Kindness vs. Love

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Difference between Kindness and Love

Kindness is a behavior characterized by benevolent goodness. When a person acts compassionately or generously towards another person or animal, he or she is said to be kind. Kindness to people who are needy or ill is sometimes characterized as being charitable.

Love is an emotion that is felt towards other people, animals, and even objects. There are many variations of love including, fondness and emotional attachment to a pet; a gentle affection to a person with whom you share a friendship; or an emotional desire and longing for a person with whom you feel physical attraction. Love can also be the expression of those feelings.

Philosophical Views

Kindness, you would reason, is an ethical responsibility, but most books on the subject only discuss a person's duty to be good virtuous, and responsible. Perhaps it is to be reasoned that good and virtuous people are kind. The philosopher Aristotle believed that kindness is being helpful to one in need, without desire or expectation of personal advantage.

Philosophically, love means a strong desire and longing that is typically sexual. It could be thought that the feeling of love may start with the desire of a specific person, but that feeling is shifted to that person's beauty, and finally it turns to the immaterial form of beauty.

Religious Views

Kindness is a topic of many religions. Christians believe it is one of the seven virtues. Buddhists believe that loving kindness is one of the Ten Perfections, and Confucius teaches to reward kindness with kindness - sort of like paying it forward.

Love is more than just a virtue to many religious folk. The Roman Catholics teach that God is love. Many references to love can be found in all religious writings. Christians teach loving your neighbor as you would love yourself. Islamic faith teaches that their way of life is as a universal brotherhood and their writings refer to God as loving and kind.

Cultural Views

Kindness is a trait that practically all cultures agree is a virtuous one. To be kind can be defined in many different ways though, depending upon culture. For instance, certain Christian based religions believe that by turning their backs on wayward parishioners, they are helping them learn the error of their ways. In most cultures, it is the fundamental desire to be kind and compassionate to others.

In Japan, mothers are nurturing and indulgent. Their children are expected to be clingy and serve their mother. In China, saying I love you signifies responsibility, commitment, and loyalty. Therefore, many Chinese prefer to say, "I like you". In America, love is a term that is more casually tossed around, and is frequently said in the context of compassionate feelings instead of deep commitment.

Similarities and Differences

  • Love and kindness are intertwined terms of compassion and virtue, but are not entirely the same. While love is an emotion, kindness is an act. People can be characterized as being lovingly kind which implies that they are charitable, generous, benevolent, and caring. It is a common to be treated with kindness and practically every religion is full of teachings on the subject of kindness.
  • Love is an emotion that can take many forms, such as selfless and altruistic. Love can be a term of endearment for a beloved pet or friend or it can be a devoted passionate desire for another person. Love can take many forms and is popular the subject of books, poetry, movies, songs, and films.


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