It’s normal to feel this urge to help someone when needed, but certain obstacles may get in the way of our kindness. Would we be invading their personal space? Would it bother them or not at all?

Psychologist Robin Banerjee led a team at the University of Sussex to create the online questionnaire Kindness Test. The responses were mixed, with some people openly admitting that they weren’t always kind and others displaying a high amount of kindness. Compassion was visible in everyone, regardless of their age or where they lived. Even still, several barriers prevent us from becoming kinder. Fear of being misunderstood was the top reason for not doing kind things for others. We also worry about being humiliated or rejected. However, Gillian Sandstrom of the University of Sussex, who was part of the research team that looked into the Kindness Test, discovered that our fears about talking to strangers are often baseless and that people enjoy it more than they think. Those who have received an act of kindness described themselves as “happy”, “grateful”, “loved”, “relieved“, and “pleased”. Only 1 percent of those surveyed said they were embarrassed.

Receiving and giving acts of kindness make us feel good and happy. Given all of this, we must begin to see compassion as a strength rather than a weakness.