67 Empathy Quotes to Help You Live a Kinder and More Compassionate Life

Empathy Quotes to Help You Live a Kinder and More Compassionate Life


Such an often underrated but important part of life. 

So in this post I’d like to share the best quotes on empathy I’ve found.

Timeless thoughts that can help us to grow our emotional intelligence and become more compassionate. To improve and deepen our relationships with and understanding of others.

And to help us create a more loving and kind world.

I hope you’ll find these thoughts as helpful and inspiring as I have.

And if you want more inspiration then check out this post with quotes on overcoming adversity and this one filled with thoughts on inner peace.

67 Uplifting and Motivating Empathy Quotes

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.”
Elvis Presley

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. 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 is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.”
Alfred Adler

“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
Bill Bullard

“Empathy grows as we learn.”
Alice Miller

“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

“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

“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

“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.”
Carl Rogers

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.”
George Washington Carver

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

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

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

“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

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
Dale Carnegie

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
Brené Brown

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

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

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“We judge what we don’t understand.”

“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

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

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

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
James Baldwin

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

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

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
Frank A. Clark

“It’s the hardest thing in the world to go on being aware of someone else’s pain.”
Pat Barker

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.”
Dean Koontz

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

“The death of human empathy is one of the earliest and most telling signs of a culture about to fall into barbarism.”
Hannah Arendt

“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

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.”
Oprah Winfrey

“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

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
Ernest Hemingway

“When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.”

“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.”
Brené Brown

“It’s not so much the journey that’s important; as is the way that we treat those we encounter and those around us, along the way.”
Jeremy Aldana

 “Compassion, empathy, and love are the real pillars we need to build within ourselves to become human.”

“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 Bonhoeffer

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

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

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

“As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves.”
Martha C. Nussbaum

“We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.”
Michel de Montaigne

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

“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

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

“I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“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

“I think the act of reading imbues the reader with a sensitivity toward the outside world that people who don’t read can sometimes lack. I know it seems like a contradiction in terms; after all reading is such a solitary, internalizing act that it appears to represent a disengagement from day-to-day life. But reading, and particularly the reading of fiction, encourages us to view the world in new and challenging ways… It allows us to inhabit the consciousness of another which is a precursor to empathy, and empathy is, for me, one of the marks of a decent human being.”
John Connolly

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

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

“Be me a little.”
John Ajvide Lindqvist

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

“It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.”
Daisaku Ikeda

“Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
Joseph Fort Newton

“Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness.”

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

Want even more motivation? Have a look at 83 Patience Quotes to Help You to Keep Pushing and Achieve Your Dreams.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Subscribe to The Positivity Newsletter and get weekly tips on happiness, self-esteem and plenty more.

You’ll also get three free guides on how to stop being lazy, what to do when life sucks and 21 things I wish they’d taught me in school.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thank you for these.
    I think we could all use to give and receive a little empathy this year.

    Pay it forward by showing empathy for everyone around you.
    Jason Andrew

  • Empathy is important for our spiritual development.

    The ability to place the welfare of others above our own is what sets us apart from animals.
    Khun Greg

  • Paulette

    This was very inspiring and needed considering we all judge at some point. A great reminder, to stop next time maybe be empathetic instead. Thank you!