Quotes About Empathy That Inspire Compassion & Understanding

A powerful collection of quotes all about empathy. The ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.

Empathy is one of the most important traits a person can have. It allows us to understand and share the feelings of others, and it’s essential for forming and maintaining strong, meaningful relationships.

These quotes on empathy can help to highlight just how important it is to be empathetic to others, but also how we also need that level of understanding from those around us too.  

empathy quotes

Empathy Quotes


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


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


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


“Empathy is understanding the sorrow or loss of another person. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine how you would feel” Byron Pulsifer


“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


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


“I call him religious who understands the suffering of others.” Mahatma Gandhi


“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


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


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


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


“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’” Brené Brown


“The opposite of anger is not calmness, its empathy.” Mehmet Oz


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


“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


“Feeling too much is a hell of a lot better than feeling nothing.” Nora Roberts


“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


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


“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.” Brené Brown


Quotes About Empathy


“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


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


“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 struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.” Oprah Winfrey


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


“I think the very idea of character, of developing not just grit, but empathy and curiosity, emotional intelligence – you know, the things that I want my own daughters to develop – the idea that we’re going to get there through rewards and punishments seems completely at odds with the idea of character itself.” Angela Duckworth


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


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


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


“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


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


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



Empathy is what allows us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. It is what allows us to feel compassion for others, and it is what allows us to truly connect with other people.

If you want to be a good friend, a good partner, or simply a good human being, developing your empathy is essential. For further reading on compassion and empathy in relationships, be sure to check out:

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