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Quotations about Kindness

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Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault,

How wise must one be to be always kind! ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

If someone were to pay you ten cents for every kind word you said about people and collect five cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor? ~Author unknown, quoted by Jacob M. Braude

Kindness is just love with its workboots on. ~Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith

[K]ind deeds often come back to the givers in fairer shapes than they go. ~Louisa M. Alcott, "How It All Happened," in Harper's Young People, 1880 December 21st

There are few things that are more beautifully infectious than true kindness. It spreads like a magnificent wildfire. ~Keith Wynn, @Darxist_Marxist

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. ~Bob Hope

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. ~Charles H. Spurgeon

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. ~Author unknown

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown

What this world needs is a new kind of army — the army of the kind. ~Cleveland Amory

That life is to my liking which is made up of little deeds, little sacrifices, little kindnesses. ~Birthday letter quoted in J.R. Macduff, Birthdays, 1893

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~Dalai Lama

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. "Absolutely," the professor said. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy. ~JoAnn C. Jones, Guideposts, January 1996

Wit is an intermittent fountain; kindness is a perennial spring. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble. ~Rudyard Kipling

Don't be yourself — be someone a little nicer. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear. ~Frank Tyger

Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it. ~Author Unknown

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Variation of a saying that has been around since at least 1861 ("Kindness: A language which the dumb can speak, and the deaf can understand"), author of original saying is possibly Christian Nestell Bovee, see

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

A kind word is like a Spring day. ~Russian Proverb

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~Samuel Johnson

There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life — reciprocity. ~Confucius

Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how. ~Author Unknown

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway. ~Henry Boye

Sometimes people will hear you better if you speak with a voice of compassion instead of authority. They long to be understood more than to be lectured. ~Dodinsky

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel

If we should deal out justice only, in this world, who would escape? No, it is better to be generous, and in the end more profitable, for it gains gratitude for us, and love... ~Mark Twain, quoted in Autobiography by Albert Bigelow Paine, 1924  [continued as such: "...and it is far better to have the love of a literary strumpet like this than the reproaches of his wounded spirit. Therefore I am glad I said no harsh things to him.... It is reward enough for me to know that my children will be proud of their father for this, when I am gone." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Thoughtlessness is time wasted. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
~Adam Lindsay Gordon

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. ~John Wooden

Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. ~Author Unknown

A selfish man covets that which he does not need, while a liberal man often bestows that which he needs. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Kindness is the most tender and effective form of leaving a memory inside people's hearts. ~Dodinsky

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:—feelings, too,
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love....
~William Wordsworth, 1798

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. ~Winston Churchill

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out. ~Frank A. Clark

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~Henry James

The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid. ~Author Unknown

The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines. ~Charles Kuralt, On the Road With Charles Kuralt

Don’t let those who take advantage of your generosity stop you from being generous. ~Author Unknown

If today you can't be anything else to anybody, you can be the passing stranger who nodded hello. ~Robert Brault,

Sure the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild... ~Mary Karr, The Liars' Club: A Memoir, 1995

      Some people know how to remain kind and thoughtful, despite the responsibilities and annoyances of a full life; others are so overwhelmed by nothing that they are longfaced and silent, much to the hurt of those with whom they must deal. The omniscient Shakespeare was more than witty when he made a character say: I like men who are sleek and well fed, men who are happy.
      The people who are happy are those who know the value of white hyacinths as food for the soul. They are satisfied with one loaf and know that souls also must be fed. Kindness to others, appreciation of the good points of one's companions, understanding of the mental vagaries and illness that cause discontent and misunderstanding are white hyacinths with even more charm than Tennyson's poetry or Emerson's essays.
      This morning an old friend sent us a present of "love apples." It was so refreshing to see the red, luscious fruit in the basket; but more than that, the renewal of faith in human goodness was a tonic. This man can not ever lose the precious things of life, because he gives them. Those who receive without giving even a kind word remain poor forever. More white hyacinths are needed; and more people, human and frail but kind and thoughtful, will help us to get through life pleasantly.
      ~"Observation Tower," 1937 March 11th, The Daily News (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, U.S.)

In a world full of people who couldn't care less, be someone who couldn't care more. ~Author unknown

Love thy neighbor, and if it requires that you bend your understanding of the truth, the Truth will understand. ~Robert Brault,

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ~Epictetus

One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind. ~Malayan Proverb

Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree. ~Marian Wright Edelman

A little flattery, like a warm bath and soft towel, will let you get along with yourself, lie down with yourself, and sleep. ~Willis Goth Regier, In Praise of Flattery, 2007

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia

Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle. ~John Watson, 1897, commonly attributed to Plato as "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." (Thanks, Garson O'Toole of!)

Nothing in life means anything unless someone cares, and the whole trick is to keep being that someone. ~Robert Brault,

What gentleness lacks in noise it makes up for in perseverance. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "The Ancient Virtues," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self. ~John Watson, 1903

Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits.
~19th century rhyme used in primary schools

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. ~Amelia Earhart

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. ~Chinese Proverb

There is no effect more disproportionate to its cause than the happiness bestowed by a small compliment. ~Robert Brault,

As the bus slowed down at a crowded bus stop, the Pakistani bus conductor leaned from the platform and called out, "Six only!" The bus stopped. He counted on six passengers, rang the bell, and then, as the bus moved off, called to those left behind: "So sorry, plenty of room in my heart — but the bus is full." He left behind a row of smiling faces. It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it… ~The Friendship Book of Francis Gay, 1977, "Friday—August 5"  [Pseudonym of Herbert Leslie Gee (1901–1977) —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We always prefer war on our own terms to peace on someone else's. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Small kindnesses make you a bigger person. ~Terri Guillemets

Have you had a kindness shown,
      Pass it on.
’Twas not given for you alone,
      Pass it on.
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears...
Be a star in some one's sky,
He may live who else might die,
      Pass it on.
~Rev. Henry Burton, "Pass It On," 1898

Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances. ~Saint Vincent de Paul

Even though your broken heart may never heal,
Bless those who help hold the pieces together.
~Terri Guillemets

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Be thoughtful of others and you will not be shy, for they are incompatible addictions. ~Robert Brault,

The best way to knock the chip off your neighbor's shoulder is to pat him on the back. ~Author Unknown

Open your heart — open it wide; someone is standing outside. ~Quoted in Believe: A Christmas Treasury by Mary Engelbreit

Because that's what kindness is. It's not doing something for someone else because they can't, but because you can. ~Andrew Iskander

We can't always see the scatters and tatters of a broken heart. Kindness is due to all fellow beings — we never know the invisible hurts they're enduring. ~Terri Guillemets

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. ~Og Mandino

If every man's internal care
Were written on his brow,
How many would our pity share
Who raise our envy now?
~Peitro Metastasio

Kindness is the greatest wisdom. ~Author Unknown

A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. ~Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"

If thou are a master, be sometimes blind; if a servant, sometimes deaf. ~Thomas Fuller

Even when you do not feel big hearted, you can give yourself permission to act that way. ~Lama Willa Miller

Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame. ~Alexander Pope, Epilogue to the Satires, 1738

There's a lot of not caring that goes under the name of minding your own business. ~Robert Brault,

Life is short but there is always time for courtesy. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Social Aims

The best practical advice I can give to the present generation is to practice the virtue which the Christians call love. ~Bertrand Russell

Don't cast a shadow on anyone unless you're providing shade. ~Terri Guillemets

If we cannot be clever, we can always be kind. ~Alfred Fripp

To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving. ~Max Beerbohm

Treat each person as if their heart was breaking. More often than not, you will be right. ~David Weedmark

One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. ~Booker T. Washington

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~Knight's Treasury of Illustrations by Walter B. Knight, 1963  [Knight "gleaned from a wide variety of sources" for his treasury. I've seen this quotation attributed to Jack Herbert, quoted 1966; Mae Maloo, quoted 1975; and John E. Southard, quoted 1977. –tg]

In order to be remembered, leave nothing behind but goodness. ~Yogi® Tea

Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life. ~Samuel Johnson

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
      Where the race of men go by—
      The men who are good and the men who are bad,
      As good and as bad as I....
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
      Where the race of men go by—
      They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
      Wise, foolish—so am I.
      Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat
      Or hurl the cynic's ban?—
      Let me live in my house by the side of the road
      And be a friend to man.
~Sam Walter Foss (1858–1911), "The House by the Side of the Road," c.1896, originally published in The Independent then later in Foss' own collection titled Dreams in Homespun, in 1897  [According to The Alumnæ News of The Normal College, City of New York, September 1897, the sentiments of this poem were inspired by the Roadside Settlement in Des Moines, Iowa. The wording was inspired by Homer, and Mr. Foss prefaces his beautiful poem with "He was a friend to man, and lived in a house by the side of the road" attributed to Homer. I'm not the best of Greek scholars, but I believe the excerpt would be: "Axylus: in Arisba fair he dwelt / With riches blest, near to the public way / His dwelling: thus a general friend to man / He lov'd them all, and all their wants reliev'd..." And if Foss' poetry weren't enough to give me joy, he was also a librarian! SWOON —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The first and highest law must be the love of man to man. Homo homini Deus est — this is the supreme practical maxim, this is the turning point of the world's History. ~Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity

Love someone who doesn't deserve it. ~Author Unknown

Kind people are the best kind of people. ~Author Unknown

The more sympathy you give, the less you need. ~Malcolm S. Forbes

Treat everyone you meet as if they are God in drag. ~Ram Dass

Always carry with you a little reasonable doubt, should you meet someone who needs to be found innocent. ~Robert Brault,

It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. ~Baha'u'llah

There are no traffic jams when you go the extra mile. ~Kenneth McFarland

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl. ~H.L. Mencken

To err on the side of kindness is seldom an error. ~Liz Armbruster, on

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. ~James Matthew Barrie

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy. ~Karl Reiland

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, much later adapted to "So shines a good deed in a weary world" by David Seltzer for the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Thanks Aidan!)

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. ~Benjamin Disraeli

How beautiful a day can be
When kindness touches it!
~George Elliston, Cinderella Cargoes, 1929

'Xtend to everyone a kindly greeting. ~"Alphabetical Aphorisms," in The Myrtle, 1884 January 26th

When you can be the sunshine in someone's life, or the warm rain, why would you be the cold north wind? ~Robert Brault,

Sometimes someone says something really small, and it just fits right into this empty place in your heart. ~From the television show My So-Called Life

Dear Lord, may I ever refrain
      From speaking ill of others;
      May I have kindly thoughts, as well,
      For all my earthly brothers!
May I, dear Heavenly Father,
      Radiate pure love for all...
May I see good in everyone;
      May I pray for those in woe...
If I can do these things, O Lord,
      While I am here on this earth,
      I'll feel my life's not been in vain—
      That I was blessed at my birth!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Blessed at Birth" (1940s)

Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim. ~William Feather, The Business of Life, 1949

Real charity doesn't care if it's tax-deductible or not. ~Dan Bennett

When your suffering is a little greater than my suffering I feel that I am a little cruel. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

I soothe my conscience now with the thought that it is better for hard words to be on paper than that Mummy should carry them in her heart. ~Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Sweet, cheerful words, coming from a kind heart, are worth more than gold and gems... ~Rosella Rice, "Deacon John Flint," in Arthur's Home Magazine, April 1870

Always be a little kinder than necessary. ~James M. Barrie

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