150 Empathy Quotes to Help You Understand People

Want some quotes about understanding people’s feelings?

Well, you’re in the right place because we’ve prepared 150 quotes on empathy, the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place.

Let’s read some quotes and learn from other people’s perspectives.

Check out the full list below.

And make sure to read these caring quotes and compassion quotes too.

Best Empathy Quotes

Empathy Quotes - Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it's very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.

1. “Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it’s very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.” – Jonathan Haidt.

2. “If you want more kindness in the world, put some there.” – Zero Dean

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

4. “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” – Jesse Jackson

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

6. “Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.” – Marshall B. Rosenberg

7. “When good people consider you the bad guy, you develop a heart to help the bad ones. You actually understand them.” – Criss Jami

8. “The little things you do can be very significant to others.” – Wayne Gerard Trotman

9. “Wearing another’s skin is the most effective way to learn sympathy.” – A. G. Howard

Also read: Revenge Quotes

Famous Empathy Quotes

Empathy Quotes - Empathy is a special way of coming to know another and yourself.

10. “Empathy is a special way of coming to know another and yourself.” – Carl R. Rogers

11. “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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

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

14. “There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than love.” – Gregory Boyle

15. “People need people who show that they care.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

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

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

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

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

Profound Empathy Quotes

Empathy Quotes - Empathy requires knowing that you know nothing.

20. “Empathy requires knowing that you know nothing.” – Leslie Jamison

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

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

23. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee

24. “If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void.” – Karen Armstrong

25. “If we can get a man to the moon, we can get a man to walk in each other’s shoes.” – Mary Gordon

26. “It is true that I am endowed with an absurd sensitiveness, what scratches others tears me to pieces.” – Gustave Flaubert

27. “It is weak that expresses aggressiveness to show strength. But real strength, it’s in the gentle.” – Nurudeen Ushawu

28. “Empathy is the gateway; compassion is the way.” – Scott Perry

29. “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

Short Empathy Quotes

Empathy Quotes - One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.

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

31. “The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

32. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

33. “Empathy is connection; it’s a ladder out of the shame hole” – Brené Brown

34. “Empathy is like giving someone a psychological hug.” – Lawrence J

35. “When a good man is hurt all who would be called good must suffer with him.” – Euripides

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

37. “Every compassionate act makes large the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

38. “We have to teach empathy as we do literacy.” – Bill Drayton

39. “We need empathy, we need the eyes that still can weep.” – Lydia Millet

Empathy Quotes Towards Other People

Empathy Quotes - When people talk, listen completely.

40. “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

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

42. “Empathy means both understanding others on their own terms and bringing them within the orbit of one’s own experience.” – Jacob A. Belzen

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

44. “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

45. “Empathetic presence involves listening to someone’s pain with what I call the five A’s: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing.” – David Richo

46. “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.” – Barack Obama

47. “Treat people with understanding when you can, and fake it when you can’t until you do understand.” – Kim Harrison

48. “Those who are governed by reason desire nothing for themselves which they do not desire for the rest of humankind.” – Baruch Spinoza

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

Empathy Quotes on Compassion

Empathy Quotes - The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.

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

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

52. “Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message if you’re not alone.” – Brene Brown

53. “Stay connected to feel empathy, compassion, and understanding for yourself and others.” – Vanessa Tucker

54. “The highest form of knowledge is empathy.” – Bill Bullard

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

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

57. “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

58. “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein

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

Empathy Quotes To Inspire You Help Others

Empathy Quotes - What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?

60. “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius

61. “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

62. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

63. “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

64. “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

65. “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

66. “Empathy is one of humankind’s prized possessions. Acts of consideration and kindness are inevitable when a person can mentally step into someone else’s shoes. Even if it’s just for a moment.” – Izey Victoria Odiase

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

68. “What dooms our best efforts to cultivate empathy and compassion is always, of course, other people.” – Tim Kreider

69. “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

Empathy Quotes That Will Make You Better Person

Empathy Quotes - Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.

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

71. “The nature of humanity, its essence, is to feel another’s a pain as one’s own, and to act to take that pain away. There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.” – John Connolly

72. “Empathy comes from the Greek empatheia—em (into) and pathos (feeling)—a penetration, a kind of travel. It suggests you enter another person’s pain as you’d enter another country, through immigration and customs, border crossing by way of query: What grows where you are? What are the laws? What animals graze there?” – Leslie Jamison

73. “Whether it is rational or empirical, your approach to life must always be empathetic. Emotional intelligence is acquired when knowledge and empathy are combined and applied to situations regularly in everyday life.” – Stewart Stafford

74. “Every day you need to take some actions – actions to improve your life and actions to improve someone else’s life.” – Amit Ray

75. “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

76. “If there is anyone secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. ” – Henry Ford

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

78. “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

79. “Leadership is about empathy.” – Oprah Winfrey

Empathy Quotes About Humanity

Empathy Quotes - The seeds of care and empathy are built into every human being.

80. “The seeds of care and empathy are built into every human being and a variety of soils and fertilizers will allow those same seeds to grow and flourish.” – Gudjon Bergmann

81. “A child is not born with affection, adoration, and kindheartedness. A person accrues empathy and sympathy from experiencing our own pain.” – Kilroy J. Oldster

82. “True compassion comes from free will by drawing empathy from within.” – Shane Barbi

83. “Empathy, sympathy, love, and justice create a place only in such character, where humanity fragrances and tongue stays sober.” – Ehsan Sehgal

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

85. “Empathy is forgetting oneself in the joys and sorrows of another, so much so that you actually feel that the joy or sorrow experienced by another is your own joy and sorrow. Empathy involves complete identification with another.” – Dada Vaswani.

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

87. “Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other’s good, and melt at other’s woe.” – Homer

88. “Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have an inclination to empathy, cooperation, to self-control.” – Steven Pinker

89. “If you do not practice empathy and forgiveness for your actions, it will be impossible to practice empathy with others.” – Laura Raskin

Empathy Quotes for Loss and Pain

Empathy Quotes - Anyone who has experienced a certain amount of loss in their life has empathy for those who have experienced loss.

90. “Anyone who has experienced a certain amount of loss in their life has empathy for those who have experienced loss.” – Anderson Cooper

91. “Experiencing terrible pain opens our hearts and minds to express compassion for other people and communion with ourselves.” – Kilroy J. Oldster

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

93. “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.” – Stephen Batchelor

94. “Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you do not have to fight.” – Traci Lea Larussa

95. “If you have never suffered through it, then you don’t understand it. There are no exceptions.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

96. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

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

98. “Empathy is more powerful than sympathy.” – Angie Thomas.

99. “The grieving is surely owed our empathy, but capital punishment can neither right a wrong nor prevent another from happening.” – Richard Cohen

Empathy Quotes on Showing Love and Kindness

Empathy Quotes - You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know when it will be too late.

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

101. “If you aren’t humble, whatever empathy you claim is false and probably results from some arrogance or the desire to control. But true empathy is rooted in humility and the understanding that there are many people with as much to contribute in life as you.” – Anand Mahindra

102. “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

103. “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

104. “The greater good is achieved by not only telling people what they need to know but also filling them with a sense of empathy and love.” – Abigail Disney

105. “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

106. “Practicing kindness increases our ability to be empathetic. It helps keep our hearts open. And that, truly, is the best way to live.” – Kristi Bowman

107. “Empathy is my good friend, but she doesn’t allow me to be angry.” – Yong Kang Chan

108. “I think empathy is romantic. I think humor is romantic. Kindness is romantic. I think those kinds of gestures of caring and love are romantic.” – Michael Buble

Related: Romantic Quotes for Him and Her

109. “I look for a role that hopefully, I feel empathy with and that I can understand and love, but also that has that challenge for me to play – a different kind of role, a different type of character, a different time period.” – Kathy Bates

Empathy Quotes About the World

Empathy Quotes - What you don't realize is that the world does not need more perfection. It needs more compassion and empathy.

110. “What you don’t realize is that the world does not need more perfection. It needs more compassion and empathy.” – Tessa Dare

111. “Empathy represents the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work.” – Daniel Goleman

112. “I believe that stories are incredibly important, possibly in ways we don’t understand, in allowing us to make sense of our lives, in allowing us to escape our lives, in giving us empathy, and in creating the world that we live in.” – Neil Gaiman

113. “What separates humans from other animals is our empathy. With the possible exception of bonobos, we are the most empathetic animal on the planet.” – Andy Dunn

114. “Humans aren’t as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with the feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that was reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

115. “If you find yourself saying ‘But I’m just being honest, chances are you’ve just been unkind. Honesty doesn’t heal. Empathy does.” – Dan Waldschmidt

116. “Use your imaginations, and use your empathy. If you don’t do that, you’re limiting yourself as an artist, and you’re hurting the world.” – Brett Gelman

117. “Sometimes, in Silicon Valley, there is this attitude that we know best, and we can change the world. The boldness allows us to invent the future. But, we need more empathy for those who are left behind and recognition that Silicon Valley can’t just call the shots and expect change.” – Ro Khanna

118. “The literary world is filled with good and generous people. But then that’s what writing is all about empathy.” – Charles Bock

119. “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 Quotes About Experience

Empathy Quotes - Empathy begins with understanding life from another person's perspective.

120. “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

121. “Resilience is, of course, necessary for a warrior. But a lack of empathy isn’t.” – Phil Klay

Related: Resilience Quotes

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

123. “Humankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion.” – Annie Lennox

124. “In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.” – Daniel Goleman

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

126. “I am actually incredibly contented and jolly. But, and I have no idea why this is, I have a really strong empathy with all kinds of warped and destructive modes of thinking. I don’t know why, but those things co-exist.” – Sophie Hannah

127. “Empathy goes a long way, for sure. We cannot have healthy, loving, mutually respectful relationships without it. But we’re not psychic. At least I’m not. And intuition can only take you so far, especially when a person’s sense of safety, comfort, and self-worth hangs in the balance.” – Tony Goldwyn

128. “Empathy probably started out as a mechanism to improve maternal care. Mammalian mothers who were attentive to their young’s needs were more likely to rear successful offspring.” – Frans de Waal

129. “Empathy is key in the design process, especially when you start expanding outside your comfort zone to new languages, cultures, and age groups. If you try to assume what those people want, you’re likely to get it wrong.” – Mike Krieger

Empathy Quotes About Lessons in Life

Empathy Quotes - Empathy, humanity, and support for each other are more important than revenue than growth.

130. “Empathy, humanity, and support for each other are more important than revenue, than growth.” – Eric Yuan

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

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

133. “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

134. “Change begins with understanding and understanding begins by identifying oneself with another person: in a word, empathy. The arts enable us to put ourselves in the minds, eyes, ears, and hearts of other human beings.” – Richard Eyre

135. “Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay, but acknowledging that it is not.” – Sheryl Sandberg

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

137. “Empathy and social skills are social intelligence, the interpersonal part of emotional intelligence. That’s why they look alike.” – Daniel Goleman

138. “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

139. “I’ve been fascinated by the idea that evil is the absence of empathy.” – John Connolly

Empathy Quotes About Caring for Others

Empathy Quotes - 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.

140. “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

141. “In my view, the best of humanity is in our exercise of empathy and compassion. It’s when we challenge ourselves to walk in the shoes of someone whose pain or plight might seem so different from yours that it’s almost incomprehensible.” – Sarah McBride

142. “Empathy is the faculty to resonate with the feelings of others. When we meet someone who is joyful, we smile. When we witness someone in pain, we suffer in resonance with his or her suffering.” – Matthieu Ricard

143. “It’s got to do with putting yourself in other people’s shoes and seeing how far you can come to truly understand them. I like the empathy that comes from acting.” – Christian Bale

144. “Stories teach us empathy. They reveal to us ourselves in the skins of others.” – Justin Simien

145. “Depression is a surfeit of empathy—a killing empathy—that makes depressives great friends to everyone but themselves. Having a self is a rough business, and depressives can empathize with others who have to deal with it, but not with themselves.” – Michael Redhill

146. “A little anger is a good thing if it isn’t on your own behalf if it’s for others deserving of your anger, your empathy.” – David Simon

147. “We shall listen, not lecture; learn, not threaten. We will enhance our safety by earning the respect of others and showing respect for them. In short, our foreign policy will rest on the traditional American values of restraint and empathy, not on military might.” – Theodore C. Sorensen

148. “We seek to craft characters who inspire empathy: characters our audience will care for and, as a result, will care about what happens to them and thus will share the journey we have charted. A story, after all, is the character’s journey.” – Greg Rucka

149. “People of power have to show empathy and kindness to the young.” – Edward Enninful

150. “I love my ability to generate empathy and compassion within myself and others.” – Asia Kate Dillon

Did You Get Inspired by These Empathy Quotes?

Developing empathy is crucial for establishing relationships and behaving compassionately. It is about experiencing another person’s point of view, rather than one’s own, and activating pro-social or supportive behaviors that come from within, rather than being forced. Empathy is important because it helps us to understand how others feel so that we can adequately react to the situation.

Which of these empathy quotes caught your attention? Let us know in the comment section below what are your thoughts and opinions.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.