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Introduction to 10 Dramatic Acts of Human Kindness

Mother Teresa, shown here visiting a hospital in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982, has come to be synonymous with kindness.

© Arnaud de Wildenberg/Sygma/Corbis

From everyday violence to acts of terrorism and acts of God, many of us are weary from the seemingly relentless accounts of atrocities and acts of selfishness happening in the world around us. Spending the day reading the news, you might not guess that humans are, to some extent, predisposed to acts of kindness and feelings of empathy -- a study published in 2012 found that kindness may be in our genes [source: Szalavitz].

Kindness can be a simple smile or hug, or a generous act such as allowing another car to merge ahead of you during your morning commute or -- growing in popularity -- paying for the toll or food order of the person on line behind you. Expressing and receiving kindness makes us feel good; it lifts our mood. But some forms of kindness are easier than others, and we're going to look at 10 dramatic acts of goodness, selflessness and forgiveness from all around the globe. First, the woman we all think of when we think of someone saintly: Mother Teresa.

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