50 Empathy Quotes That Explain The Importance Of Compassion

We could all use a little more empathy and understanding.

empathy quotes

Too often we are told to suck it up or get over it in times of trouble when all we really need is a little empathy and compassion. These empathy quotes that explain why, without the two, the world would be such a dark place.

Empathy is important because it allows us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and feel their emotion.

If you aren’t sure how to express it, try words of empathy. We sometimes forget that it can be incredibly comforting to feel understood and supported. Rather than quickly trying to solve your friend’s problem, validate their feelings first, and show that you are there for them always.


If you have never been through something as traumatic as what they are experiencing, don’t fake understanding. Instead, say, "I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I am here for you."

The bottom line is to show support for your friend or loved one and make them aware that you understand the level of pain they are experiencing.

Best Empathy Quotes

RELATED: People With These 5 Personality Traits Have No Idea What Empathy Means


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

2. “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

3. “Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.” – Neil Gaiman

4. “Human morality is unthinkable without empathy.” — Frans de Waal

empathy quotes

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

6. “A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain.” — Daniel Goleman

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

8. “Empathy is important, openness, honesty, and an understanding for others.” — Niko Kovac

9. “This precious thing of empathy and love and understanding is something we have to hold and appreciate and protect.” — Kamasi Washington

10. “I know it might sound weird, but empathy is one of the greatest creators of energy. It’s counterintuitive because it’s selfless.” — Angela Ahrendts

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

12. “If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” — Brene Brown

13. “Empathy is the medicine the world needs.” — Judith Orloff

empathy quotes


14. “Empathy is like giving someone a psychological hug.” — Lawrence J

15. “An empathic person is a good listener, patient, understanding, and kind.” — Laura Raskin

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

17. “Empathy works so well because it does not require a solution. It requires only understanding.” — John Medina

18. “Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world through the other person’s eyes. It is not learned in school, it is cultivated over a lifetime.” — Albert Einstein

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

20. “Love, empathy, compassion, sensitivity, and acts of kindness are the foundation of life.” — Anand

21. “We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll

empathy quotes

22. “I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” — Robert Ebert

23. “The highest form of knowledge is empathy.” — Bill Bullard

24. “True contentment comes with empathy.” — Tim Finn

25. “Compassion is a verb.” — Nhat Hanh

RELATED: What People Mean When They Talk About Empathy — And Why It's So Important

26. “We need to have empathy. When we lose empathy, we lose our humanity.” — Goldie Hawn

27. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” — Harper Lee

28. “Empathy is the most radical of human emotions.” — Gloria Steinem

29. “Empathy is communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘you are not alone.’” — Brene Brown

empathy quotes


30. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” — Ian MacLaren

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

32. “Empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person.” — Heinz Kohut

33. “Empathy is the essential building block for compassion.” — Daniel Goleman

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

35. “Looking at various means of developing compassion, I think empathy is an important factor, the ability to appreciate others suffering.” — Dalai Lama

36. “Our brains are wired for survival, but also for empathy.” — Melanie Greenburg

37. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” — Dalai Lama

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

empathy quotes

39. “I don’t think of compassion as sympathy but rather as empathy. An understanding of how people are feeling, which often translates into action.” — Hazel Hawke

40. “Empathy is walking a mile in somebody else’s moccasins. Sympathy is being sorry their feet hurt.” — Rebecca O’Donnell

41. “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” — Henry David Thoreau

42. “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” — Jack Kornfield

43. “True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” — Daniel Goleman

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

45. “I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.” — Jacinda Ardern

empathy quotes


46. “There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.” — John Connolly

47. “We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.” — Desmond Tutu

48. “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

49. “Empathy, compassion, love are consequences of a human being acting in a certain way, you nurture the root, fruit will happen.” — Sadgahn

50. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai Lama

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Lindsey Matthews is a writer who covers love and relationships, news, and pop-culture topics.