Empathy Quotes (125) Spiritual Sayings

Summary: Definition of Empathy. The feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings.


This is a wonderful planet, and it is being completely destroyed by people who have too much money and power and no empathy. 
~ Alice Walker

Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it's accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another's eyes or heart. 
~ Sue Monk Kidd

Because a human being is endowed with empathy, he violates the natural order if he does not reach out to those who need care. Responding to this empathy, one is in harmony with the order of things, with dharma; otherwise, one is not. 
~ Dayananda Saraswati

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

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
~ Simone Weil

I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate - it's apathy. It's not giving a damn.
~ Leo Buscaglia

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

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
~ Ernest Hemingway

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
~ Scott Adams

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 Kubler-Ross

Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

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

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.
~ Albert Einstein

There are many respects in which America, if it can bring itself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to its size and power, can be an intelligent example to the world.
~ J. William Fulbright

Empathy takes time, and efficiency is for things, not people.
~ Stephen Covey

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.
~ Martin Farquhar Tupper

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.
~ Harper Lee

Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.
~ Plutarch

Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other's good, and melt at other's woe.
~ Homer

True contentment comes with empathy.
~ Tim Finn 

There is also a natural and very, very strong empathy with the underdog, with people who have suffered, people who have been pushed around by foreigners in particular, but also by their own people.
~ Lakhdar Brahimi

Anyone who has experienced a certain amount of loss in their life has empathy for those who have experienced loss.
~ Anderson Cooper

I'm less interested in slasher, and go more for roles that can affect you on a personal level. I'm interested in human empathy in the movies I see, and in the ones I am a part of.
~ Joshua Leonard

I'm cursed with empathy. I'm also by nature way too opinionated.
~ John Shirley

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

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

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.
~ Karl A. Menninger

The struggle of my life created empathy - I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Sometimes I'm asked by kids why I condemn marijuana when I haven't tried it. The greatest obstetricians in the world have never been pregnant.
~ Art Linkletter

There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels for someone, for someone, pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echos.
~ Milan Kundera

Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Instead of offering empathy, we often have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling. Empathy, however, calls upon us to empty our mind and listen to others with our whole being.
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

The functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy.
~ Dean Koontz

I hope to leave my children a sense of empathy and pity and a will to right social wrongs
~ Anita Roddick

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It's the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else's pain is as meaningful as your own.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

Empathy is the most radical of human emotions.
~ Gloria Steinem

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
~ Pema Chodron

seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.
~ Alfred Adler

We need empathy, we need the eyes that still can weep.
~ Lydia Millet

Writing is transcendental. It is a form of expression, a form of art that you can take anywhere. That you can do anywhere. It poses the deepest questions in the universe. It generates emotion. It elicits empathy, promotes learning, creates an intellect you simply cannot get from any other medium. For me, it is air.
~ Darynda Jones

Leadership is about empathy.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.
~ Daniel Goleman 

When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air.
~ Stephen Covey

Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.
~ Daniel Goleman

Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.
~ Alice Miller

I have absolutely no empathy for camels. I didn't care for being abused in the Middle East by those horrible, horrible, horrible creatures. They don't like people. It's not at all like the relationship between horses and humans.
~ Rachel Weisz

I have been under considerable pressure to buy at least a laptop computer. I have always turned the suggestions down for the reason that I have never done creative work on a typewriter. There is to me a lack of empathy.
~ Winston Graham

I think empathy is a beautiful thing. I think that's the power of film though. We have one of the most powerful, one of the greatest communicative tools known to man.
~ Michelle Rodriguez

Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.
~ Dean Koontz

'Empathy' is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn't pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.
~ Karl Rove

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
~ Henry David Thoreau

People who work on the user interface side need to have empathy as a key characteristic. But if you are writing device drivers you don't really need to understand humans so well.
~ Andy Hertzfeld

Empathy grows as we learn.
~ Alice Miller

What Mr. Obama wants in a nominee isn't really 'empathy' and 'understanding.' He wants a liberal, activist Supreme Court justice.
~ Karl Rove

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

Are you then unable to recognize unless it has the same sound as yours?
~ Andre Gide

When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him.
~ Euripides

Empathy frequently informs our earliest days with our infants as we try to figure out what they need, how to comfort and satisfy them.
~ Katherine Ellison

To perceive is to suffer.
~ Aristotle

The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another. But the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty to the ear, or to the mind.
~ Zhuangzi

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who ever had been alive. Only if we face these open wounds in ourselves can we understand them in other people.
~ James A. Baldwin

Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.
~ Zhuangzi

Love is that enviable state that knows no envy or vanity, only empathy and a longing to be greater than oneself....
~ Joe McMahon 

Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

If you think ahead to what to say next - like how to fix it or make the person feel better - BOOM! Off the board. You're into the future. Empathy requires staying with the energy that's here right now. Not using any technique. Just being present. When I have really connected to this energy, it's like I wasn't there. I call this "watching the magic show". In this presence, a very precious energy works through us that can heal anything, and this relieves me from my "fix-it" tendencies.
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

I wouldn't expect someone who's been injured to hear my side until they felt that I had fully understood the depth of their pain.
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

Often, instead of offering empathy, we have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling.
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

I think the act of reading imbues the reader with a sensitivity toward the outside world that people who don't read can sometimes lack. I know it seems like a contradiction in terms; after all reading is such a solitary, internalizing act that it appears to represent a disengagement from day-to-day life. But reading, and particularly the reading of fiction, encourages us to view the world in new and challenging ways...It allows us to inhabit the consciousness of another which is a precursor to empathy, and empathy is, for me, one of the marks of a decent human being.
~ John Connolly

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
~ William Shakespeare

It is not learning we need at all. Individuals need learning but the culture needs something else, the pulse of light on the sea, the warm urge of huddling together to keep out the cold. We need empathy, we need the eyes that still can weep.
~ Lydia Millet

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

If I'm talking to someone in a crowded room, I try to make this person feel as though we're the only ones present. I shut out everything else. I look directly at the person. Even if a gorilla were to walk into the room, I probably wouldn't notice it.
~ Mary Kay Ash

In a democracy, a man who does not listen cannot lead.
~ David S. Broder

Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart.
~ Nhat Hanh

Listening is a very deep practice. You have to empty yourself. You have to leave space in order to listen especially to people we think are our enemies - the ones we believe are making our situation worse. When you have shown your capacity for listening and understanding, the other person will begin to listen to you, and you have a change to tell him or her of your pain, and it's your turn to be healed. This is the practice of peace.
~ Nhat Hanh

We all are born with a certain package. We are who we are: where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We're kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people. And for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.
~ Roger Ebert

Photography is an investigation of both the outer and the inner worlds. The first experiences with the camera involve looking at the world beyond the lens, trusting the instrument will 'capture' something 'seen.' The terms shoot and take are not accidental; they represent an attitude of conquest and appropriation. Only when the photographer grows into perception and creative impulse does the term make define a condition of empathy between the external and the internal events.
~ Ansel Adams

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

I think people perceive my creatures as absurd because they look different, but at the same time, they are a little bit familiar. I want people to feel a kind of empathy with them. When you think about it, all nature is kind of strange looking.. in fact, I'm a strange a looking creature.
~ Patricia Piccinini

I'm still learning about music. The best way to learn is to listen to the audience. When you listen to the audience, they will tell you what they like. I wish these big corporations, instead of telling the audience what they should have, would listen.
~ Tony Bennett

I believe I know why it is satisfying to me to hear someone. When I can really hear someone, it puts me in touch with him; it enriches my life. It is through hearing people that I have learned all that I know about individuals, about personality, about interpersonal relationships.
~ Carl Rogers

When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, "Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it's like to be me".
~ Carl Rogers

The most important thing is that we need to be understood. We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us. Then we will suffer less.
~ Nhat Hanh

The state of empathy, or being empathic, is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person.
~ Carl Rogers

The purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize with other people... For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy.
~ Roger Ebert 

We have to understand in order to be of help. We all have pain, but we tend to suppress it, because we don't want it to come up to our living room. the most important thing is that we need to be understood. We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us, then we will suffer less, but everyone is suffering, and no one wants to listen. We don't know how to express ourselves so that people can understand. because we suffer so much, the way we express our pain hurts other people, and they don't want to listen.
~ Nhat Hanh

To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the "as if" condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth.
~ Carl Rogers

Not to him who is offensive to us are we most unfair, but to him who doth not concern us at all.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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

There is zero correlation between IQ and emotional empathy... They're controlled by different parts of the brain.
~ Daniel Goleman

Another reason I think the novel will survive is that the reader has to work in a novel. In a film, you are presented with someone else's imagination exactly bodied out. The marvelous thing about a novel is that every reader will imagine even the very simplest sentence slightly differently.
~ John Fowles

I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you'd get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.
~ Nikki Giovanni

No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.
~ Mignon McLaughlin

Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction 'Love the neighbor as thyself.'
~ George McGovern

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person.
~ William Fritz

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings.
~ Helen Keller

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

Normal people have an incredible lack of empathy. They have good emotional empathy, but they don't have much empathy for the autistic kid who is screaming at the baseball game because he can't stand the sensory overload. Or the autistic kid having a meltdown in the school cafeteria because there's too much stimulation.
~ Temple Grandin

Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.
~ Michael Gove

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.
~ Marge Piercy

Try to see it my way, only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong. While you see it your way, there's a chance that we might fall apart before too long. We can work it out. W e can work it out.
~ John Lennon

I started young but at every turn, listening provided a foundation for my leadership. I can say categorically that all the really excellent leaders I have known were, in my view, excellent listeners.
~ Joe Shuster

Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.
~ Izaak Walton

True kindness presupposes the faculty of imagining as one's own the suffering and joys of others.
~ Andre Gide

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
~ Henry David Thoreau

When a friend speaks to me, whatever he says is interesting.
~ Jean Renoir

Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.
~ Mary Martin 

Traits like humility, courage, and empathy are easily overlooked - but it's immensely important to find them in your closest relationships.
~ Laura Linney

When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.
~ Yann Martel

Literature sucks you into another psyche. So the creation of empathy necessarily influences how you'll behave to other people.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

Only by examining our personal biases can we truly grow as artists; only by cultivating empathy can we truly grow as people.
~ Jen Knox

To embrace suffering culminates in greater empathy, the capacity to feel what it is like for the other to suffer, which is the ground for unsentimental compassion and love. (157)
~ Stephen Batchelor

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

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 B. Rosenberg

The art of listening needs its highest development in listening to oneself; our most important task is to develop an ear that can really hear what we're saying.
~ Sydney J. Harris

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

I think we are living in selfish times. I'm the first one to say that I'm the most selfish. We live in the so-called 'first world,' and we may be first in a lot of things like technology, but we are behind in empathy.
~ Javier Bardem

The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself.
~ George Bernard Shaw

If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.
~ Frederick Buechner

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak. They're filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people's lives.
~ Stephen Covey

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

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.
~ Brené Brown

Empathy may be the single most important quality that must be nurtured to give peace a fighting chance.
~ Arundhati Roy 

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​Empathy Quotes - (125) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
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