51 Heartfelt Empathy Quotes To Gain Perspective

You want to better understand empathy and how to apply it in your life.

And one of the best ways to do this is to read quotes about empathy from those who understand it better than you do. 

Maybe they’ve learned to make the most of their ability to empathize with others.

Or maybe they’ve learned to empathize without feeling perpetually overwhelmed. 

A single empathy quote can provide just the insight you need at this moment.

We hope you find more than one of these in this list of 51 quotes.

1. “I learn from my own daughter that you don’t have to be awake to cry.” ― Jodi Picoult

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

3. “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.” ―Barak Obama

4. “I did not know how to reach him, how to catch up with him… The land of tears is so mysterious.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

5. “Help someone, you earn a friend. Help someone too much, you make an enemy.” ― Erol Ozan

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

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

8. “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Empathy Quotes by Harper Lee
15. “Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?” ― Harper Lee

16. “Don’t cast shadows on anyone unless you are providing shade.” – Terri Guillemets

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

18. “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.’” – Brene Brown

19. “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

20. “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

Empathy Quotes by Meryl Streep
21. “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

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

23. “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

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

25. “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

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

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

28. “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

29. “One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.” —Charles M. Blow

30. “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

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

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

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

34. “Sooner or later in life, we will all take our own turn being in the position we once had someone else in.” ― Ashly Lorenzana

35. “How easy it is to invent a humanity, for anyone at all.” ― Margaret Atwood

36. “Empaths did not come into this world to be victims, we came to be warriors. Be brave. Stay strong. We need all hands on deck.” ― Anthon St. Maarten

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

38. Stay connected to feel empathy, compassion, and understanding for yourself and others.” —-Vanessa Tucker

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

40. “Empathy is a skill like any other human skill. If you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it.” —Professor Simon Baron Cohen

41. “The functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.” —Dean Koontz

Empathy Quotes by Oprah Winfrey
42. “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

43. “Only by examining our personal biases can we grow as artists; only by cultivating empathy can we grow as people.” ― Jen Knox

44. “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

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

46. “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

47. “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

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

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

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

51. “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


Now that you’ve looked through these 51 quotes on empathy, which ones spoke directly to you? Which quote are you most likely to repeat to yourself? 

Or which quote reminds you of an empathetic soul you care about? Find a way to share those words with them today. You never know what good they might do. 

With all the negative feelings you might pick up on, quotes that remind you of the bigger picture can provide the stability you need. Savor one of them today.

Having empathy constantly can be really hard Use this list of empathy quotes to help you be more empathic.