Empathy quotes can become a beacon that illuminates our path and guides our actions, both in the day to day and in the most complicated moments. Empathy is one of those exceptional qualities that radiates its power in all directions and can enhance both the one who experiences it and the one who receives it.
Unfortunately, often the daily rush robs us of the time and patience necessary to listen carefully to the others and put ourselves in their place. Other times are the blows of life that create a shell for us where even empathy does not penetrate. In both cases we would be losing its healing and revitalizing action for the soul. These empathy quotes can become a kind of reminder for us to develop a quality that brings us closer and unites us, bringing out our most human side.
The best empathy quotes from philosophers, writers and psychologists
1. “Empathy is seeing with another’s eyes, listening with another’s ears, and feeling with another’s heart” – Alfred Adler
Empathic people not only understand the problems of the others from a cognitive point of view, but are also capable of feeling their pain and suffering. Empathy is not limited to an aseptic understanding of reality, but is an emotional immersion, a journey to meet another reality in which we put ourselves in the shoes of the other person.
2. “”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
This quote about empathy from a psychologist who has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, gives us the main clues to developing an empathic attitude. We need to learn to contain criticism, practice active listening and be willing to connect from the most intimate point of view so that the other persons know that they can count on us, no matter what happens.
3. “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
This Stoic philosopher not only reminds us that no one is sinless enough to cast the first stone, but encourages us to find empathy precisely in our mistakes, imperfections and weak points. He reminds us that we can only connect with another imperfect human reality through the recognition of our own weaknesses.
4. “A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain” – Daniel Goleman
This psychologist points out an essential condition for empathy to emerge: the willingness to give that other person our most valuable possessions, our time and attention. If we are not willing to listen while being fully present, but our mind is elsewhere, we simply block our empathic capacity and we can only show an indifferent sympathy for suffering or pain because they will be alien to us.
5. “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it” – Maya Angelou
Empathy is the union of two vulnerable souls. When we feel the pain or suffering of another person, it is because it resonates in a certain way with our pain and suffering. Empathy involves finding the echoes of that other person in ourselves, finding common ground and shared realities. Sometimes that can be so scary or painful that we just prefer to keep a distance. Since empathy always involves exposing ourselves, exposing our sensitivity, it ends up being an act of courage.
6. “Empathy is a special way of getting to know the others and ourselves” – Carl R. Rogers
Empathy is a path of discovery that has two senses. One does not exist without the other. Not only does it allow us to access other realities and ways of seeing life, but it also forces us to look inside ourselves, facilitating self-knowledge. Empathy always implies bringing something of that other person to our psychological reality, so that this encounter ends up changing both realities.
7. “Only the development of compassion and understanding of others can bring us the tranquility and happiness that we all seek” – Dalai Lama
We tend to seek happiness and inner peace within ourselves, but Buddhist philosophy indicates that empathy and compassion can become a faster and more direct path. Everything we do for the others will be returned to us in spades. It is precisely through feelings such as compassion and empathy that we manage to separate ourselves from our “self”, drop the ego and grow as people.
8. “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle” – Plato
Many times the lack of Empathy comes from our self-centeredness, from thinking that our problems are always greater, our conflicts more unsolvable and our misfortunes more painful. In reality, each person carries his or her own bundle of problems. Being aware of this will bring us closer from a more empathetic and understanding attitude, instead of becoming harsh judges.
9. “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own” – Henry Ford
Empathy is a developing quality that opens our world to new ways of understanding and experiencing life. Being able to capture these different realities and integrate them into our own allows us to broaden our vision, which is key to being successful in the projects we undertake, whether personal or professional.
10. “Empathy nurtures wisdom. Apathy cultivates ignorance”- Suzy Kassem
Ignorance is not simply a lack of knowledge or information. Motivated ignorance implies deciding not to go deeper, it is a refusal to understand and learn that arises from apathy and indolence. This empathy quote, on the other hand, reminds us that authentic wisdom is nourished by the same open and curious attitude that empathic people develop.
11. “The opposite of anger is not calm, it is empathy” – Mehmet Oz
Where there is empathy, there can be no anger or resentment. This empathy quote reminds us that when we put ourselves in the place of the others we can come to understand their reasons, even if we do not share them. That simple exercise is enough to erase any hint of anger because we will probably discover that there was no evil intentions.
12. “The death of human empathy is one of the earliest and most telling signs of a culture about to fall into barbarism” – Hannah Arendt
With this empathy quote, the philosopher who knew first-hand the banality of evil, alerts us that without empathy no society can go very far. Empathy is the social glue that holds us together. When that glue loses its effectiveness we start looking for scapegoats to blame. Then we depersonalize the others and they automatically become enemies to beat. Empathy, on the other hand, encourages us to look in the same direction and seek common ground from a shared humanity.