Partially in tribute to the Dalai Lama whose birthday is today, July 6, I’m posting thoughts on kindness. An advocate of living a life of kindness, he has written such things as, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible,” and “Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”

We have been admonished to do random acts of kindness, which can range from simply paying for the drink of the person behind us in line at the coffee shop, to paying attention to needs of coworkers, to genuinely smiling and saying thank you to a busy clerk, to whatever creative thing one can think to do. And these things are good, but perhaps what most of us need to do is pay attention to those close to us and act kindly to the ones we so often ignore or take for granted.

We sometimes also need to be kinder to ourselves, and not beat ourselves up over our shortcomings. Everyone one of us has things we wish we could do better, or stop doing, and trying to better ourselves is a good thing. But no one is perfect, and that’s okay. It’s a good thing to sometimes remind yourself of what you do well, not just what you do poorly.

So, be kind to strangers, be kind to friends and family, and be kind to yourself. That pretty much takes in everyone! Brighten someone’s day today with a kind work or act, and it may brighten your day as well.


Other quotes about kindness.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.—Plato

Be kind to strangers. Let strangers be kind to you. Think of it as a positive exchange of … compassion in the circle of life.–Sarah Ban Breathnach

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

Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?–Sam Harris

A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.–William Hazlitt

Kind words are a creative force, a power that concurs in the building up of all that is good, and energy that showers blessings upon the world.– Lawrence G. Lovasik

Kindness is a language the dumb can speak and the deaf can hear.–Christian Bovee

Life is short. Be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!–Henri F. Amiel

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.–Aesop

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?–Sir James Matthew Barrie

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.–Mahatma Gandhi

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

If you want more kindness in the world, put it there.–Zero Dean

When you are kind to someone in trouble, you hope they’ll remember and be kind to someone else. And, it’ll become like a wildfire.–Whoopi Goldberg

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.–Albert Schweitzer

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