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Quotations about Kindness

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Shall we make a new rule of life from to-night: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary? ~J. M. Barrie, The Little White Bird, 1902

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, tweet, 2017

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

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

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

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, in 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

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

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

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

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 cannot 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

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

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

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. ~Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

      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,

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

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

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

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 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]

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

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

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. ~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

Kindness is the greatest wisdom. ~Author unknown

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

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Social Aims

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

But surely... to give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving. ~Max Beerbohm, "Hosts and Guests," 1919

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

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

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]

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

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. ~Bahá’u’lláh

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, "Epitaph"

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

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. ~J. M. Barrie, A Window in Thrums, 1888

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice [V, 1, Portia]

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  [I wrote this one down so long ago, I don't remember which episode. Anyone know so that I can credit the writers? —ღ t.g.]

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

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

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

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Original post date: 1998 Mar 18
Last saved 2020 Oct 09 Fri 09:21 PDT

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