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 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Kindness

You know who could use some kindness right now?
      Probably everyone.
~Dr. SunWolf, @WordWhispers tweet,

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

See how many hearts you can make glad every day; then at night you can say to the angels, I have sunbeams enough to make a little piece of heaven's day. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

My practice is to live in fondness for everybody; preach it, count every man and woman good, banish evil entirely, and, do you know, my dear sir, that that is a great help when one goes to sleep nights. ~Alwyn M. Thurber, Quaint Crippen, 1896

Wherever you see suffering make an effort to relieve it, and the fair earth will kiss each footprint of your pilgrimage. Get at the centre of every vital fact and truth, and dwell there as light dwells in the heart of an opal, darting forth bright prismatic rays of love and faith on all created things. The struggle for eternal light is not one daring deed, nor hundreds of such, but a desire for higher love, with a calm, unbroken forgetfulness of the objective lower self, not only to-day but for all time. ~J. C. Street, Hidden Way Across the Threshold, 1887

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, @ravens_rhapsody, tweet, 2017

Stay kind. It makes you beautiful. ~Author unknown

Kindness... is the child of Love. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Flowers from My Garden," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

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, 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

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

What can one person do? One person can prove false the notion that nobody cares. ~Robert Brault,

You cannot live a perfect day
without doing something for someone
Who will never be able to repay you.
~John Wooden, as told to Jack Tobin, They Call Me Coach, 1972

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 (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Were truth our uttered language, Spirits might talk with men,
And God-illumined earth should see the Golden Age again;
The burthened heart should soar in mirth like Morn's young prophet-lark,
And Misery's last tear wept on earth quench Hell's last cunning spark!
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above;
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of love.
~Gerald Massey (1828–1907), "This World Is Full of Beauty"

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

A mere word of cheer, in the shadow of night,
      When discouragement darkens the way,
Will illumine our hearts with the glorious light
      Of a hopeful and sun-brightened day.
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "The Bright Things of Life"

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

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 F. Buscaglia, "Making love felt," Born for Love: Reflections on Loving, 1992

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

Of course it is easy, a pleasure, often a self-indulgence to do things for those we love. It is more difficult to help those toward whom we are indifferent. I have tried it and found that then I feel less indifferent. As for those few people whom in my heart I dislike, I find in the same way that I am eased of it somewhat by doing them a kindness. If I did enough for them I might come to love them. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "Magic," A View from the Hill, 1957

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
~Edwin Markham, "Outwitted," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913

      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,

Small kindnesses make you a bigger person. ~Terri Guillemets

A friendly word that's kindly spoken is just as cheap as one that's cross, and it may brace some pilgrim broken, who finds this life a total loss. It doesn't cost a copper penny to say, "Good morning, how d'ye do?" And it may mean a lot to many, and set their faces smiling, too. The smiles we wear are inexpensive, yet keep the world in better shape; their influence is so extensive it can't be measured with a tape. The kind and friendly words we scatter, with love of mankind in our tones, may well survive the wreck of matter, the crash of dynasties and thrones. And so I greet my fellow mortals with leaded smiles of thirteen ems, and do as much, perhaps, with chortles, as rich men do with gold and gems. The plan is old; man inter-glacial no doubt was vaguely on its track, and learned that his expression facial helped things along, or set them back. And still we must be pleading, urging, along this line till time is done, that men may be from gloom emerging, to take their places in the sun. ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "The Kind Word"

Kindness to others adds fragrance to our friendships, love to our labors, warmth to our words, rainbows to our relationships, and harmony to our homes. ~William Arthur Ward (1921–1994)

If human nature is the highest nature to man, then practically also the highest and first law must be the love of man to man. Homo homini Deus est:— this is the great practical principle:— this is the axis on which revolves the history of the world. ~Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, 1843, translated from the German by Marian Evans, 1855

'Make somebody happy today!' Each morning that motto repeat, and life that was gloomy and gray at once becomes pleasant and sweet. ~Walt Mason

Kind deeds are like blossoms blown by the summer wind. They bring sweet fragrance and their fruitage is love. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Flowers from My Garden," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

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

There are actions which the whole world considers fine... They will say the same of great moral maxims; of that of Zoroaster: "If in doubt that an action be just, desist;" of that of Confucius: "Forget injuries; never forget kindnesses." ~Voltaire

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

We just keep on givin' to strangers an' to kin
An' find that what is goin' out is always comin' in;
Makes the sunshine brighter where we've got to live
To learn that givin's keepin'—what you keep you give.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "Always Christmas," 1910

When you smile on those who are sad, the angels open the door of heaven and let the sunbeams through. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

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. ~Author unknown

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]

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

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

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

He always said "Good mornin'"
      An' emphasized the "Good,"
As if he'd make it happy
      For each one if he could.
"Good mornin'!" just "Good mornin'"
      To every one he met;
He said it with a twinkle
      Nobody could forget.
He always said "Good mornin',"
      An' people use' to say
That one o' his Good-mornin's
      Clung to you all the day...
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "Good Mornin'," c.1902

Be kind to thy father! Be kind to thy mother! Be kind to thy neighbor, thy sister and brother! ~James Henry Potts, "Kindness," Every Life a Delight, 1914

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, "25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years," Dave Barry Turns 50, 1998,

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

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

Before you Criticize with Words Unkind,
Look Thrice for all the Good that you can find.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Judgments," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Treat each person as if their heart was breaking. More often than not, you will be right. ~David Weedmark, @dweedmark, tweet, 2009

A kind word may soothe a saddened heart: a kind act heal it. ~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," "Flowers from My Garden," Ouina's Canoe, 1882

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]

We underrate the courage of common civility, for what do we know of another person's day, of their worries and anxieties, of how deep into their innermost resources they had to reach for that friendly hello, that gracious smile. ~Robert Brault,

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..." Read the full poem here. —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"

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c.1596  [V, 1, Portia]  [D. W. Brogan, 1964: "shone like a good deed in a weary world" — David Seltzer, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971 film: "So shines a good deed in a weary world." —tg]

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

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

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

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

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. ~My So-Called Life, "Pressure," 1994, written by Ellen Herman [S1, E13]

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

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

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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published 1998 Mar 18
last saved 2023 Mar 25