26 Symbols of Kindness & Compassion

Symbols of kindness featured

Kindness and compassion begin from within. When you are kind and compassionate toward your own self, you learn to become kind and compassionate toward others. The basis of kindness and compassion is understanding. Here again, you begin by understanding your own self and this extends to understanding others.

This article is a collection of 26 beautiful symbols of kindness and compassion that will encourage you attract more kindness and compassion into your own life.

Symbols of kindness & compassion

1. Deer

Deer have different meaning in different cultures, but one of their most well known symbolism is that of kindness, gentleness and compassion. Deer are gentle and elegant animals, that move graciously and that live in harmony with nature. Their grace and elegance has made them symbols for kindness and gentleness, particularly female deer.

2. Feather

Pink feather
Via DepositPhotos

Feathers are soft to the touch, and feel gentle on the skin. Feathers are also lightweight and they tend to float gently and graciously when in a breeze. They are often associated with gentle, compassionate presences such as birds or angels. For all these reasons feathers have become universal symbols for kindness, gentleness and compassion.

3. Peacock

Via DepositPhotos

Peacocks represent resurrection, eternal life, good luck and royalty. They also symbolize compassion because in Hinduism, peacocks are associated with Goddess Lakshmi who is the Goddess of compassion, patience, fortune and fortitude. Similarly, in Buddhism, peacocks are associated with Quan Yin – the Goddess of Compassion. In both these cultures, the said deities are shown riding a peacock.

4. White jasmine

Via DepositPhotos

Jasmine flowers are tiny, fragrant and very delicate. They are commonly associated with eternal beauty, love, purity, gentleness and compassion. In Hinduism, the five petals of jasmine are said to symbolize compassion, modesty, patience, selflessness, and integrity. Similarly, in China, Jasmine is said to symbolize femininity and all the associated virtues which include gratitude, kindness and compassion.

6. Sweetgrass


Sweetgrass is associated with gentleness and kindness, particularly in Christian cultures. In rough weather, sweetgrass bends and twists but does not break. This is why sweetgrass is associated not only with gentleness and kindness, but also with a strong will and determination to be compassionate. Sweetgrass braids are often offered to those that need to stay resilient, kind and hopeful in times of hardship.

7. Chamomile

Chamomile flower
Via DepositPhotos

Chamomile is a delicate white flower with a very subtle aroma. They are often used to make healing teas that help calm the mind and body. The reputation of this flower as a “gentle healer” has made it so that it is often associated with kindness, gentleness and tenderness of heart.

8. Buddha

Meditating Buddha
Via DepositPhotos

The Buddha and his many representations across different cultures are often viewed as a symbol of kindness. Buddha, good natured and easygoing, preached love and kindness to oneself, to others and to nature. The Buddha has come to be one of the most popular symbols of enduring kindness and gentleness even in the face of hardship.

9. Ox

Via DepositPhotos

In France but also in many other pagan traditions, the ox is a symbol of gentleness and kindness in the face of hardship. This is because despite their big size and their incredible physical power, oxen are often very gentle, calm and good natured. In the Chinese zodiac, the ox is also the animal that symbolizes a patient personality, with an easygoing nature and gentle disposition.

10. White & Green Tara

White Tara
Via DepositPhotos

In Tibetan folklore, the white and green Tara symbolize two streams of love and divine compassion. Among the 21 Taras, the green and white representations of this deity are the most common and they both represent the feminine energy and all its associated qualities. The white Tara represents active, powerful, motherly gentleness while the green Tara symbolizes a more passive, peaceful and gentle kindness of a young girl.

11. Guanyin

Guan Yin - Goddess of Compassion
Via DepositPhotos

In Chinese Folklore, the deity Guanyin (also known as Quan Yin) is the representation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who is considered the purest form of kindness, love and compassion. This beautiful, white robed Goddess is protective, ever loving and extremely compassionate. She is often depicted carrying white lotuses, another symbol of kindness and gentleness.

12. Shepherd’s staff

Shepherd's staff
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A shepherd’s staff is a very common representation for kindness, love and concern. In Christian folklore (but also in many other cultures) the staff of a shepherd has come to represent the love, the kindness and the gentleness with which he shepherd guides, cares and protects his herd.

13. Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna
The most famous deity in Hinduism, Lord Krishna is the very pinnacle of Godly love, kindness and protection. This deity cares for his worshippers dearly, and protects them with a lot of care. He is often represented with a flute, which symbolizes the human heart. The flute is hollow from within which represents a heart that is devoid of any form of hatred or negative energy and thus becomes an instrument that spreads love, kindness and compassion everywhere it goes.

14. Vajra

Vajra symbol
The Vajra is an instrument and a symbol associated with Tibetan Buddhism. Also called “dojre”, this instrument in the shape of a diamond represents the purest form of human nature, a completely pure and empty mind with no cruelty or ill within it. Likewise, an empty mind is said to hold only love, kindness and concern for others which is why the Vajra has come to symbolize such feelings.

15. Pelican

A majestic bird, the pelican is associated in different cultures with extreme kindness and generosity. This is because of pelican’s generous and sharing nature. Upon catching a prey, pelicans are known to share the catch with other pelicans. Pelicans often hunt in a group and care for the members of their family dearly, so they are also a symbol of familial love.

16. Fern

Aya - Fern symbol
The fern is spiritually significant in many different cultures, each with its own associations. However, one of the most common symbolisms for ferns is that of kindness and tenderness. Ferns are very resilient plants, that grow fast even after being cut, or after withstanding fires or other natural disasters. This resilience and patience has come to be associated with tenderness and gentleness of character, just like the ox.

17. Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva

This bodhisattva might be one of the most famous one in Buddhism, and it represents “karuna”, a feeling of deep love, empathy and compassion for others. This infinitely empathetic deity goes by many names and has many representations in different cultures around the world, but one of the most famous one is the Chinese deity Guanyin (as discussed earlier).

18. Holy Basil

Holy basil
Via DepositPhotos

The “tulsi” plant or holy basil is a sacred plant in Hinduism. The plant is considered as the manifestation of Goddess Tulasi. Goddess Tulasi is an avatar of Lakshmi, who is the consort of the Lord Vishnu. Lord Visnhu is regarded as the compassionate preserver of the world. Similarly, Lakshmi is also the Goddess of compassion and good fortune. Because of this, the Tulasi plant is associated with kindness and compassion.

The plant is worshipped and the leaves are often used as an offering to deities in prayer rituals, especially to Lord Vishnu.

19. Pink Dahlia

Pink dahlia
Via DepositPhotos

In the language of flowers but also in different spiritual traditions across Europe, the pink dahlia symbolizes feminine energy, kindness, tenderness and a gentle disposition. This is because of their delicate beauty and their soft pink color, which are often linked with ideas of femininity and a tender, caring disposition.

20. The Anthurium

Anthurium plant and flowers
Via DepositPhotos

This flower and their heart shaped petals have come to be associated with love, kindness, gentleness and caring. This is because of the shape of their leaves and flowers, which look like a heart. This flower reminds you to keep an open heart and to show compassion and empathy toward oneself and others.

21. Heart Chakra

Heart chakra
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The Heart Chakra is an energy center located in the center of the chest. It is represented by the color green and symbolizes peace, gratitude, compassion, empathy, trust, fearlessness and generosity. When your heart chakra is open and in balance, you become more understanding and develop feelings of empathy and kindness toward yourself and others.

22. Endless Knot

Infinite Knot
The endless knot is a very important symbol in Hindu and Buddhist faiths. The endless knot represents the infinite, never-ending union between wisdom and compassion, in particular that of Buddha (in Buddhism).

23. Nteasee

Nteasee Adinkra symbol

In Adinkra culture, the nteasee symbol represents compassion and love, but also understanding between members of a community and cooperation. In Ghana, where this symbol comes from, cooperation and being compassionate with each other are very important: this symbol urges us to resolve our differences with our neighbor and work together, because only by working with each other can we achieve great things.

24. Humpback Whale

Humpback whale
Via DepositPhotos

Humpback whales symbolize peace, calmness, solitude, creativity, compassion and love. What’s amazing about humpback whales is how they use their powers for doing good for others. Humpbacks have been seen to help defend their close relatives and even other sea creatures from killer whales. And this is why they are associated with compassionate love, kindness and compassion for other living beings.

25. Manatee

In Native American culture, manatees symbolize kindness, intelligence, gentleness, peace and calmness. Manatees teach you to lead a relaxed and peaceful life at your own pace without the need for violence or hostility toward others.

26. Elephants

Even though Elephants are large and strong enough to cause a great deal of damage, they refrain from doing so. Elephants are compassionate and kind toward other animals and use their power only when required for their own survival. This is why these gentle giants represent wisdom, understanding, kindness and compassion.

If you liked these symbols you will also like this collection of self love symbols that will help you in your journey toward self love and acceptance. As discussed earlier, kindness and compassion begin with self love.

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