Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdom

Proverbs and sayings often provide us with wise words from all corners of the world.  Best savoured a little at a time, these sayings are passed down from generation to generation. Each Thursday, I post a saying, or proverb and a quote that I find thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

The theme of this week’s wisdom is kindness.

“The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm”

– Swedish Proverb

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late

 -Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century- Wiki.]

My Yoga teacher used to say that,

“Smiling was an art that comes from the heart and should be practised all the time.”

The kindest people I have met have had the loveliest, most genuine smiles. The heart may be the centre of love, but the smile is the centre of kindness!

Life may buffet and bruise us, and although we put on a brave front, life experience and  hard knocks are indelibly etched on our faces, and especially on our smiles.

If someone can’t find a smile, give them one of yours. Light up their day!

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

Kindness costs nothing, yet can make a world of difference.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible!”  -Dalai Lama

The Swedish proverb seems to both reinforce and contradict this advice.

What do you think?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Proverbial Thursdays at Something to Ponder About


35 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdom”

            1. Absolutely. If self respect is damaged or lacking, be that from expectations formed by onese or from pressures from society, peers or family/friends, it can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. That is a very difficult head space to live in. One might feel the world is against them, which so often seems to turn into self destruction of legitimate or non legitimate means.
              Respect oneself! We don’t have to cross the line into vanity not apathy, but simple, constrained respect that we are a child of the universe and have every right to be here!!

              Liked by 1 person

  1. fantasstic proverbs again….I loved the most “If someone can’t find a smile, give them one of yours. Light up their day!”…Dalai Lama is right of course, but not everybody can be kind everytime…; )…needs a lot of training!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would say it’s our humanity that disturbs us. Our ego. Even when we live in peace with ourselves, there will always be moments that do not fit into our picture. Those who are unfamiliar to us, or which are a disadvantage or even cruel. We react with anger. If I Watch f.e. someone who tortures an animal or behaves terribly to other people, I can not remain friendly. Even when driving a car, I get upset when another car blocks my way because the driver is talking to someone. In part, it is certainly bad habits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cruel acts or torturing animals is completely abhorrent yet showing kindess may serve to amplify the indecency of such acts three fold or more, but also shows the power of humanity to forgive. So by being kind in this situation, we are not only a role model but also give a powerful response in the face of cruelty. For to take revenge might feel temporarily sweet for the victim, but is also an act of unkindness in itself. Consequences are a great learning tool, but is inciting more unkindness the best response? How do we overcome anger? By dealing with our entrenched beliefs and thinking? Is Anger a reflection of anxiety, a desire for control that which is uncontrollable, and/or frustration? I think it is okay to be assertive when traffic blocks your way, and is a better response than aggression. I haven’t completely mastered them myself, and I still work on controlling my anger at times. I think this aspect of one’s personality is shaped early on and only modified by the environment. What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also think that this aspect of the personality is formed early and something is adjusted by the Environment afterwards.. Anger can have different reasons. For me personally it has nothing to do with control. I have never needed control. It’s personal disappointment and careless behavior / disrespect, or deliberately harming someone who makes me angry. I am not a choleric. My anger is limited, but of course, there is always work to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting that disappointment triggers an angry response. For me, disappointment triggers sadness and regret. In terms of Disrespect, I think I agree, it is maddening to see disrespect towards others and oneself. I reassure myself that the person will learn the hard way and through life experience not to follow this path. If they do not, there is little others can do to prevent it.


          1. Interesting, and how can we do something to make others respectful? If you want to help someone you care about a lot, for example. You talk about all these topics of love, respect, age, etc., and you have a good feeling that you are getting closer. But then comes the disappointment, collusion is not kept, you get subtle hints to take care of your wrinkles … in short: you do not understand the world anymore. Yes, you are right, it makes you sad … but before the sadness comes the realization and that first makes me angry and that then agrees with your first statement. Angry because the control has been lost.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. These kinds of people have little integrity. It can be devastating when someone’s personality or character changes or another ugly side to their behaviour or actions is revealed. It takes time to process that anger and hurt. Eventually we come up ‘for air’ again after what feels like a near drowning in disappointment. During that time think it is vitally important to show kindness to yourself and others or the dark abyss of bitterness might consume oneself. Again, I think the only way to maintain integrity through difficulties of collusion is to be kind. You will not lose respect but it will catch up with the offender in time. Perhaps we need to couple kindness in this regard along with patience? As we might have to wait a long time before others see the offender in their true ‘colluding’ nature.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. hmm you are talking of the anger and hurt of this person or of mine anger and hurt?
              I’m so sorry, that I’m partially disappointed and can not handle it. I will only be able to solve this by giving less importance to my expectations. I could also say that I focus only on myself, but I think I do not embody the idea of ​​just looking after myself.
              Yes patience and friendliness are probably the magic words and the desire to see little progress. It’s not about seeing the person in their true “colluding” nature. It’s about a normal way to meet. How much this person wants to divulge from herself, she can finally determine herself!

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I apologize if there has been any confusion. I was talking about the reference to a relationship where you feel very close. You feel able to talk about anything but as you age, you feel that you are drifting apart and then they deceive you with behaviour that involves lies. However, you mentioned having less expectaions. I try so hard to have no expectations, of others, but it is impossible. My history means I have at least some expectations. Good manners, respect, kindness. And yet, yesterday I read a piece about acceptance and it made me realize I still have expectations and I can still be judgemental. So now, I will try harder!
              When you refer to the ‘colluding’ nature, what do you mean?

              Liked by 1 person

            4. hahaha …. I think I always mix up so many things.
              You are perfectly right for your expectations. I did not mean that I basically have no more expectations … I expect more than ever …; ) … it’s just about “little things” that you rely on and looking forward and then these expectations do not arrive .. for whatever reason. Acceptance is important because people who accept meet expectations!

              Liked by 1 person

            5. hahaha..yes, you are right. It also eliminate expectations. It depends from which side you look at it.
              Acceptance creates space in the first place to fulfill the expectations of other people, but also to reduce one’s own expectations. I think that works quite well as long as the expectations are not completely out of line.


  3. That’s for sure. You have to respect and love yourself first. But in the past few months I’ve learned that you have to move forward, that you can gain confidence and overcome fear. Pressure, too high expectations from the outside are very bad. However, the outside world should still represent a certain liability. If you announce a step by yourself, you can not let others down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘The best place to begin ‘ – so true Andrea. A role model can be quite powerful in shaping behaviour and in this case, it is all positive! Be kind to yourself and others. Just beware those that take advantage of your kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your post is timely as I’ve been thinking of kindess lately. For instance, I’ve been wondering why are people kind, do they ask for anything in return and if they do, is that kindness anymore?

    Really like the Swedish proverb and the connection with the hand, and the saying ‘giving one a hand’ (along those lines). The hand is ultimately connected to our heart. Metaphorically speaking, I think this proverb talks about how true kindness has to come from within and outwards – that kindness is about sharing.

    Love the Emerson quote too, and I love many of his quotes. It really is never too late to be kind. You can be kind any time, any day, and there could be someone who really needs a hand or needs encouragement. That kindness from you could make their day, could even make their world in some ways.

    I’m not sure about practicing smiling. For me, I don’t go out of my way to smile. Maybe it’s because I am a shy person, and am not the kind to randomly smile at strangers, don’t want to draw attention to myself. That said, a genuine smile exudes positivity and I’ll admit that I do find it nice when I see people smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mabel! It is interesting that you mention that you have been wondering about the motives behind kindness as I have just yesterday been thinking and reading about Giving without conditions. The text wrote about people that add conditions, or “shoulds”, to their gift giving. They think that the person should do’ this’ with their gift, should appreciate it, (because they have spent loads of money on it etc), and the author thought that this act then was not actually giving a gift in the true sense- it was merely exchanging as there were strings attached to the giving.
      How often do we hear, “Oh, but I haven’t got you anything,” when someone receives an unexpected Xmas gift. The person has forgotten that it is not the idea to give a gift in order to get something back. We give to make others happy, don’t we?

      I love what you said about Swedish proverb and the hand being connected to the heart! Lovely words, Mabel. Kindness is about sharing and should come from within! Kindness has unlimited power! We never know what flow on effects a pay it forward mentality might produce.
      RE smiling:
      I understand that you do not feel overly comfortable smiling all the time, particularly to strangers. Do you think this is a traditional /historic view in some countries? I remember reading a book about a Chinese family that wrote it was not culturally acceptable in China to greet,or smile at people in the street, that one didn’t know. I wonder if this is true, generally speaking?
      I too am a introverted person, although I have learnt lots of tools in my life to disguise that in certain situations. I also dislike being the centre of attention. I become embarrassed and focus too much on what others might think of me.
      And yet, I am resolved to practise smiling more, (to people I know), as there is some thought that smiling releases more natural endorphins in the body. Of course, the smile has to be sincere. If it is forced, it seems to have the opposite effect, creating suspicion rather than joy.


      1. I like how you linked to gift giving. That is so true – some of us feel that we have to give something back when we get a gift. Or maybe we are just afraid that it will look bad on us that we have nothing to give – that others will judge. It makes me think about how so many of us give presents over the holiday season. I do think some of us genuinely want to, but when you think of something like the office Kris Kringle, that comes across as very much forced.

        That is very true about smiling in Asian culture, or at least in Chinese culture. Traditional, stereotypical Chinese think it’s not polite to smile with teeth (e.g. grinning), see that as an ugly look and somewhat too outgoing, and also a bit seductive too if it comes from a woman (smiling to someone of another race). I’m not sure if this is all of what you read. Very interesting topic of discussion.


        1. I only read about the practice of not smiling to strangers in the street, or not smiling too much. I wasn’t aware of the Chinese cultural dislike of the “toothy (ugly) grin,” so now you have increased my cultural awareness. It made me think about really outgoing people that have genuine smiles, and they show their teeth! They do seem uninhibited! (Whether that is a preferred or not a preferred thing). I prefer not to smile with my teeth showing, funnily enough, as it feels like that is what I would look like, if I was laughing. Maybe I don’t like my teeth that much, or I am holding back a little from showing too much emotion, or feel I will be judged by others. Hmmm, something for me to think about/work on/practise. Not being aware of this cultural opinions could also send mixed messages as non verbal communication counts for a large part of how the message in interpreted. I found this:

          Professor Mehrabian combined the statistical results of the two studies and came up with the now famous—and famously misused—rule that communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal. The non-verbal component was made up of body language (55 percent) and tone of voice (38 percent).

          What do you think of the percentages?


          1. I think there is much through to those percentages. Our body moves in natural ways. For instance, the typical able-bodied person walks and types without second thought…so they would also be expression emotion through that way too unknowingly. The way we speak and the way we smile, we can always think about that for a split-second before doing so.


  5. Great proverbs this week. Almost don’t know where to start. “The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm”. I’ve used that one a lot. Too many expect others to do the work, physical or mental, that they should at least be trying to do themselves before asking others to help or do it for them. Frustrating.

    You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Never heard this one but it’s probably a good one. We all think about doing something nice for someone and don’t act on it until the moment is gone. Then so are they or you. Need to remember this.

    As for smiles, I lost mine almost 8 years ago and I miss it more than I can say. When my face became paralyzed, I realized how much I depended on it. It tells people you are approachable and open to interaction. It can say you understand and empathize. I try to smile more with my eyes now.

    “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible!” I can’t think of a moment it wouldn’t be possible to be kind. Unfortunately, I know many who don’t know the meaning of the word. Even in my own family. Hurts my heart. I have to be kind to them too. And I think that is what this means. You can be kind to nice people, it’s the stinkers that need it most. Teach by example. Love these. Thanks. I’m just a little late here. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Frustrating.” Why do we find it frustrating that others are not willing to help themselves? Is it because we are not happy and if they have not tried to help themselves, we view them as inadequate, or slackers, in some way. Could it also be be because it makes us feel irritated because we have some underlying unhappiness, and this slackness is a way for us to shift that feeling from ourselves? Mind you, I am as guilty as anyone else. I often fail to try to understand someone who would sit and talk to other workers when there is work that needs doing! I would rather get the work done and then talk!! But more recently, I am starting to realize that socializing is important need for them at that point in time. For me, it is the sense of achievement. I do not NEED the socializing, ( as nice as it may be).
      Marlene, I am so sorry to hear that you lost your smile. That would be very upsetting. Non verbal gestures count for so much of our communication. Yet I am so happy that you have found a way around this problem. Smiling with your eyes is great! Eyes are the window to the soul. I am sure you have heard that one, but it is true. You can see a history of sadness, or happiness in someone’s eyes. Some eyes sparkle with joy and these people light up others’ day.

      Teach by example. This is so powerful. Be the role model. Show it, model it, give it! Spread the joy! Joy is infectious!!!
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I do so enjoy reading all your insightful observations!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Love the Schnauzer! Anyways it reminds me of a quote I’ve been hearing, which is “be kind to everyone you meet. They may be battling something you don’t know about.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great quote Julie and nice to have you comment again. Being mindful of other’s potential issues is sound practice and a good reason to ask “are you ok?” If in doubt… Schnauzers are wonderful dogs and mine are awesome but I am biased!!


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