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What Is The Psychology Behind Magnanimity?

What is the psychology behind magnanimity, and how can we practice it? Let’s find out.

Our society influences many significant lessons in life that are responsible for development. Traits such as humility, generosity, and kindness are taught us from childhood to shape our personality.

Besides, we also witness many acts of kindness from our community as we reach out to help people. In this process, we learn to live not only for ourselves but also for the people who need help.

However, the growing cases of selfishness and Machiavellianism raise concerns over humanity’s future of benevolence and goodwill.

So, “Is it still sensible to be generous and help the downtrodden?”

“Where do we stand with our generous and kind-heartedness?”

These are some of the questions we will find out in this article. But first, let us discuss the act of generosity and kindness, which is called magnanimity.

The reality is very different for the people who believe in the idea of magnanimity. For instance, we see many people, especially the empowered ones, lying and blaming others for their failures. They do not care for the plight of people who are suffering from harsh conditions.

So, “How should we use magnanimity to benefit humanity in such tough times?”

“What should such people do to help people without sabotaging themselves?”

Therefore, let’s find out what is the psychology behind magnanimity how it makes us virtuous.


You can also watch the video below by Lida Citroen at TEDxUNLV to know more about the power of gratitude and generosity:

The Power of Gratitude and Generosity — Serving Those Who Have Served | Lida Citroen | TEDxUNLV

What is magnanimity?

We shall discuss the psychology behind magnanimity, but first, let’s find out what is magnanimity.

So, “What is the definition of magnanimity?”

According to Wikipedia,

Magnanimity is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes.

In other words, following the virtue of kindness and goodwill even if one faces severe consequences for it.

People help others for several reasons. For some, it is the desire to help, while for others, it is something which was taught to them by society. Moreover, some people also do a favor by helping the needy. In other words, they help people with their self-interests involved in it.

Lending a helping hand representing goodwill
Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash

However, being generous towards people to such a great extent has its perils. You can’t help everyone, no matter how dedicated you are. Besides, it is not possible to have faith in the goodness of people as reality proves otherwise.

So, “Is the idea of magnanimity absurd?”

No, it isn’t.

To clarify, it is not absurd in the slightest. If you read the definition above, it is clear that it is a virtue of mind and heart.

But, “What does it mean?”

It means that the person engaged in such acts doesn’t do it for others but himself. In other words, he gains happiness and satisfaction by performing these noble acts.

But, “How does it benefit him when he has nothing to take in return?”

Let’s find out what is the reason for this happiness.


How performing noble acts influences magnanimity?

Nobel acts are significant for restoring goodwill and humanity in society. Besides, not everyone is generous and kind to everyone.

One of the prime reasons why people refrain from helping others is the disappointment they have to face if their efforts go unappreciated. It becomes difficult to adopt a charitable nature when you have so much lie and deceit everywhere.

Moreover, when we become a victim of such disappointments, our selfless nature suffers to a great deal. It makes us more susceptible and skeptical of the intentions of people.

Performing a noble act as a psychology behind magnanimity
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

But then, “Don’t magnanimous people feel the same way?”

“Aren’t they aware of people and their priorities, or are they too resilient for that?”

The answer lies in their empathy and devotion to people.

The random acts of kindness are not the result of resilience to adversity, but the empathy they carry for people. In other words, their concern for people in general is responsible for noble acts of kindness.

But, “How can they empathize with random people and not worry about themselves?”

It comes with their self-sacrificing nature and willingness to serve a purpose they believe is true to their ideals. As a result, they take it as a responsibility to help people in need.

Hence, they do not help people but help themselves realize their desires and ambitions.

Now, let’s discuss the psychology behind magnanimity.


What is the psychology behind magnanimity?

We have discussed a lot in the above two sections about magnanimity and its sources.

So, let us discuss the psychology behind magnanimity.

As mentioned earlier, empathy is the source of magnanimity. The goodwill to help people comes from genuine care and concern for their sufferings.

But, “What drives empathy in such individuals?”

Well, according to neuroscience, the traits of empathy and care in such individuals is driven by prosocial behaviors.

Prosocial behaviors are social behaviors that benefit society. These prosocial behaviors are fundamental for human interactions and guide us to make the most of it by engaging in noble acts.

However, very little is known as to why people engage in prosocial behaviors. One of the possible reasons is the upbringing in a type of environment that promotes goodness and altruism.

The wall with a text representing altruism
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Our prosocial behavior varies from individuals and depends upon various circumstances.

In this case, researchers found out that magnanimous people find better outcomes or results for themselves. Then, they applied these results to their desire for helping others.

They concluded that people do such acts to establish harmony by providing the best possible outcome for everyone’s interests. It is somewhat similar to the idea of altruism.

So, “Is magnanimity related to altruism?”

Let’s find out.


How altruism influences the psychology behind magnanimity?

“What is altruism?”

According to Wikipedia,

Altruism is the principle and moral practice of concern for the happiness of other human beings or animals, resulting in a quality of life both material and spiritual.

In other words, altruism is the practice of common goodwill for people to improve their quality of life.

5 eye-opening reasons why magnanimous people are virtuous

So, it is evident that a magnanimous person will also show traits of altruism. Hence, we can conclude that it influences the psychology behind magnanimity.

The interest of a person to improve the quality of life is the same as believing in a common good. We use harmony and collective conscience to benefit a large group of people.

Consequently, the reason behind the kindness and goodwill is nothing but the idealistic attitude of an altruist that refrains from neglecting the best for the concerned people.


Final Words:

To sum up, the efforts and willingness to help people is not abnormal or foolish in any sense. It is a virtuous act in the least and helps our society to become better with time.

Hopefully, in the coming years, we may find the reasons behind magnanimity and raise our children to work for a common good.

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