around and take advantage of their loving natures. Alternatively, others who have trust issues will be able to blossom with their love and care – often having the opportunity to become the people they were always meant to be, simply because someone refused to give up on them.
9. They often have an easier time expressing emotion.
Many people keep their emotions tightly under wraps, especially when it comes to expressing how they feel about others. They can be quite reserved, and only open up when they feel “safe” to do so.
In contrast, big-hearted people tend to be very emotionally demonstrative. They’re the first to scoop their beloved friends into big bear hugs, or express their love and gratitude effusively. They’re quick to cry, even quicker to laugh, and seem much more comfortable being vulnerable and open with their feelings.
10. They are good-spirited, even in the most difficult circumstances.
As mentioned before, big-hearted people often try to spare others from any kind of suffering. This also includes refraining from dumping their difficulties onto those around them. Even when and if they’re going through ninety shades of pain themselves, they’ll maintain a positive spirit and great sense of humor all the way through.
When a close friend of mine was in hospice care, dying of breast cancer, one of the last things she did was call me on my birthday. She left me a ridiculous message full of terrible jokes – still trying to make me laugh despite the pain she was in.
That’s the kind of thing that a big-hearted person does: they’ll try to diminish their own pain to spare others their own hurt.
11. They have a tendency to self-sacrifice.
If you know a few big-hearted people, you’ve probably noticed that they often work themselves into the ground. They do so much for so many that they tend to neglect their own needs and wants. Self-care takes a backseat to being in service to others.
Some might not eat until all their family members and animal friends (domestic and wild) have been fed. They’ll be the last to go to bed and the first to wake so as to ensure that all household needs are taken care of. Many who work in nonprofits or charities will work late into the night for weeks at a time.
Quite often their health will suffer because they’re utterly burnt out, but they don’t give up. They just keep going, fighting the good fight.
12. They remember things that are important to others.
Big-hearted people remember little details that others might brush off as insignificant. Not only will these folks often remember your birthday without a calendar reminder, but they’ll also remember that you love that particular snack that can only be found in a little shop in Oregon for one week out of the year. So they’ll make sure to stock up so as to surprise you.
Same goes for other details about your life. They’ll remember the details that may trigger you and try to protect you whenever possible, or have taken note of the songs that you love to dance to the most. They’ll know your literary and food preferences, which TV series you adore, and which ice cream flavors to avoid.
Basically, if something is important to you, then it’s important to them too.
13. They have bundles of integrity.
Big-hearted people are often brushed off as being overly soft or sentimental, but that’s usually quite far from the truth. It’s a lot harder to be kind and forgiving than it is to be cruel and dismissive. These people tend to have immense strength of character, and can keep going long after others have crumpled.
Furthermore, big-hearted people tend to have incredible courage in their convictions. Other big talkers might cave at the slightest bit of pressure, whereas big-hearted folks will take a stand simply because it’s the right thing to do.
14. They truly care, rather than just pretending to.
A lot of people out there go above and beyond to show how much they care about various causes. They’ll blog about their charitable donations, post tons of photos on social media when they do volunteer work, etc. Much of that tends to be for show: virtue-signaling for the sake of social accolades.
In contrast, truly big-hearted folks do wonderful things simply because they actually care. They’ll stop and rescue snakes from the middle of the road and release them into nearby shrubs so they don’t get hurt, and won’t blog about it. They’ll just do it. Similarly, they might donate whatever they can to various charities without saying a word about it.
For them, good deeds are their own reward. There might be a whisper of selfish altruism present in that it makes them feel happy to help others, but everyone ends up benefitting from this type of sincere kindness and generosity.
15. They are incredibly gentle with other people’s hearts.
Big-hearted people make a point of being as courteous and gentle with others as they possibly can, simply because they don’t want to cause pain to anyone.
If they’re in a relationship, then they’ll do all they can to make the other person feel unconditionally loved and accepted. If and when difficulties arise, they’ll discuss things calmly – without blame or incendiary remarks.
Similarly, if they have to break difficult news to others, they’ll do so in as gentle a manner as possible. They know how to turn down invitations without making the other feel snubbed or ashamed, and know the right words and gestures that will soothe heartache and loss.
They try to be as self-aware and conscientious as possible so that they don’t cause any harm. Depending on the individual, you might even find the Sanskrit “Ahimsa” tattooed somewhere on their body somewhere.
16. They have some kind of spiritual leaning.
Many, if not most big-hearted people follow some type of spiritual path. Some might be devout with their religious beliefs, while others are still trying to figure out their place in the universe, but know there’s “something” out there. Either way, they understand the interconnectedness that exists amongst all things, and like to do their part to make that connection a bit sweeter and brighter.
For some of these people, their spirituality is a major driving force behind their kindness and generosity. It might be a major tenet in their religion, or perhaps they have an individual calling that inspires them to be of service to others. Whatever their personal leaning, you can be certain that these folks feel a strong connection to something bigger than themselves.
17. They find joy wherever and whenever possible.
The big-hearted people you know undoubtedly revel in joy and beauty whenever they can. It’s not uncommon for people like these to take time to enjoy the beauty of a perfect sunset, or start dancing along with little kids when street musicians are performing.
For them, life is a celebration and they try to enjoy everything they can. Furthermore, they love to share and encourage that delight in others.
Big-hearted people know that life can be immensely joyous, and that there’s brightness to be found in even the darkest corner. If you’re lucky enough to have one (or even a few) of these people in your life, treasure them. They’re some of the most shining lights in what can be a very difficult, gray world at times.
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