Empathy Quotes to Inspire Compassion

Inspirational empathy quotes can help you become more compassionate and understanding, build stronger relationships, and become a better parent, friend, and colleague. Empathy is a powerful and thought-provoking emotion that can make a significant impact on how we think about ourselves and others. And you can learn how to show empathy for yourself and others with meaningful empathy quotes that will make you reflect more deeply on the idea of understanding and compassion.

Best Empathy Quotes

Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another. Alfred Adler

One of the most important aspects of being a human being, is being able to be in a relationship. Being able to successfully form and maintain a relationship. And at the heart of that capability is the capacity to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, to see the world as how they see it. That capacity is empathy. Bruce Perry

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself. John Steinbeck

This capacity for empathy leads to a genuine encounter we have to progress toward this culture of encounter in which heart speaks to heart. Pope Francis

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa

The state of empathy, or being empathic, is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person. Carl Roger

If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. Atticus Finch

Empathy is forgetting oneself in the joys and sorrows of another, so much so that you actually feel that the joy or sorrow experienced by another is your own joy and sorrow. Empathy involves complete identification with another. Dada Vaswani

The opposite of anger is not calmness.  It’s empathy. Mehmet Oz

If you find yourself saying But I’m just being honest, chances are you’ve just been unkind. Honesty doesn’t heal. Empathy does. Dan Waldschmidt

There are two side to every issue. Ayn Rand

inspiring empathy quotes
  • Save

All men are born firstly with the instinct to protect themselves. But few grow to really love themselves, and even fewer learn to love their neighbor as themselves. Criss Jami

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours. Dolly Parton

If you look into someone’s face long enough, eventually you’re going to feel that you’re looking at yourself. Paul Auster

I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization. Roger Ebert

An exchange of empathy provides an entry point for a lot of people to see what healing feels like. Tarana Burke

Empathy grows as we learn. Alice Miller

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant? Henry David Thoreau

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up. Jesse Jackson

Empathy is the greatest virtue. From it, all virtues flow. Without it, all virtues are an act. Eric Zorn

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. Albert Schweitzer

I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person. Walt Whitman

meaningful empathy quotes
  • Save

No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. Theodore Roosevelt

Empathy speaks to us in those silent moments, away from our wounded ego and our wondering heart, in those empty spaces where questions run riot like lost and rejected soldiers it tells us that each soul is worthy, valued, loved, and honored and we only ever need to face our own shadows, our own pain and to be our own mirror. Christine Evangelou

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Epictetus

All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart. Tahereh Mafi

Don’t cast shadows on anyone unless you are providing shade. Terri Guillemets

Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. Jonathan Franzen

There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear. Frank Tyger

We need to teach our children empathy and care and love and communication and social responsibility in preparation for adulthood. Maya Soetoro

When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say. Abraham Lincoln

When good people consider you the bad guy, you develop a heart to help the bad ones. You actually understand them. Criss Jami

profound empathy quotes
  • Save

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know when it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If bullies actually believe that somebody loves them and believes in them, they will love themselves, they will become better people, and many will even become saviors to the bullied. Dan Pearce

Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.  Gautama Buddha

Practicing kindness increases our ability to be empathetic. It helps keep our hearts open. And that, truly, is the best way to live. Kristi Bowman

When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you. Susan Sarandon

The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other. Meryl Streep

Empathy may be the single most important quality that must be nurtured to give peace a fighting chance.  Arundhati Ray

Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms. Sterling K. Brown

Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins.  And it’s up to you to make that happen.  Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world. Barack Obama

Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other’s good, and melt at other’s woe. Homer

One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world. E. H. Mayoli

wise empathy quotes
  • Save

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. Leo Buscaglia

When a good man is hurt all who would be called good must suffer with him. Euripides

Have compassion and empathy in your heart. Many people are suffering deep emotional anguish beneath the surface of their lives, and smile even as they hurt inside. Jim Palmer

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. Henry Ford

If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Frederick Buechner

Empathy means both understanding others on their own terms and bringing them within the orbit of one’s own experience. Jacob A. Belzen

To embrace suffering culminates in greater empathy, the capacity to feel what it is like for the other to suffer, which is the ground for unsentimental compassion and love. Stephen Bachelor

Have you ever been surfing? Imagine you’re on your surfboard now, waiting for the big one to come. Get ready to get carried with that energy. Now, here it comes. That’s empathy. No words just being with that energy. When I connect with what’s alive in another person, I have feelings similar to when I’m surfing. Marshall Rosenberg

best empathy quotes
  • Save

If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void. Karen Armstrong

I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it. Maya Angelou

Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you do not have to fight. Traci Lea Larussa

Leadership is about empathy. Oprah Winfrey

The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them. Louis C.K.

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.  Simone Weil

The real test of love is loving those who we feel are the hardest ones to love. Criss Jami

If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.  Turkish Proverb

Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own. Barbara Kingsolver

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein

Empathy is one of humankind’s prized possessions. Acts of consideration and kindness are inevitable when a person can mentally step into someone else’s shoes. Even if it’s just for a moment. Izey Victoria Odiaze

deep empathy quotes
  • Save

The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. Meryl Streep

Whether it is rational or empirical, your approach to life must always be empathetic. Emotional intelligence is acquired when knowledge and empathy are combined and applied to situations regularly in everyday life. Stewart Stafford

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. Henri Nouwen

It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being. John Joseph Powell

If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. Daniel Goleman

The seeds of care and empathy are built into every human being and a variety of soils and fertilizers will allow those same seeds to grow and flourish. Gudjon Bergman

Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself. Mohsin Hamid

Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize? Marcus Aurelius

When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection or compassionate action. Daniel Goleman

empathy quotes
  • Save

It’s dangerous to think of yourself as a hero and someone else as a villain. It gets in the way of empathy. Megan Ganz

All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.  Samantha Power

Anyone who has experienced a certain amount of loss in their life has empathy for those who have experienced loss. Anderson Cooper

Humans aren’t as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy. Neil deGrasse Tyson

There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world. Mary Anne Radmacher

Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self control. Steven Pinker

If we can get man to the moon, we can get man to walk in each other’s shoes. Mary Gordon

I believe that stories are incredibly important, possibly in ways we don’t understand, in allowing us to make sense of our lives, in allowing us to escape our lives, in giving us empathy and in creating the world that we live in. Neil Gaiman

Experiencing terrible pain opens our hearts and minds to express compassion for other people and communion with ourselves. Kilroy J. Oldster

What separates humans from other animals is our empathy. With the possible exception of bonobos, we are the most empathetic animal on the planet. Andy Dunn

You should not judge; you should understand. Ernest Hemingway

Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn. Alice Miller

Resilience is, of course, necessary for a warrior. But a lack of empathy isn’t. Phil Klay

famous empathy quotes
  • Save

The second you think that all your good fortune is a product of your virtue, you become highly judgmental, lacking empathy, totally without self awareness, arrogant, stupid I mean, all the stuff that our ruling class is. Tucker Carlson

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

Empathy is choosing to see ourselves in another despite our differences. It’s recognizing that the same humanity the same desire for meaning, fulfillment and security exists in each of us, even if it’s expressed uniquely. Vivek Murthy

In my view, the best of humanity is in our exercise of empathy and compassion. It’s when we challenge ourselves to walk in the shoes of someone whose pain or plight might seem so different than yours that it’s almost incomprehensible. Sarah McBride

Whenever you feel like criticizing any one just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. F. Scott Fitzgerald

I don’t know whether your heart ever necessarily changes, but time changes the way that you perceive the world. And you just hope it gives you more empathy and all those other things. Mark Knopfler

We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African American or gay or disabled or old  and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges. Barack Obama

One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone. Shannon L. Alder

Stories teach us empathy. They reveal to us ourselves in the skins of others. Justin Simien

Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Marshall B. Rosenberg

We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits empathy, self awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior. Graydon Carter

The little things you do can be very significant to others. Wayne Gerard Trotman

I’ve always thought of acting as more of an exercise in empathy, which is not to be confused with sympathy. You’re trying to get inside a certain emotional reality or motivational reality and try to figure out what that’s about so you can represent it. Edward Norton

Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes. Steve Martin

Empathy and social skills are social intelligence, the interpersonal part of emotional intelligence. That’s why they look alike. Daniel Goleman

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffe

A lot of very successful businessmen share some of these sociopathic traits a lack of empathy, seeing people as commodities, projecting an air of sincerity when everything is actually calculated. Oscar Isaac

Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort. Roy T. Bennett

We must broaden the definition of who our neighbors are, and extend the boundaries of our interest and empathy. Wendy Kopp

Empathy depends not only on one’s ability to identify someone else’s emotions but also on one’s capacity to put oneself in the other person’s place and to experience an appropriate emotional response. Charles G. Morris

Because I teach and write about depression and bipolar illness, I am often asked what is the most important factor in treating bipolar disorder. My answer is competence. Empathy is important, but competence is essential. Kay Redfield Jamison

When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems. Stephen Covey

Movies that encourage empathy are more effective than those that objectify problems. Roger Ebert

A focus on empathy is just what is needed to make the world a better place for all animals, humans, and nonhuman alike. Marc Bekoff

I feel like songwriting is an experiment in empathy. Zooey Deschanel

If you aren’t humble, whatever empathy you claim is false and probably results from some arrogance or the desire to control. But true empathy is rooted in humility and the understanding that there are many people with as much to contribute in life as you. Anand Mahindra

I always think that if you look at anyone in detail, you will have empathy for them because you recognize them as a human being, no matter what they’ve done. Andrea Arnold

We cannot transform negativity into the positive without empathy, and we cannot truly understand empathy without experiencing it in our present life, in our past, and in our future. Brian L. Weiss

Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. Daniel H. Pink

Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while. Malorie Blackman

The greater good is achieved by not only telling people what they need to know but also filling them with a sense of empathy and love. Abigail Disney

No one reaches out to you for compassion or empathy so you can teach them how to behave better. They reach out to us because they believe in our capacity to know our darkness well enough to sit in the dark with them. Brene Brown

Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It’s the impetus for creating change. Max Carver

One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding is sufficient. Charles M. Blow

Women are, in my view, natural peacemakers. As givers and nurturers of life, through their focus on human relationships and their engagement with the demanding work of raising children and protecting family life, they develop a deep sense of empathy that cuts through to underlying human realities. Daisaku Ikeda

The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart. Rasheed Ogonlaru

Empathy is a necessary step for truth and reconciliation. Simon Baron Cohen

It’s got to do with putting yourself in other people’s shoes and seeing how far you can come to truly understand them. I like the empathy that comes from acting. Christian Bale

Empathy represents the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work. Daniel Goleman

Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver. Diane Ackerman

What you don’t realize is that the world does not need more perfection. It needs more compassion and empathy. Tessa Dare

No human heart is denied empathy. No religion can demolish that by indoctrination. No culture, no nation and nationalism nothing can touch it because it is empathy. Dayananda Saraswati

Empathy nurtures wisdom. Apathy cultivates ignorance. Suzy Kassem

This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy. Alice Walker

People complain not because something sucks. People complain because they’re looking for empathy and to feel connected with those around them. Unfortunately, complaining is maybe the least useful way to connect with other human beings. Mark Manson

Universal basic income is not a solution in search of a problem it is the obvious solution that has been in front of us for years. It only requires us to have the vision, empathy and courage to adopt it for the American people before it is too late. Andrew Yang

The highest form of knowledge is empathy. Bill Bullard

Machines are becoming devastatingly capable of things like killing. Those machines have no place for empathy. There’s billions of dollars being spent on that. Character robotics could plant the seed for robots that actually have empathy. David Hanson

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. John Holmes