by Tim Young
Welcome to my Kindness Quotes for Kids (and folks of all ages)! You’re here because you want to make the world a kinder place for all of us, right?
Well, you’re at the right spot. This master list of kindness and courage quotes should inspire you to become a kinder person. And if you have kids, these act of kindness quotes should help you teach kindness and compassion to your children.
Let’s face it—in our hectic, modern lives, life can be stressful. Even (especially?) for kids and teens. Sometimes we may get a little down, or even a little isolated and short with one another. This causes stress for us. As a result, we may spread that stress to others.
So, what’s the solution? …
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The solution is as simple as showing some kindness to others, just as you’d like to be the recipient of kindness yourself! And you’re likely here because you recognize that motivational kindness quotes can inspire you to do just that.
On this page, I share 100 kindness quotes for kids from famed philosophers, leaders, and celebrities. These quotes should inspire you and help you become more kind and compassionate to everyone you encounter. And, I’ll give you some actionable ideas on how you can start exhibiting more kindness, today!
What is Kindness?
“No one is born hating another person. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.” – Nelson Mandela
Okay, so being “kind” is pretty self-explanatory to us grown-ups (right?). But how would we explain kindness to a child, such as my own daughter? Let me offer this definition of kindness:
Kindness is being friendly and caring to others.
Could I or you add more to that definition? Sure—we could add the words, “helpful, compassionate, respectful, gracious, generous” or others.
But why complicate it? We know what it means to be kind, don’t we? And if we all agree simply on being friendly and caring, and teaching our children the same, our society will be a peaceful one.
And notice I define kindness as being caring to “others” but I don’t limit it to other “people.” That’s because we all have an opportunity (and moral responsibility) to be kind to non-humans. Pets, wildlife, the soil, the seas, the earth, and the like.
There are countless opportunities every day to be kind, aren’t there? And almost all of them start with something everyone can do easily and freely; SMILE 😀
For instance, I grew up at a time when you passed someone on the street you actually saw them. And you smiled and greeted them.
Today, far too often I pass people who don’t even see me as they look down or stare at their phone. The mutual opportunity for kindness is missed. An opportunity to brighten each other’s day with a warm smile and cheerful “good morning!”
So, let’s start there. Smile. See your fellow citizens, acknowledge them, and wish them well. As Dolly Parton said:
“If you see someone without a smile, give ’em yours!”
Why not kick off each day in a state of kindness by how you greet your family members with a “good morning” and a smile.
Live alone? Use the same greeting for whomever you first encounter—co-workers, the barista, your dog, the UPS driver. Just start the day off with kindness.
What is the Power of Inspire Kindness Quotes?
One of my favorite kindness quotes for kids goes like this:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It’s a quote by American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Why do I like this quote so much? Because it speaks the truth.
I’ve heard hurtful words in my life, and I’ve heard kind words. I’ve forgotten almost all of those words. But what I recall—what we all recall—is how others make us feel.
My friend, you have great power within you. The power to attract people to you because of how you make them feel. Or, the power to repel them for the same reason.
Many of us spend our lives trying to achieve more. More knowledge, more status, more power, more money, more stuff. And that’s fine. But the easiest way to get what you want out of life may be to simply be more kind. To care more about others.
Actually, that’s really the heart of Dale Carnegie’s message in his timeless classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is one of the best-selling books of all time, and it’s a book I’ve read repeatedly.
So, what’s the essence of Carnegie’s sage advice? There’s much more than this in the book, but here is my list of 10 Ways to Be Kind from How to Win Friends and Influence People.
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
- Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas.
Pretty basic stuff? Yes, definitely. All stuff that, once again, we should have picked up in kindergarten.
So, why then has the book, over 80 years old, sold well over 30 million copies?
It’s because, somewhere after kindergarten, we all stray away from kindness and toward competitiveness.
Competitiveness can run smack in the face of kindness as we all vie for victory. But why can’t we aspire to achieve while also helping others along the way?
And, wouldn’t more people be inclined to help us if we were the kind of people who genuinely cared about and helped others? I think so.
Millions of people have recognized that they want to be kinder but just aren’t sure how. So they bought Carnegie’s book. And you found your way here. We all know we should be kinder, so let’s do it.
As book sales and web searches for “kindness quotes” show us, kindness is something that far too many people have shunned in our modern, hectic world. The power of kindness is that it can improve people’s lives. It shows them that people (you) care about them and are there to help.
Believe me, we’re all going to need help along the way in our lives. No one gets through it alone.
20 Simple Ways to Show Genuine Kindness to Other People
With that kindness mindset cemented, you’ll find countless ways to exhibit it throughout the day. But if you’d like some ideas to inspire you, try these 20 simple ways to show genuine kindness to other people:
- Open or hold the door for someone,
- Hold the elevator for others,
- Give up your seat to someone else in public transportation,
- Speak kindly to a stranger,
- Model good manners,
- Say thank you and please with a smile (and mean it),
- Acknowledge an event that is important to someone (birthday, promotion, wedding, birth, anniversary, etc.)
- Offer a ride to someone,
- Volunteer your time,
- Reconnect with someone and see how they’re doing,
- Do the dishes (or vacuum or clean the bathrooms or…) so your spouse or partner doesn’t have to,
- Leave a gratitude note for a stranger for something you appreciate,
- Pay for coffee (or lunch, etc.) for a stranger,
- Give someone a genuine, heartfelt compliment,
- Exchange road rage for a smile and a wave to the meanie who cut you off in traffic,
- When you see someone stressed out or overwhelmed, calmly ask them, “what’s wrong?” and see if you can comfort them,
- Pay a toll for the car behind you,
- Offer to carry a grocery bag or luggage for someone who may need it,
- Write a public, heartfelt comment on a friend’s social media post,
- Put away your phone, look into the eyes of the person speaking to you and LISTEN.
Pretty basic stuff, right? The kind of stuff we learned in kindergarten. And the magic of these simple acts of kindness is that these actions will make you feel as great as the recipient of your kindness feels. But here’s something important I didn’t put on the above list. And it’s not in the list of kindness quotes for kids below. But it’s something so fundamental it should happen without us thinking about it, just as breathing does.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
How often do our children or others witness us harshly judging ourselves? The way we look, the way we act, the way we dress, the way we talk. The mistake we made. All too often we see only what is wrong with who we are or what we do.
If you behave that way there is a simple prescription, one which comedian Bob Newhart prescribed years ago.
So take Bob’s advice and just stop it! Don’t model that self-deprecating, judgmental behavior to your children, or anyone else.
10 Ways to be Kind to Animals and the Earth
It’s natural to think of kindness as it relates to how we treat one another, as humans. But there are other ways to be kind. I’ve acted on almost everything below, and I bet you can too.
- Rescue a dog or cat from your local shelter in need rather than supporting puppy mills,
- If adopting a pet is too much for you, consider temporarily fostering a pet until an owner is located, thereby freeing up space in the animal shelter,
- If it’s safe for you to do so, stop and help that turtle trying to cross the road,
- Drink from the glass and refuse the straw at the restaurant so you can help reduce plastic waste in the oceans,
- Speaking of helping the ocean, get your own reusable bags for shopping and ditch those plastic bags,
- Run (or walk) a 5K or a 10K that benefits animals (check out your local Humane Society for listings),
- Spend a few hours picking up litter in your neighborhood (and model that behavior for others),
- If you’re a meat-eater, support local, sustainable farms that raise animals on pasture and in natural settings rather than in industrial feedlots,
- Support local, organic farms that don’t use chemicals but instead practice soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture,
- Plant a tree….or several trees.
Once you get hooked on kindness you’ll find it doesn’t just mean being kind to other people. Kind is kind, and it means doing the right thing for the earth itself and all its inhabitants.
What are Random Acts of Kindness?
“If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we might just set the world in the right direction.”
Zig Ziglar is on to something with that kindness quote, isn’t he? I’m sure you’ve heard of “Random Acts of Kindness” as the phrase has become widely used. But what does it mean? Positivepsychology.com offers this definition:
“A Random Act of Kindness is giving your best self to others without requests or promise of return on investment. It’s simply doing something nice for someone else, without them asking and without you doing it for anything in return.”
In one of our podcast episodes, I recalled an experience of a random act of kindness that totally changed my day. It was simple and common—someone in line in front of me bought me lunch. But it was so unexpected, so kind, so generous, that it changed my perspective in a day that was otherwise hectic. And the ripple effect from that was I was kinder and more patient the rest of the day with everyone I encountered.
That’s the power of a random act of kindness. The idea that someone gave of themselves so freely to a stranger, without any hope of repayment other than the hope of future karmic payout.
Random acts of kindness aren’t necessarily planned, at least not for a specific recipient. The giver may decide in advance that she wants to do something nice for someone that day, such as paying for lunch or coffee for a stranger. Or, it may be spontaneous, when a person sees someone who may be less fortunate and does something for that person.
And that “something” doesn’t have to be monetary. For example, maybe a storm blew limbs off a tree in an elderly person’s yard, and you “mysteriously” picked them all up.
Or, perhaps a co-worker is feeling very stressed and unappreciated. Imagine her joy when she returns and finds a heartfelt note of gratitude on her desk from an anonymous worker (uh, that’s you, dude).
Your act of kindness cost you nothing but paid her dearly. Her day just became better and she’ll likely be more patient and kind with her family or anyone else she interacts with the rest of the day. All because of your random act of kindness.
You see? There are lots of random ways you can brighten someone’s day (and attitude) if you look for them.
Just don’t look for reciprocation—that’s not what random acts of kindness are about. The payout you get is the warm feeling of having done something good, something genuinely kind. Of knowing that your time on earth is being spent enhancing not only your own life but other’s lives as well.
That’s what this world needs a whole lot more of. Let it start with you and me.
The Best Thing You Can Do For Someone
I think that the best thing you can do for someone else is to care. To really care.
In today’s nomenclature, that means to be present. To be empathic and show real concern. To genuinely listen.
Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with smartphones and social media. Mostly hate. But the smartphone is a valuable tool (not invaluable, mind you). Without it, I’d have to carry a camera, GPS and phone at a minimum, and countless other devices to make up for the other luxuries it affords me.
But these apps and that device are greedy. They beg for our attention. And we’re weak, so we give it to them. That’s attention that could be diverted instead to other humans.
So, if you really want to show someone how much you care, don’t buy diamonds or chocolates. Don’t send flowers.
PUT AWAY YOUR DISTRACTIONS AND SEND YOURSELF.
Six Health Benefits of Kindness
From improving your mood to reducing stress, the benefits of kindness are proven. In fact, science shows the benefits of kindness are greater for the giver than the receiver. By being kind you can not only help others, but you’ll also help yourself, too.
- Kindness releases feel-good hormones. Doing something kind for others can boost your serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. And, as with physical exercise, being altruistic can release endorphins, rewarding you with a “helper’s high.” Sounds good, right? So reward yourself by volunteering, helping someone who needs it, or committing a random act of kindness.
- Kindness calms. Anxiety is all too common an experience in our modern world. Sure, you could take medications, but why bother? Just being nice to others is a proven and free way to reduce anxiety. So, if you’re feeling a little anxious, find ways to help others and you’ll both benefit.
- Kindness can strengthen your heart. Sure, making someone feel good can “warm” your heart, but kindness can help reduce blood pressure and strengthen your heart.
- Live longer with kindness. According to research, people without a strong network of family and friends are at greater risk of heart disease. What’s that got to do with kindness? Well, when you’re kind to others you’re a magnet for friends and meaningful relationships!
- Kindness can reduce stress. Today many of us are under too much stress. The good news is that a 2015 study published in the Clinical Psychological Science journal found that helping others dampens the effect of stress.
- Kindness prevents illness. Diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines are just a few ailments associated with Inflammation. A study of adults aged 57-85 found that “volunteering manifested the strongest association with lower levels of inflammation.”
Kindness may be the secret ingredient in the recipe for living a long, vibrant, and happy life. So go ahead, smile 😀
How to Inspire Kindness
I could get all wordy here and list ways you could inspire kindness in the world. But who am I trying to impress?
This is a really simple one.
If you want to inspire kindness then model kindness.
Let people see you being kind. Let them bask in the glow of the feeling that it gives them, and let them see the benefits that accrue to you.
When you do this you’ll be happier, healthier, and more successful. And if you’re a parent, like me, let’s create a future army of kindness warriors. We can accomplish that by teaching kindness.
How to Teach Children With Inspirational Kindness Quotes for Kids
Whether you have kids or not, our collective children are our collective future. So, let’s teach them to be loving and kind—the sort of people who will make the world a better place (and take care of us when we’re rocking away on the proverbial front porch).
So, how do we do that?
Start by sharing the kindness quotes below to kids of all ages. But don’t just show them the picture—turn it into a teaching moment. Here’s how:
- Choose the kindness quote you want to discuss.
- Ask a child to read the quote aloud.
- Then, ask the child what that quote means to them.
- This part is important…look at them and listen to them.
- Ask the child if they agree with the quote or if they would somehow change it.
If you don’t agree with what they’re saying, don’t correct them. Instead, challenge them to think more deeply about the quote and its meaning.
And ask them how they could act on that quote. Have them offer specific ways, that day, they can take what they learn from that quote and put it into practice.
If you homeschool, as we do, you can make this kindness lesson the way you kick off your homeschool day.
If you don’t homeschool, perhaps this could be a good family breakfast discussion. Or a family dinner discussion.
It’s not important when you do it. It’s just important that you do it. We’re talking about our collective future here, so what could be more important.
With that said, take a look at the kindness quotes for kids below. If you want to inspire others, share them on social media, print them out and put them in your cubicle or on your fridge, or just email this page to someone.
Now, let’s all make like dandelions and spread some kindness.
Master List of Kindness Quotes for kids and adults
You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness
Given the circumstances in which she wrote it, this is a powerful kindness quote from Anne Frank. As a Jew, Anne Frank went into hiding in 1942 from the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands. Two years later she was discovered. In 1945 she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Yet, in hiding, she wrote not about hatred, but about kindness.
Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away
You have to have a few years under your belt to get this Arthur Helps quote. Wise sayings are great and all, but often they’re not acted on—or remembered. I mean, if you live long enough you hear lots of wise sayings, and can’t recall them all. That’s because they rarely make you “feel” something. But kind words—ah, they do make you feel something, whether you’re the recipient or the messenger.
When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world
What do you think? Do you agree with this quote by Rabbi Harold Kushner? After all, the world is a big place, and you’re but one of more than seven billion earthlings. Can your acts of kindness really make a difference? I believe they can. We must believe they can. For we all should want to live in peace with our fellow citizens, and the road to peace is paved with bricks of kindness.
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness
This quote by Seneca calls us to a higher plane of humanity. Most of us can be kind to people we like, sure. But can we be kind to those in our family we have tension with? Or those at school or in our social circles who aren’t our closest friends? The question we have to ask ourselves is, “is kindness our basic condition, or do we have to work up to it?” Seneca calls for us to elevate ourselves as human beings.
we shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do
Did anyone personify kindness more than Mother Teresa? And what did she mean by this simple quote? The beauty of kindness quotes is that we each can choose what they mean. To me, this kindness quote means that we should look upon each other with kindness—with lips curled upward in genuine delight to see the other person. That simple smile says we’re happy and that we acknowledge them.
when i was young i admired clever people. now that i am older, i admire kind people.
I read two things into this kindness quote for kids by Abraham Joseph Heschel, the Polish-born American Rabbi. My first read is that, as youths, we are drawn to smart people. Then, years go by, we travel life’s road of bumps and bruises, and become grateful (and hungry) for kindness. But my second read is that these two notions are not mutually exclusive. So go be both if you want—clever AND kind.
what this world needs is a new kind of army — the army of kind.
Cleveland Armory did a lot of things. He was a social historian, novelist, television critic, and animal rights advocate. In 1967, he founded The Fund for Animals, which has now merged with the Humane Society of the United States.
I’m not certain whether he was referring to us being kinder to animals or each other, but does it matter? Right is right and kind is kind. So let’s just be kind to all.
Spread Gratitude & Kindness in Style
we must be the change we wish to see in the world
It seems that Gandhi was saying that if we wish to see change in our world, we, as individuals, must take action to make it happen. In business, we used to say, “if it is to be it’s up to me.” Gandhi meant that kind of thing.
Of course, we need our actions to inspire others too, right? Because, to me, the idea that changing your life alone is enough to change the world is false. We need broad social change. But you can be the catalyst for that by inspiring others!
More Act of Kindness Quotes
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Winnie the Pooh. So it makes sense that I’d smile at reading this kindness quote “supposedly” by author A. A. Milne. I say “supposedly” because I can’t confirm that, although it does sound like something Eeyore would say. But, as a gardener and owner of rural property, I can’t say my first inclination is to look upon weeds as fondly as Milne suggests. We all need something to work on, so I’ll work on this.
we can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone
This is a great kindness quote for kids from America’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan. It’s meaning is simple and clear. Of course “we” can’t help everyone. Some people don’t want help. Others are beyond it. And it’s too big a test for one body (we) to help everyone. But, everyone can help someone. So as you and I go about our business today, let us look for an opportunity to do just that. It can be as simple as a smile or note of gratitude.
we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give
You gotta love Winston Churchill. He has enough quotes to fill a library. Sure, to “make a living” we have to get stuff such as money. But we often define “who” we are with what we have, and what we do. That’s not really an ideal life. Churchill is speaking of charity. Of kindness. Of recognizing that we’re part of something much greater than us as individuals. We’re part of humanity. So make your life one of kindness and generousity.
we are made kind by being kind
Bingo! This kindness quote for kids by Eric Hoffer succintly nails the recipe for being a kind person. I believe his full quote was, “Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” It’s from his 1955 book, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms. You can take from this kindness quote what you will. For me, it means that if I want to become a truly kind person, then I should be a truly kind person. It’s as simple as that. And the person charged with keeping score is me. I’ll endeavor to be kind to all and therefore, hopefully, to be made kind.
to err on the side of kindness is seldom an error
As a father of a child, I think deeply about kindness quotes such as this attributed to Liz Armbruster. At first glance, it’s intuitive that you generally can’t go wrong by being kind. Then this father’s protective subconscious flares up and says, “Oh yeah? What if your daughter misinterprets this quote and picks up a hitchhiker who means to harm her?” I wish that guy would shut up sometimes. But he (me) makes a good point. Kindness doesn’t mean doing everything for someone or putting yourself in danger. It means trying to help when you can.
those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves
This kindness quote from J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan and other fine stories, is inspiring for adults and a great visual analogy for children. If you’re using this quote to teach your children, ask them:
- What does he mean by sunshine?
- How could a person bring sunshine?
- What does he mean you “cannot keep it from themselves?”
Now, go let others bask in the warmth of your golden rays of kindness ☀️
Spread Gratitude & Kindness in Style
the greatest pleasure i know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.
Charles Lamb is another fella from the black and white days with a fine addition to our collection of kindness quotes. But this one and the ones about random acts of kindness can be kind of tough for we mortals.
What Lamb proposes is that we do something good but get no credit for it. Why is that so difficult for us? It’s because we too often depend on how society keeps score of our human performance rather than keeping our own score.
the less an act of kindness seems to be appreciated, the more it is needed, and the more of a positive difference it can make.
Most of us were raised (or are being raised) to say thank you and to be courteous. But there could be a number of reasons why someone doesn’t “seem” to appreciate a kind act. Perhaps they’re ashamed to need the kindness. Maybe they don’t know how to respond. Or, maybe they weren’t brought up the way we were. The point is, just because someone doesn’t “seem” to appreciate your kindness doesn’t mean they don’t.
More Great Kindness Day Quotes
unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
The Once-ler said this in the Lorax, although I suppose we should give credit to his creator, Dr. Seuss. It’s near the end of the book when the Once-ler fessed up that he messed up by cutting down all the Truffula trees. Afterward, the Once-ler’s greedy family left, leaving the Once-ler alone in a huge, empty factory. The Lorax then leaves dejected, leaving behind a small pile of rocks with the word “UNLESS”. That unless is for all of us. Unless we take action to make the world a better place, it won’t be.
A great kindness quote for kids!
to belittle you have to be little
Don’t you love this kindness quote by Kahil Gibran? I do. It’s fun to say, easy to remember and has a clear, clever meaning. And it gives me a chance to teach a kid a fun, albeit mean word: belittle.
Belittle – verb
make (someone or something) seem unimportant.
Think of how it makes you feel to be belittled. We’ve all been there, as kids can be verbally tough. But it feels awful. What we want to be (and to teach) is the opposite. To lift people up with our words rather than put them down.
there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
This kindness quote for kids comes to us from Dilbert creator Scott Adams. What does it mean? Let’s use the chaos theory the butterfly effect as an analogy for this. Is it possible that if we receive a random act of kindness that it will affect what we later do and say, thereby creating a ripple effect? Definitely. And that ripple effect would not only affect those I encounter, but each subsequent those people encounter. In other words, a simple random act of kindness is the pinnacle of the kindness pyramid scheme.
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.
Let’s think about this mouthful of a kindness quote from Leo Buscaglia, AKA “Dr. Love.” Its meaning is similar to the Oscar Wilde quote you’ll read in a moment. We often look for “big impact” acts and postpone doing anything until we have that idea. Yet, all it takes to make someone’s day is that warm smile, that gentle touch, that sincere compliment, or listening earnestly to someone.
there's no use doing a kindness if you do it a day too late
I thought I was getting up there in years. This guy, Charles Kingsley, lived a long time ago — back in the black and white days. But this is a timeless kindness quote that endures because it’s so clear and concise. It won’t be difficult to explain this concept to even the youngest child.
So the question we all have to answer is, “Are the opportunities for kind acts that I’ve been putting off?” If so, act on those now. We all have this moment in time, but we’re promised no others.
the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
In this never-ending era of Covid 19 there have been so many opportunities for small, but impactful, acts of kindness. Too often we’re looking for acts that will have a big impact. So we wait and wait, all the while doing nothing. Rather than wait for the “big idea” just try to share a small act of kindness. Then, another one. Soon you’ll be pushing a kindness snowball that, cumulatively, will roll-up into a collection of grand acts of kindness that you alone authored.
people pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt
Seneca the Younger precedes even the black and white days. He’s from the Barney Rubble days. To be honest, I’m not sure how to take this kindness quote. I mean, sure, if a doctor treats me and is kind, then, of course, I feel gratitude for that, beyond any remuneration he or she may earn.
But what do you think about this quote, and how does it impact you? Let me know in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
Spread Gratitude & Kindness in Style
spread love everywhere you go. let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Another contribution from Mother Teresa to our ultimate list of kindness quotes for kids. Let’s not get hung up on the mushy/yucky romantic meaning of the word “love” as my young daughter would. Instead, let’s focus on the second sentence: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” What a great personal motto that could be for each of us. Let’s see if we can put that into practice today. When you encounter anyone, give them a smile and send them on their way with a spring in their step.
More Teach Kindness Quotes
the best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good and how he treats people who can't fight back.
For you older folks, this kindness quote from Abigail Van Buren is really from Pauline Phillips, who created the advice column “Dear Abby.” Hence the name, Abigail. This quote appears to be more about moral character than kindness. But don’t be fooled. By offering kindness to a person who doesn’t seem to be able to offer you anything, you’re revealing your true self to the world (and yourself). I mean, let’s be honest, it’s easy to be kind to someone who can offer us something of value. But what do we offer someone who can return nothing, when there is no witness present?
success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. it's what you do for others.
If I had read this kindness quote when embarking on my career it likely would have fallen on deaf ears. I would have needed coaching and guidance, which is what we should provide to our children. But I get it now. When we read the list of death bed regrets, we see wishes that “I hadn’t worked so hard.” Or that “I had stayed in touch with others” or “done more for others.” I believe we should all think about how we want to be remembered and let that guide how we live our life. As for me, I want to put others first, to love them and be there for them, and to earn a life rich with love and fulfillment based on that. What about you?
sympathy is two hearts tugging at one load
I really love it when someone offers a concise and poetic quote where I can also visualize their point.
Sympathy may otherwise be a challenging, abstract concept to explain to a child or someone trying to learn English. But, if you or your child draw a heavy load being tugged at by hearts in two stick figures, we convey the meaning: genuine caring. But more than that. The act of helping to reduce the burden, to ease the pain, to help a person get to a better place.
That’s sympathy, and that’s kindness.
One thing I do know for a fact is that the nicer we are to our fellow human beings, the nicer the universe is to us.
This kindness quote gets to the heart of the real meaning of karma. Of the impact of the actions we take. The word “karma” means “action,” not “fate.” Not sure what karma really means? Here’s what Buddhist Barbara O’Brien says. “In Buddhism, karma is an energy created by willful action, through thoughts, words and deeds. We are all creating karma every minute, and the karma we create affects us every minute.”
remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but farm more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
Bite your tongue. That’s what Ben Franklin is advising us to do. Of course, we all want to be engaging conversationalists with the uncanny ability to say the right thing at the right moment. But you may find that challenging and beyond your skillset at this point. What you can control is your ability to not say the wrong thing. Something hurtful or defensive when you’re tempted to say something unkind.
people shouldn't have to earn kindness. they should have to earn cruelty.
This passage comes to us from NY Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater’s book, Forever. As with all quotes, you can take from this one what you will. For me, this quote speaks to our status quo—our human condition. Are we the type of person to look upon a new acquaintance through eyes of kindness with the assumption that they are good, and worthy of kindness? Or is our condition such that our eyes are filtered with a lens of distrust and doubt? This quote calls us to the former condition.
Kind people are the best people
There are many aspects we can choose to admire about other people. Some aspects are—let’s be honest—shallow, as we are attracted to superficial qualities. In high school, do we make the kindest person the most popular? Or do we value the prankster? The people who think only of themselves and make others feel worse, not better?
Let’s use this kid’s kindness quote to teach children from the get-go what it feels like when someone is kind to them. Inspire them to be the kind of magical person who can spread that feeling like pixie dust wherever they go in life.
we live by encouragement and die without it — slowly, sadly, angrily.
Celeste Holm had the life experience to utter this kindness quote. A bitter legal dispute between one of her sons and her fifth husband, 46 years her junior, overshadowed the last decade of the Academy Award-winning actress’s life. The claim was he turned her against them and took advantage of an elderly Alzheimer’s patient.
Stop it already! Just utter words of encouragement and kindness — life is too short.
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Even More Kindness and Courage Quotes!
the best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
This is a tricky quote from Mark Twain. What we don’t want to do is simply tell someone with low self-esteem to “cheer up.” Why not? Because research suggests that, even when delivered with the best of intentions, those two words can be a recipe for increased sadness and depression. Instead, we want to “be there” for them. To put away our distractions and listen to them without judgment and with empathy. Hopefully, we can lift their spirits and our own at the same time.
kindness gives birth to kindness.
Sophocles (sounds like saa · fuh · kleez) is another of those guys just a wee bit older than I am. Born 496 BCE, he is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived.
Sophocles was probably “the man” in his day. He lived past the age of 90 and became the most famous playwright in Athens. In addition to his plays, we remember this quote attributed to him. It’s simple, visual, and rings true.
kindness is always fashionable.
I grew up in a time of tie-dyes and bell bottoms. And—oh yeah, I could pull off that look. But, alas, that look isn’t too fashionable now. And, as we know, styles change with the wind. But the point here is that generosity, gratitude, and kindness are not styles. They’re actions and values that make life more rewarding, more joyful, more fulfilling for everyone. So, while you may wear an article of clothing that makes someone scratch their heads, your reputation for kindness will still elevate you to the highest social standing.
no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Who was Aesop you ask? Ever hear of Aesop’s Fables? He’s supposedly that guy, although likely a legendary creation. Doesn’t really matter though, does it? Because, regardless of who first uttered it, this quote rings true.
It doesn’t matter the size of the act of kindness—the important thing is that you actually commit an act of kindness. As I’ve demonstrated throughout this page, being kind to someone can change their life and create ripples of kindness that spread far and wide.
perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.
I covered Dale Carnegie’s classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, in my intro above. Now he’s back with more wisdom to share. Think deeply about what he’s saying. Could we really do or say something that would so positively impact someone’s life that they would cherish our actions over a lifetime? Do we, as individuals, really possess that power? I believe each of us do. Sure, our kind gestures may not impact everyone on the planet. But as Ronald Reagan said above, everyone can help someone.
one kind word can warm three winter months.
If you’re using these kindness quotes for ids to teach children, here’s your chance to teach them the words “literally” and “figuratively.” I mean, can one kind word literally increase the temperature of the room? I suppose—if you have a “smart” thermostat and you say “increase.” But we get the point here. Figuratively, we can make someone feel great—feel warm inside, because of our loving expressions.
And no doubt we get to bask in that warmth as well. As you’ve learned by now, acts of kindness warm both the recipient and the messenger.
kindness and honesty can be expected only from the strong.
Earlier on this page, I wrote about how technology—namely, the internet—is creating a culture where people are less kind. Where the rules of kindness and respect often seem to disintegrate online, or at least not apply.
I think it’s fair to say that it’s the weak among us that fall victim to that behavior. Sure, it’s easy to fire off a zinger to an online avatar you don’t know or can’t see. But it’s the people of strong moral character who choose not this path. Who aspire to be recalled day’s end in fondness rather than with disdain.
You’re a strong person. And a kind one.
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kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
What do we parents first teach our children to say? “Thanks!” “You’re welcome!” “Please.” “May I?” These are all kind phrases, as are many others. It’s good manners and costs nothing to share enthusiastic, kind words with others. As adults, we know what impact kind and respectful words have on others. If you have had them used on you recently, you know how the ripples can spread through your life and into the lives of others. And you know that each kind word starts a ripple effect. Someone says a kind word to you, you later remember to say it to someone else, and that person continues the pattern. Like the tiny pebble tossed into the still pod, each kind word creates a ripple that seems to never end.
my religion is simple; my religion is kindness.
Religion means, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” That can be (and is) interpreted many ways, and I’m grateful we live in a world where we can each freely adopt our own belief system.
But the Dalai Lama famously stated, “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.” I would like to think that, regardless of their religious beliefs, everyone would embrace this mindset.
To my way of thinking, kindness, generosity, and compassion should be at the heart of any belief system.
no one needs a smile as much as a person who fails to give one.
I love this succinct kindness quote—it’s one of my favorites in this collection of kindness quotes. I don’t know to whom to attribute this precise quote, but I’m willing to bet it came from a poem by—wait for it—Dale Carnegie, who wrote a poem about smiling.
The value of a smile… It costs nothing but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits. It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. for indeed, that's all who ever have.
What did American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead mean by this kindness quote? And was she right? I’m not so sure. I include it here because not every kindness quote needs to ring so blatantly true. What’s wrong with including some quotes that require us to think? Do you think only a few people can change the world? After all, did only a few people propel the civil rights or the women’s movement to earn equality? Or did it take millions? If you’re using these quotes as teaching moments what better way to have a discussion about what’s fact vs. opinion. Whether it takes large groups to make large changes or not, it always starts with a few caring people. In that sense, she is no doubt correct.
kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world, no matter what you look like.
Well, as the father of a young daughter in this age of “Photoshopping” every detail of an Instagram moment, I appreciate this quote. And I agree with it. I’m fortunate to be married to both a kind and beautiful woman. But if I had to choose one attribute over the other, I’d take the kindness. Hands down. And so far, my daughter is very kind and considerate. Gotta still steer her down that path through the teen years though, but that’s the value I’d like to instill in her. Be the kind of person who kindly lifts people up, never be the type of person who makes people feel worse about themselves. Do that, and you’re a beautiful person.
no one is so poor that they cannot enrich the lives of others with kindness and compassion as these coins come from the heart, not your purse.
In many ways, I think we can express deeper kindness and generosity if we are of little means rather than if we are wealthy. If we were the latter, our inclination would be to give money. Don’t get me wrong, money is necessary and can do a lot of good. However, most of us have limited financial means.
But, we all have within us the ability to smile, to listen, to care, to comfort, to be present, to be helpful. That’s the point here. Even if you are poor financially you may possess the greatest treasure trove of kindness. Spend it freely!
live with kindness and you live with the ability to make a difference in every life you touch.
This is another kindness quote that lends itself to a quality teaching moment. It’s not difficult to interpret the author’s meaning or intention. The question is and the discussion should center on, do you agree with it? If so, how can you make a positive difference in every life you touch? And could the opposite be true? If you interact with people in an unkind way, might that equally make a difference in every life we touch? If so, how?
Discuss that and use your conclusions to guide interactions that day at school, work, and beyond.
Even More Quotes About Kindness!
kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. it will wear well and will be remembered long after the prisme of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.
This kindness quote from Lincoln reminds me of the one above from Carnegie, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
The meaning behind the quotes is very similar, and what we’re to take from them is that our legacy will be not what we earn or achieve. It will be how we make people feel.
love and kindness are never wasted. they always make a difference. they bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.
Not 100% sure, but I believe this Barbara De Angelis quote comes from her 1997 book, Are You The One For Me. But does it matter where any of these kindness quotes originated? What’s important is that we find ones that inspire us to become kinder citizens and to inspire others to do the same.
So, does this quote help you to do that? It does for me and I agree with it. There’s no such thing as a wasted act of kindness.
kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
Maybe what German poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe meant was, kindness is the golden chain by which society SHOULD BE bound together. For who could argue with that aspiration? Whether or not society is actually bound by kindness or not depends on you and I modeling kindness, and inspiring others to value its rewards as much as we do.
let there be peace on earth—and let it begin with me!
I don’t know the “official” origin of this kindness quote. But I do know that Sy Miller and Jill Jackson were a husband and wife songwriting team who, in 1955, wrote a song by that name. It was about their dream of peace for the world and how they believed each one of us could help create it. You can listen to it here on YouTube if you’d like.
Regardless of the origin, I agree with it. Who wouldn’t?
Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins.
This kindness quote from Barack Obama delivers another excellent teaching moment. For children, definitely. But, let’s be honest, for many adults as well, right? He delivered this message in Istanbul, Turkey, at a student roundtable (transcript). This quote closed out his speech, and he concluded it with the words, “And it’s up to you to make that happen.” So let’s get on it!
kindness is showing someone they matter
Above I offered my own definition of kindness as, “Kindness is being friendly and caring to others.” But might it be simpler than that? As simple as showing someone they matter?
That’s really the essence of my own definition anyway. We all want to matter to someone. We all want to be seen, even if we sometimes feel as if we don’t. None of us want to (or could) go through life alone.
So, today, go out there and show someone they matter to you and to society.
kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
On his blog, Ben Woodward shared a story about his five-year old son that illustrates the meaning of this quote:
He saw an opportunity to be kind to his mother. Constant tooth pain, pregnancy sickness, six children, and a husband who traveled a lot had got the best of her. However, much of her anguish melted away when Toby picked a flower from the garden and placed it on her pillow. He loved her, saw her struggling, and did what he could to help her feel better. We don’t need age, experience, education, or resources to be kind and make a difference. We simply need love and thoughtfulness.
kindness is more than deeds. it is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. it is anything that lifts another person.
There are so many non-material things that we can give to one another. And the good news is this: researchers determined that brain activity associated with happiness, along with self-reported happiness, increased after making a commitment to be generous to others. Happiness-related brain activity also increased when actually giving, researchers found, leaving givers in a happier overall state than those who acted selfishly. Researchers also found that relatively small acts of giving gave rise to just as big a happiness bump as bigger acts, the investigators said. Smiles all around 😎
kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.
Let’s be honest here—it’s easy to be kind to people you love, or at least, like. But what about people you don’t even know? Or people you flat-out don’t care for? Johnson is telling us that true kindness is giving at all times to all people, without expecting anything back. That means helping when it’s needed (not just convenient) and helping when even when there is nothing in it for you. And it means you don’t necessarily have to like the recipient. You’re helping because help is needed, and you’re a kind person.
kindness is like snow—it beautifies everything it covers.
This Kahlil Gibran kindness quote is another one that’s easy to visualize and difficult to disagree with. In her blog, author and fellow dog lover, Leila Grandemange, adds this to the quote:
Kindness beautifies…It turns frowns to smiles, uplifts the weary soul, and spreads rays of healing light everywhere it goes. Like snow, it also purifies, by covering the pain of our past with a glistening white blanket of love!
Couldn’t have said it better myself…so I linked to it.
kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.
Here’s a powerful kindness quote from the American treasure, Mark Twain. If you have children or if you’re a teacher, this one lends itself to a great teaching lesson. To begin, what is language? Are words the only way we can communicate? Clearly not, as the earliest cave drawings reveal. But if we can communicate with kindness, which senses are perceiving that communication? Touch? Sight? Hearing, taste? Can you smell kindness?
Anyway, a great discussion opportunity awaits.
kindness and politeness are not overrated at all. they're underused.
This quote’s meaning is clear and difficult to disagree with. So, I’ll comment on how technology has made many people less kind. Worse actually—downright cruel. In online groups and blogs, many people have become “keyboard warriors,” hurling digital hate and criticism. They not only are zealous to prove they’re right, but they relish in ridiculing others.
Don’t be that person. Just because you think something doesn’t mean you should open your mouth (or fire up your keyboard). Be the one who encourages and lifts others up.
kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. it softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.
We all know what a passport is. It’s an official travel document that says that the person who owns it is a citizen of the country on the passport. Passports are issued by national governments (note to self: why did I just explain it if we all know what. it is?).
Anyway, what about this quote? Do you agree that kindness can gain you access into the hearts and minds of others? Could that initiate relationships that endure? I say yes.
kindness can be the greatest gift that you can give a person. especially when they are not expecting it.
If you are inspired to act on the essence of this kindness quote, you’ll be committing a random act of kindness. I wrote about that in the intro section above and gave several examples.
Random acts of kindness are unexpected on the part of the recipient, and always appreciated (even if they can’t or don’t show it). I recall so many random acts of kindness that I’ve been gifted, as I’m sure you do if you have been on the receiving end.
it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice.
Honestly, I’m not sure a lot of corporate or world leaders would agree with this one. Or at least they don’t personify it as far as I can tell. But that’s their problem and their loss.
And why does everything have to be so mutually exclusive? So either/or? Why can’t we be people who are kind first and then, if we aspire to be, important?
Here’s my take on this, and my off-the-cuff quote:
“A kind person is an important person, always.” – Tim Young
kind words do not cost much. yet they accomplish much.
Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer. I don’t believe the word “homeschooling” existed in the 1600s, but his father schooled him.
Among other things, Pascal invented the Pascaline, the first calculator or adding machine to be produced in any quantity and actually used. And for you gamblers, Pascal actually invented the first roulette wheel! And yet, with all that, here we are recalling his simple yet powerful quote about kindness.
be kind whenever possible. it is always possible.
Is it really always possible to be kind? I don’t want to debate the Dalai Lama or split hairs, but I can imagine situations where it’s not possible to be kind.
But that’s not the point he’s trying to make, is it? Short of being mauled or otherwise victimized, I suspect it is always possible to be at least kinder than we would otherwise be if not conscious of this guidance.
So let’s take it to heart and do so today. Let’s find opportunities to show kindness today that we might otherwise let slip by.
an anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
This is a Christian bible quote, Proverbs 12:25. But, regardless of your religious beliefs or affiliation, I believe you can find wisdom in this passage.
I mean, who on this earth would not appreciate or benefit from kind words? And if we each have it within us to utter such words and have those words transform a person—to lift her up—are we not magical?
Let’s show that magic to the world. Fire up your radar and detect those who may feel down. Then, use your magic to lighten their load and let them know someone cares about them.
I like this kindness quote, although I really don’t want to be arrested for anything. But I appreciate the clever metaphor. If a jury was weighing a decision to convict me of kindness, would there be enough evidence?
In my case, I’m not sure there would be. There are many opportunities where I’m sure I could have shown more kindness but just motored on about my business. Focused on my needs and wants instead of others’.
I’ll work on accumulating more irrefutable evidence. What about you?
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.
Powerful (and long) kindness quote from George Washington Carver. This quote gets to the heart of your moral character. Of who you are as a person.
Kindness and compassion are how we keep our world civilized. It’s not “what’s in it for me.” It’s “what’s in it for us.”
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
I flat out love this kindness quote from Maya Angelou. 100% agree with it. Whether we’re talking about friends, family, co-workers, or those we interact with socially, how we make them feel is what endures. Do we inspire and lift others? How do we make the person feel t the drive-thru when they take our payment? At the government office when we conduct business? Do we make them feel valued? Do we leave a lasting positive impression?
if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. if you want to be happy, practice compassion.
This message from the Dalai Llama tells us that the secret to happiness doesn’t only lie within ourselves, but also in our connections and interactions with others. The need for human affection is hardwired within us. Even when the affection is from a pet, children and adults will eagerly gravitate towards it.
Do you see yourself as a compassionate person? If you’d like to dive deeper, read these six habits of highly compassionate people.
how do we change the world? one random act of kindness at a time.
My only regret about including this Morgan Freeman kindness quote is that we can only read it. We can’t hear him recite it in that commanding voice of his.
If you have the privilege of teaching children, let them brainstorm ideas for random acts of kindness they can perpetrate. Let them feel how much more rewarding that can be than being the jokester.
it is the characteristic of the magnanimous man to ask no favor but to be ready to do kindness to others.
Magnanimity (from Latin magnanimitās, from magna “big” + animus “soul, spirit”) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. This quote comes to us from good old Aristotle, so the Latin word magnanimitās is a calque of the Greek word μεγαλοψυχία (megalopsychia), which means “greatness of soul”. So the meaning is clear. If we want to be a great person, be kind to others.
as you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands. one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
This excellent kindness quote is often attributed to the iconic actress, Audrey Hepburn. But it’s actually from Sam Levenson, author of the 1973 book, In One Ear and Out the Other. When his first grandchild was born Levenson wrote a short letter addressed to her:
“The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed, and redeemed, and redeemed…Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.“
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if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.
This quote is powerful, simple, and no-nonsense, just like Dolly herself.
Whether you’re using this kindness quote to inspire you or as a teaching aid for children, it lends itself to immediate action.
As you go about your day, look for those whose smiles have abandoned them. See if you can brighten their day with your smile, your conversation, and your caring.
If you have children, practice that with them and send them off to school with the same challenge. It’s a simple and free thing that we can all do to make the world a more joyful place.
if you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, and most of all yourself.
One of the saddest things in the world to me is that many people struggle so hard to be happy. As a naturally happy person, it’s difficult for me to comprehend, but I know it’s true. I believe the first step to being joyful and happy is gratitude. Ideally, you’re a naturally grateful person, as I am. But when you are truly grateful for what we all have, for being alive in an era of such luxury (running water), such convenience (grocery stores), such assistance (medical care), you’ll realize that we’re not only NOT alone, we’re richer than ancient pharaohs could have ever dreamed. So smile, and go do a kind act for someone 😀
goodness is the only investment which never fails
This kindness quote from Henry David Thoreau speaks to karma, that notion of making a deposit in your universal kindness account that will compound over time. But how does “goodness” payout to us?
According to behavioral scientists, when we commit acts of goodness, we produce the hormone oxytocin, which has been called the love hormone. I wrote about this in my intro above when I covered the health benefits of kindness.
The bottom line is that doing something good for others not only benefits them in many ways, it flat out makes us feel better. Who doesn’t want that?
it is difficult to give away kindness. it keeps coming back to you.
Here we go, another kindness quote that, at its core, is speaking of the concept of karma. So you must decide if this is Hindu concept is one you embrace, or not.
Personally, I don’t get hung up on the literal truth or interpretation of karma. The concept just “feels right” to me, so I want to put as much goodness into the world as I can and create ripples of compassion.
how far that little candle throws his beams! so shines a good deed in a weary world.
This one comes to us from the Bard himself, Willam Shakespeare. So, what’s a “bard” anyway? Not exactly a word you hear tossed around unless we’re talking about—The Bard. Well, in Celtic cultures, a bard is a professional storyteller, verse-maker, music composer, or the like. So I guess that sums up Shakespeare, the greatest of the “bards.”
Anyway, this quote comes from Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice. I read this (and all of Shakespeare’s plays) to my 3rd grader last year, and she thoroughly enjoyed—some of them.
give yourself some kindness today until you're filled and pass it on.
Here’s what’s so necessary about this kindness quote: it starts the ripple of kindness with you being kind to yourself. So, how can you be kind to yourself? Here are 8 ways to be kind to yourself to get you started:
- Make time for something you enjoy,
- Give yourself credit and recognition,
- Take care of your body,
- Forgive yourself (we’re all fallible),
- Treat yourself (yes, get that massage),
- Remind yourself or your great qualities,
- Stop. Trying. To. Be. Perfect!
- Accept (and honor) who you are.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.
Psychologist Michael Steger was interested in how differently people lead their lives. Pat Tillman, for example, left the NFL to enlist in the Army and fight in Iraq and later Afghanistan, Steger said, while socialite Paris Hilton pursues “a public life of shallowness.” Steger was curious which behavior makes people happier—seeking pleasure for oneself or doing good for others. So he studied a group of undergraduates and compared the effects of their selfish behaviors to meaningful activities such as helping others. He found that the more people participated in meaningful activities, the happier they were and the more purposeful their lives felt. Hedonistic behaviors did not make people happier.
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be kind to people on your way up because you'll need them on your way down.
I guess we can interpret the words “on the way up” a few ways. We seek to ascend in many aspects and in various phases of our lives. Currently, my 9-year old aspires to become a bigger, more independent kid. She’s on the way up in the world of kiddom and in life (aren’t we all?). In professional circles, we certainly understand the concept of “on the way up” as we climb the proverbial professional ladders in our careers.
But at some point, we’ll peak in our careers, just as we’ll peak in life. As we descend those ladders to a level, we hope, of peace and comfort, we’ll no doubt need to rely on others. It’s best if they look upon us in kind remembrance of how graciously we ascended.
life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?
At first glance, this kindness quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. could be interpreted as admonishing us for failing to do enough. Likely what he meant was to remind each of us to embrace (and act on) a spirit of volunteerism.
But it doesn’t have to be volunteerism, does it? We don’t have to engage in broad social issues with such great weight as the one that MLK placed on his own shoulders.
Doing for others can be as simple as what you’re doing to enrich the lives of those closet to you.
as the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.
What a great kindness quote from the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Albert Schweitzer. Not only is the notion of ice melting a visual metaphor, but cold often is used to describe a lack of kindness. We received a “frosty reception” as the hostess gave us an “icy stare.” We felt a discernible “chill” in the air.
We get it. A lack of kindness can be described as cold. So the opposite, kindness, must radiate warmth. It makes sense for each of us to place arrows of kindness in our quiver so that we can break apart ice whenever we encounter it.
a warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
I love the inclusion of the word “language” in this quote. We’re aware of many spoken languages, sign languages, brail—even body language. And, sure, a smile can be tossed into the body language category. But what of acts of kindness and compassion? Could they, in fact, be their own language.
Why not? If we define language as a “mode of human communication,” do our acts of kindness not communicate a great deal? Do we not show the recipient (and witnesses) that we care, that we’re selfless, and that they, the recipient, are worthy?
If you’ve ever dreamed of mastering a new language, master the language of kindness. And pass it on.
if you can be anything, be kind.
This kindness quote is too basic to possibly know who uttered it first, and it matters not. And you’ve probably seen or heard this quote countless times. People love to create memes of it or throw it on t-shirts.
The simplicity certainly lends itself to teaching kids. Of course, we start by making sure we know what “kindness” means and teaching that concept. But the way I like to use this quote is to talk to my daughter about her desired “reputation.” What words would she like people to use to describe her if she wasn’t present?
I believe that’s something we should each contemplate. No doubt we would choose more than one descriptor, but I would hope “kind” would the first word that came to mind.
always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you'll have to eat them, you can swallow it well.
I love to eat and consider myself to be the ultimate omnivore. Be it bacon, beets, broccoli, broth, or bananas, I’ll savor each. But I don’t want to eat my words.
I guess Oprah’s point here is that, if you do have to figuratively eat them, err on the side misspeaking with kind, empathetic words.
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
Wow. I’m betting that Saint Basil, or Basil of Caesarea, inhaled deeply before uttering that mouthful. But what is the meaning of this kindness quote? I take it to mean what do you want your reputation to be? How do you want to be defined by others?
i learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and the gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.
This kindness quote is very similar to the one above, “kindness and honesty can be expected only from the strong.” As with that quote, the bottom line is that cruelty is weakness. You can’t be seen as strong if your actions are cruel. Sure, cruel people can gain power, but they will be seen not as strong people, but for what they are: cruel people.
a kind word with keep someone warm for years.
I bet I’ve used the word “warm” at least a dozen times in these kindness quotes. And this quote is close in nature to the one above, “one kind word can warm three winter months means.”
So choose the one that inspires you the most. If you’re a parent or teacher, let your child choose which one they can remember.
But remember this—the important thing about these quotes is that we use them to merely to inspire us, but to put that inspiration into action.
a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.
I want to say two things about this kindness quote, which I love. First, almost all of these quotes are in the masculine form (him, he, man, men, etc.) I have a daughter, so does that resonate with her? I explain that when quotes like this one were written hundreds of years ago, that’s just the way the world was viewed. I don’t want her to be distracted by that. If anything, let’s celebrate the progress we’ve made.
But the second thing is how we can use kindness to define what constitutes a great person. Whether you’re a man or woman, aspire to be a great and kind soul.
Spread Gratitude & Kindness in Style
if speaking kindly to plants helps them grow, imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do
The idea here is that all living things nurturing and kindness. But as I’ve mentioned on this page when I described modern “keyboard warriors,” many people seem unaware of how harmful their words can be interpreted by faceless recipients strewn along the digital highway. It’s not like I haven’t made this mistake. I have. But I’ve learned to treat online communication with the pretense that I’m speaking to a child on the other end. And, who knows, I may be?
Words matter, so let’s use the language of kindness.
act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude.
Many of these kindness quotes really challenge us. I mean, be honest, when you do something for someone do you not expect a sign of appreciation? Of gratitude.
Yes, you do, even if you think you don’t. That’s why we teach our children to say thank you. To send thank you cards, and be grateful.
This quote is more of an advanced state of being for us. It’s probably not the one to start our kindergarteners on. But this quote from Confucius captures the plane to which we should aspire to ascend.
do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
This quote reminds me of a story you’ve probably heard. The one about the little bird that filled her beak with water from a pond and flew to the woods engulfed by fire. While at it, other animals asked the tiny creature what was the point of her efforts? After all, her tiny droplets would not douse the massive wildfire. She responded, “When I die, and my life’s record is being read aloud, my name will appear in the list of those who tried to put out the flames, and not among those who sparked it or did nothing about it.”
What a great lesson for all ages.
don't wait for people to be kind, show them how.
What if kindness was a nourishing plant—say, like wheat? Wouldn’t it be great if fields of kindness blanketed the earth? But every field needs a first seed that can grow, produce seeds, and spread. Sometimes it’s the wind that helps the plant spread, other times it’s an insect, bird, or animal that is the agent of change.
The simple, yet powerful, lesson here is that the field of kindness begins with that first seed. Can you be the farmer who sows that seed, and inspire others to be agents of change who spread it around the globe?
always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know.
This kindness quote comes from Colin Powell’s book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. The book has a chapter titled “Kindness Works”, in which he endorses a clergyman’s advice, “Always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know.”
Sometimes I’m a little heavy-handed with the salt when I’m cooking. Comes from never measuring, and the result isn’t great. But when kindness is in the container, shake as much out as you’d like.
how beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it.
Have you ever uttered the expression, “that made my day!” I bet you have and I bet you’ve heard others say the same. That’s because an act of kindness can beautify any day, regardless of whatever else may have happened.
Sure, this quote is fairly obvious as we all appreciate and desire kindness. But this quote can still serve as an easy-to-remember visual reminder of how powerful we all are. Powerful enough to be the reason another person goes home and says, “that person made my day!”
kindness is not what you do, but who you are.
I guess we could see kindness as an act—a verb. Or, we could see it as a noun, as in, “he embodied kindness.” In other words, as the quote suggests, kindness can be something you do or it can define who you are.
Think of it this way.
To guide our life actions some people imagine what will be written on their tombstones, or eulogized about them. This quote encourages us to think in those terms—how do we want to be seen and remembered?
Spread Gratitude & Kindness in Style
I hope this resource of kindness quotes has been valuable to you. In parting, I’d like to leave you with a challenge. Go create your own kindness quote and let it guide your life. If you have children, challenge them to come up with theirs as well.