You don’t understand the importance of compassion until someone treats you with the opposite — when someone sees you only as someone deserving of judgment and contempt.
We all fail. We all need to receive compassion — at least from the people we trust. And we all need to practice compassion in order to grow and to help others do the same.
The 57 compassion quotes in this post can help you to both give and receive compassion with grace and gratitude.
57 Uplifting Compassion Quotes
“The real road of compassion, that is, giving, helping, assistance and community service, is a road that can be set and declared as your life's purpose.” – Byron Pulsifer
“As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment and curiosity over fear.” – Tracee Ellis Ross
“When you have learned compassion for yourself, compassion for others is automatic.” – Henepola Gunaratana
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” – Dalai Lama
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Compassion is a two way street.” – Frank Capra
“One of women’s greatest values is compassion.” – Safak Pavey
“Compassion is so pure, I don’t think there is any way to taint it.” – Chade-Meng Tan
“Human it is to have compassion on the unhappy.” – Giovanni Boccaccio
“Compassion is the key to living outside the confines of your lower self.” – Debbie Ford
“Compassion is to look beyond your own pain, to see the pain of others.” Yasmin Mogahed
“When compassion wakes up in us, we find ourselves more willing to become vulnerable, to take the risk of entering the pain of others.” – Sue Monk Kidd
“Compassion knows that choosing the higher road in any situation is the most loving option for you.” – Debbie Ford
“Compassion has enemies, and those enemies are things like pity, moral outrage, fear.” – Joan Halifax
“Compassion is more important than intellect in calling forth the love that the work of peace needs, and intuition can often be a far more powerful searchlight than cold reason.” – Betty Williams
“Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.” – Chogyam Trungpa
“It’s hard to practice compassion when we’re struggling with our authenticity or when our own worthiness is off-balance.” – Brene Brown
“Compassion is a practically acquired knowledge, like dancing. You must do it and practice diligently day by day.” – Karen Armstrong
“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” – Daniel Goleman
“I think we learn the most from imperfect relationships – things like forgiveness and compassion.” – Andrea Thompson
“Pets have more love and compassion in them than most humans.” – Robert Wagner
“Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion – towards ourselves and towards all living beings.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Make no judgments where you have no compassion.” – Anne McCaffrey
“Some people are filled by compassion and a desire to do good, and some simply don’t think anything’s going to make a difference.” – Meryl Streep
“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” – Mason Cooley
“Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.” – Hubert H. Humphrey
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“Compassion is loving others enough to say or do what is appropriate from an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome.” – Gary Zukav
“She has no imagination and that means no compassion.” – Michael Foot
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” – Steve Maraboli
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Compassion is the chief law of human existence.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer
“It is much easier to show compassion to animals. They are never wicked.” – Haile Selassie
“The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.” – Norman Cousins
“Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.” – Simone Weil
“Humanity's collective mission in the cosmos lies in the practice of compassion.” – Dalsaku Ikeda
“Out of compassion I destroy the darkness of their ignorance. From within them I light the lamp of wisdom and dispel all darkness from their lives.” – Bhagavad Gita
“Compassion is the desire that moves the individual self to widen the scope of its self-concern to embrace the whole of the universal self.” – Arnold Toynbee
“With compassion one becomes courageous. Compassion brings triumph when attacked; it brings security when maintained.” – Tao Te Ching
“I find that in the 21st century, there's not a lot of compassion for what other people are going through or the walk that they have to walk.” – Tori Amos
“People who have been through painful, difficult times are filled with compassion.” – Amy Grant
“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“Compassion is a foundation for sharing our aliveness and building a more humane world.” – Martin Lowenthal
“Cultivating compassion for ourselves and others can bring balance and harmony to our lives in a way we never dreamed of.” – Thubten Chodron
“Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.” – Amish proverb
“Like many things in life, your compassion is a skill that can be exercised.” – Simeon Lindstrom
“Converting your energy to compassion and understanding, once you accept this reality, helps our own healing; that type of energy is more positive and calming.” – Lisa Kardos
“Until you have real compassion, you cannot recognize love.” – Bob Thurman
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein
“No matter who we are, no matter how successful, no matter what our situation, compassion is something we all need to receive and give.” – Catherine Pulsifer
“There never was any heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate.” – Robert Frost
“That is what compassion does. It challenges our assumptions, our sense of self-limitation, worthlessness, of not having a place in the world. As we develop compassion, our hearts open.” – Sharon Salzberg
“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.” – Pema Chodron
“One of the secrets of inner peace is the practice of compassion.” – Dalai Lama
How will you use these compassion quotes?
I hope you enjoyed these quotes about compassion, and that they inspire you today as you interact with others — including those who consistently refuse to treat others (or themselves) with compassion.
Treating them with compassion may not change them. But it won’t harm them or anyone else, either. Compassion isn’t about being “nice” and letting people walk all over you; it’s about being kind to others even when they make it difficult.
And it’s about recognizing each person’s unique and unerasable dignity — seeing the soul behind the critical words and unkind actions.
Did any of these compassion quotes stand out for you? Write them down somewhere you’ll remember them. Write a favorite quote on your bathroom mirror or on a whiteboard you see every day.
May your compassion toward others (and your self-compassion) bring light and warmth to every soul you touch today.