Empathy and compassion are two qualities that make us human. They allow us to connect with others on a deeper level. They help us to form and improve relationships personally and in the workplace.
Empathy is the ability to understand, be aware of, or share another’s feelings or thoughts. Compassion is a feeling of concern for the pain someone else may be feeling. It can take many forms, including sympathy, kindness, and love.
Being empathetic is more than feeling sorry for someone else; you are actually trying to imagine the situation from their point of view, by putting yourself ‘in their shoes.’
Both empathy and compassion are essential to our humanness, because they allow us to connect with one another in a deeper way. However, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say and do when others are going through a tough time. If you’re struggling to find the right words, then the following can help.
How Do You Show Empathy & Compassion?
As being empathic is trying to understand a situation from another person’s perspective, the best place you can start is there.
- How would I feel if that was happening to me?
- Understanding them like I do, how would they be feeling right now in this situation?
Once you’ve considered how they might be feeling, you can be empathetic by:
- acknowledging their struggles (i.e “That sounds really tough“, “I’m sorry you are going through this.”)
- offer your assistance (i.e “How can I help?”, “I’m here when you need me“)
Asking what someone needs, how they’re feeling or if there is anything you can do to help. The idea behind these statements is not only to express concern but also let the person know that their feelings matter. These expressions make people feel less alone in troubling times. Even though we may not be able to solve a problem, our empathetic words will still provide comfort by acknowledging another person’s pain.
Quotes About Empathy and Compassion
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
“Empathy and social skills are social intelligence, the interpersonal part of emotional intelligence. That’s why they look alike.” Daniel Goleman
“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” Walt Whitman
“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” Unknown
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
“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 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
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” Mohsin Hamid
“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
“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” Meryl Streep
“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.” Samantha Power
“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.” Malorie Blackman
“You don’t teach morals and ethics and empathy and kindness in the schools. You teach that at home, and children learn by example.” Judy Sheindlin
“In separateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength.” Buddha
“We need to teach our children empathy and care and love and communication and social responsibility in preparation for adulthood.” Maya Soetoro-Ng
“My background is in arts education and we know, absolutely for a fact, that there is no better way for kids to learn critical thinking skills, communication skills, things like empathy and tolerance. This is true across every boundary, across cultural boundaries, across socioeconomic, it’s a great leveler in terms of unifying our world.” Emma Walton Hamilton
“We are all different. Don’t judge, understand instead.” Roy T. Bennet
“Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.” Dalai Lama
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway
“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” Brene Brown
“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” Maya Angelou
“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” Charles Glassman
“Love and Compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion.” Dalai Lama
“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
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Mother Theresa
“Empathy is the ability to step outside of your own bubble and into the bubbles of other people.” C. Joybell
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama
“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
“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
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” Susan Sarandon
“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
“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves.” Pema Chodron
The power of empathy and compassion are often overlooked. We can’t always be perfect; however, we have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life every day. It starts with simple gestures like listening or lending an ear when somebody needs it most.
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