6 Robert F. Kennedy Quotes That Will Remind You To Kill ‘Em With Kindness
Robert F. Kennedy might not have been the most famous or powerful member of the Kennedy family, but he did have a lot of wisdom to impart on our nation before his tragic assassination.
Much of this wisdom was communicated during RFK’s most iconic speech, the one he delivered in Indianapolis, Indiana following the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. In this mostly improvised speech, the former New York senator spoke about the importance of embracing our differences and about how responding to injustice with compassion will benefit all of us.
Although this speech was delivered decades ago, we can still use it today as a guideline for how to respond to adversity or unfairness when we face it in our daily lives (though, to be honest, the majority of us are dealing with champagne problems compared to the crowd that RFK was addressing during his speech in the late sixties). These six quotes from RFK’s speech will remind you that the best way to respond to aggression or injustice is to kill ’em with kindness.
“You can be filled with bitterness and with hatred and a desire for revenge… or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend and replace that violence… with compassion and love.”
How you can apply this to your daily life: When a friend screws you over and betrays your trust, it might be tempting to seek revenge. But this will only make you feel better temporarily — it won’t make you feel less hurt in the long run. Instead, practice compassion and try to put yourself in your friend’s shoes. Understand that the act was probably performed from a place of insecurity.
“We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond and go beyond these rather difficult times.”
How you can apply this to your daily life: If you get stuck in a rut where things aren’t going your way, remind yourself that this low point in your life is just a moment in time. If you keep your head up and don’t get discouraged, you will see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel, an indication of better times to come.
“My favorite poem, my favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: ‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'”
How you can apply this to your daily life: Although difficult times are painful and we’d obviously rather they not happen to us at all, we do learn from them and they will help us grow wiser and stronger. Cue Kelly Clarkson.
“What we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another.”
How you can apply this to your daily life: When we’re faced with something unjust — even something as small as our boss taking credit for our hard work — it might be tempting to respond with equal injustice, like by bad-mouthing our boss to our colleagues. But being able to resist this temptation shows true strength in character. We can’t expect others to be kind to us if we don’t treat others with kindness.
“We can do well… We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future… But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.”
How you can apply this to your daily life: If you’re having one of those days when you feel like the whole world is against you, it can be tempting to jump to the conclusion that our earth is populated by people who are cruel and cold-hearted. While there are some people who have done truly awful things, remember that the majority of individuals on this planet want to live in peace and harmony just like you.
“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: ‘To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.’ Let us dedicate ourselves to that.”
How you can apply this to your daily life: Just because our kind entered this world as savages who were willing to kill each other for the juiciest piece of meat doesn’t mean that screwing each other over is just a part of human nature. We have evolved, and it’s time that we leave the “every man for himself” mentality behind to start lifting each other up instead. Your happiness does not have to come at the expense of someone else’s.
If you’re not inspired to treat others with kindness today after reading these words of wisdom from Robert F. Kennedy, then you must be a cyborg. You can watch his full speech below.