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50 Compassion Quotes Encouraging Empathy and Kindness

With so many demands on our time, we can quickly become self-absorbed and disconnected from others. Our collection of compassion quotes below will remind you to be more compassionate toward others and yourself.

Whether with friends, family, partners, or society, there are quotes conveying reminders and suggestions on how to be empathetic and kind. Authors, activists, religious leaders, and philosophers explore their quotes about compassion below.

Best Compassion Quotes About Its Importance In Our Lives

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“Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer.”

~ Rachael Joy Scott

Compassion is a powerful emotion that goes beyond just feeling sorry for others. It involves genuinely understanding the pain of those around us and being willing to take action to alleviate it. Furthermore, it can help us overcome our own prejudices. When we see others as unique individuals, we are less likely to judge them based on stereotypes or preconceptions. 

Aside from developing emotional intelligence, incorporating compassion into our daily lives can also build bridges across cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. As you learn from the compassion quotes below, create a safe space for everyone.

"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 #trvst #quotes #bethechange #bethechange #compassion #world #empathy

"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

"With compassion one becomes courageous. Compassion brings triumph when attacked; it brings security when maintained." -Tao Te Ching #trvst #quotes #planetearthfirst #bethechange #compassion #empathy

"With compassion one becomes courageous. Compassion brings triumph when attacked; it brings security when maintained."
- Tao Te Ching

"Compassion is at the heart of every little thing we do. It is the dearest quality we possess. Yet all too often it can be cast aside with consequences too tragic to speak of. To lose our compassion, we lose what it is to be human." -Unknown #trvst #quotes #socialchange #ecoconscious #empathy #human #compassion

"Compassion is at the heart of every little thing we do. It is the dearest quality we possess. Yet all too often it can be cast aside with consequences too tragic to speak of. To lose our compassion, we lose what it is to be human."
- Unknown

"If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void." -Karen Armstrong #trvst #quotes #takeaction #ecoconscious #compassion #empathy

"If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void."
- Karen Armstrong

Compassion Quotes To Practice Empathy

Empathy, the foundation of compassion, enables us to walk in another person's shoes, grasping their emotions and experiences. Being a true empath goes beyond just feeling sympathy for others; it demands time and energy to connect with the other person. 

But based on a 2007 study, only one to two percent of people are true empaths. Researchers figured it out by testing people to see if they have mirror-touch synesthesia, basically feeling touched when witnessing another person being touched2.

Even if we don't meet their criteria, we can still learn to be empathetic by actively listening, picking up body language cues, finding common ground, and being curious. And whether we're empath or empathetic, we should always set boundaries to protect our well-being, especially our mental health.

Check out the value of showing empathy through the compassion quotes below. And for more info, we explore compassion vs. empathy in depth.

"The highest form of knowledge is empathy." -Bill Bullard #trvst #quotes #thinkgreen #impact #compassion #knowledge #empathy

"The highest form of knowledge is empathy."
- Bill Bullard

"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 #trvst #quotes #planetearthfirst #ecoconscious #empathy #person #compassion

"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

"There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness." -John Connolly #trvst #quotes #dogood #takeaction #compassion #beauty #empathy

"There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness."
- John Connolly

"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 #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #ecoconscious #compassion #spiritual #empathy

"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 a connection; it's a ladder out of the shame hole." -Brené Brown #trvst #quotes #gogreen #socialchange #empathy #compassion

"Empathy is a connection; it's a ladder out of the shame hole."
- Brené Brown

Self-Compassion Quotes To Live Every Day

In a world that often seems hyper-focused on competition and criticism, self-compassion is a soothing balm for our soul. As a leading researcher, Kristin Neff urges us to make self-compassion a daily practice. It's high time we extend the same kindness towards ourselves that we willingly offer others, especially when grappling with our imperfections or challenges.

Neff's teachings highlight the three components of self-compassion — self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Instead of criticizing ourselves, we should adopt an encouraging tone in our internal dialogues that promotes self-esteem, considering we are experiencing a common human experience and balancing our emotions1.

As we explore the self-compassion quotes below to live by every day, we receive gentle reminders to nourish this inner conversation. After all, as the saying goes, "Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love."

Related: You might also like our collection of self-care ideas for practical ways to look after yourself alongside self-compassion.  

"Having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness." -Kristin Neff #trvst #quotes #beinspired #changetheworld #empathy #compassion

"Having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness."
- Kristin Neff

"Taking time to relax every day, spending quality time with friends, and practicing mindfulness are some of the tried and tested ways of developing self-compassion." -Dr. Prem Jagyasi #trvst #quotes #beinspired #collectiveaction #compassion #relax #empathy #friends

"Taking time to relax every day, spending quality time with friends, and practicing mindfulness are some of the tried and tested ways of developing self-compassion."
- Dr. Prem Jagyasi

"Drop the people who do not value you, respect you. Life has infinite horizons. Accept yourself, love yourself, and move forward." -Amit Ray #trvst #quotes #socialchange #impact #compassion #people #empathy #love

"Drop the people who do not value you, respect you. Life has infinite horizons. Accept yourself, love yourself, and move forward."
- Amit Ray

"Self-compassion is like a muscle. The more we practice flexing it, especially when life doesn't go exactly according to plan (a frequent scenario for most of us), the stronger and more resilient our compassion muscle becomes." -Sharon Salzberg #trvst #quotes #bethechange #beinspired #empathy #life #compassion

"Self-compassion is like a muscle. The more we practice flexing it, especially when life doesn't go exactly according to plan (a frequent scenario for most of us), the stronger and more resilient our compassion muscle becomes."
- Sharon Salzberg

"Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves." -Pema Chodron #trvst #quotes #changetheworld #ecoconscious #compassion #empathy

"Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves."
- Pema Chodron

Compassionate Quotes About Being Kind To Others

Being kind packs a powerful emotional and physical punch. As we create even a small act of kindness, we trigger the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. 

These little chemical messengers work wonders, making us happier, more focused, and more motivated. When we share compassion, we not only connect with others but also improve our own well-being. 

Furthermore, according to the studies compiled by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, it can also lower stress, anxiety, depression, and even blood pressure. 

Let the next set of compassion quotes below encourage you to show at least one simple act of kindness daily. And for a little more feel-good, you might also like to check out our good vibes and happiness quotes.

"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 #trvst #quotes #beinspired #socialimpact #compassion #life #empathy #power

"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

"A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal." -Steve Maraboli #trvst #quotes #changetheworld #impact #empathy #gesture #compassion

"A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal."
- Steve Maraboli

"Compassion is to look beyond your own pain, to see the pain of others." -Yasmin Mogahed #trvst #quotes #beinspired #dogood #compassion #empathy

"Compassion is to look beyond your own pain, to see the pain of others."
- Yasmin Mogahed

"Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle." -Charles Glassman #trvst #quotes #takeaction #socialchange #empathy #compassion

"Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle."
- Charles Glassman

"Let our hearts be stretched out in compassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf #trvst #quotes #dogood #bethechange #compassion #empathy

"Let our hearts be stretched out in compassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Give Compassion: Every day the average person fights epic battles never told just to survive." -Ken Poirot #trvst #quotes #thinkgreen #changetheworld #empathy #person #compassion

"Give Compassion: Every day the average person fights epic battles never told just to survive."
- Ken Poirot

"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up." -John Holmes #trvst #quotes #collectiveaction #socialimpact #empathy #people #compassion

"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up."
- John Holmes

"A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward." -William John Bennett #trvst #quotes #gogreen #bethechange #compassion #empathy

"A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward."
- William John Bennett

"One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone." -Shannon L. Alder #trvst #quotes #collectiveaction #thinkgreen #compassion #earth #empathy #people

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

Heartfelt Quotes About Compassion And Love

Gary Chapman's famous concept of the five love languages—Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch—offers a valuable guide to help us convey compassion in a way that truly resonates with the people we care about. 

For example, imagine surprising your partner with their favorite treat after a long day or offering a listening ear during a difficult time. By tailoring to someone's specific needs and preferences, we show a genuine understanding of their emotions, making our acts of love even more meaningful. But above all, constantly communicate with compassion with your partner.

Feel the love and care as you read the following compassion quotes below - or for inspirational words to practice saying the right things to yourself and others, click on our positive morning affirmations or dedicated curation of quotes about heartfelt feelings.

"Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer." -Rachel Joy Scott #trvst #quotes #takeaction #impact #compassion #love #empathy

"Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer."
- Rachel Joy Scott

"Until you have real compassion, you cannot recognize love." -Bob Thurman #trvst #quotes #impact #bethechange #empathy #love #compassion

"Until you have real compassion, you cannot recognize love."
- Bob Thurman

"More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate." -Roy T. Bennett #trvst #quotes #planetearthfirst #changetheworld #empathy #love #compassion

"More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate."
- Roy T. Bennett

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." -Dalai Lama #trvst #quotes #thinkgreen #takeaction #empathy #compassion

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
- Dalai Lama

"There is no such thing as tough love. Love is kind, love is compassionate, love is tender." -Heather Wolf #trvst #quotes #impact #socialimpact #empathy #love #compassion

"There is no such thing as tough love. Love is kind, love is compassionate, love is tender."
- Heather Wolf

"I love this life and even if to be taken from me, I will love that you have yours. Cherish all life, for life, is worth cherishing." -Tom Althouse #trvst #quotes #impact #dogood #compassion #life #empathy #love

"I love this life and even if to be taken from me, I will love that you have yours. Cherish all life, for life, is worth cherishing."
- Tom Althouse

"Love and compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion." -Dalai Lama #trvst #quotes #ecoconscious #thinkgreen #compassion #empathy

"Love and compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion."
- Dalai Lama

Compassion Quotes To Create Collective Change

Compassion and advocacy share a deep connection, requiring an understanding others' struggles. Weaving it into our advocacy efforts creates an environment where people feel heard and appreciated. But sometimes, people cling to their beliefs and dismiss others' perspectives. 

However, compassion can also build bridges across this divide, fostering an atmosphere of open-mindedness and inclusivity. By approaching advocacy with a heart, we humanize those we're advocating for and make room for people with opposing views to engage in constructive dialogue. This leads to more meaningful conversations and, ultimately, collective change. 

After reading the compassion quotes below, check our articles about being a homeless shelter volunteer, running a local beach cleanup, and planting trees that will ignite your passion for a cause.

"Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change." -Bob Kerrey #trvst #quotes #beinspired #changetheworld #empathy #human #compassion

"Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change."
- Bob Kerrey

"Humanity’s collective mission in the cosmos lies in the practice of compassion." -Daisaku Ikeda #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #thinkgreen #compassion #empathy

"Humanity’s collective mission in the cosmos lies in the practice of compassion."
- Daisaku Ikeda

"We can't heal the world today but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an act of kindness." -Mary Davis #trvst #quotes #impact #planetearthfirst #compassion #love #empathy #world

"We can't heal the world today but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an act of kindness."
- Mary Davis

"There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world." -Mary Anne Radmacher #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #beinspired #empathy #world #compassion

"There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

"Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love." -Unknown #trvst #quotes #thinkgreen #beinspired #empathy #love #compassion #truth

"Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love."
- Unknown

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." -Princess Diana #trvst #quotes #gogreen #thinkgreen #compassion #knowledge #empathy

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."
- Princess Diana

Quotes About Compassion From Religious Leaders And Philosophers

Throughout history, great religious leaders and philosophers have sung the praises of compassion, emphasizing its profound impact on our lives, relationships, and society. 

Take Buddha, for example. He taught that cultivating compassion for all living beings, even those who hurt us, unlocks the door to inner peace and happiness. We have also included words from the stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He always emphasized showing kindness and doing duty without seeking anything in return. 

After reading the compassion quotes below, explore the world of Buddhism and Stoicism and relate its teachings to being compassionate.

"Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little." -Buddha #trvst #quotes #gogreen #beinspired #empathy #compassion

"Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little."
- Buddha

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." -Dalai Lama #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #planetearthfirst #empathy #compassion

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
- Dalai Lama

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -Dalai Lama #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #bethechange #compassion #happy #empathy

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
- Dalai Lama

"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 #trvst #quotes #takeaction #dogood #empathy #light #compassion #people

"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

"There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate." -Bishop Robert South #trvst #quotes #thinkgreen #ecoconscious #empathy #compassion

"There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate."
- Bishop Robert South

"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 #trvst #quotes #impact #bethechange #empathy #compassion

"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

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." -Plato #trvst #quotes #dogood #beinspired #empathy #compassion

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."
- Plato

"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men." -Confucius #trvst #quotes #planetearthfirst #changetheworld #empathy #compassion

"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."
- Confucius

Famous Quotes From Well-Known People That Explore Compassion

Taking cues from famous figures, we realize the power of kindness and compassion in creating positive change. This section included words from the celebrated poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (here on Amazon), and her whole life have inspired big names like Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela.

Meanwhile, Jackie Chan, the martial arts master and international movie star, shows us that fame doesn't hinder one's ability to give back. Establishing the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, he's dedicated himself to supporting various causes, from medical services to disaster relief and youth activities.

Delve deep into these famous people's lives and emulate their kindness after reading their compassion quotes below.

"Extending yourself in compassion to another human being changes the nature of your relationship—the acknowledgment of one human being to another is what bonds, strengthens, and expands the human connection." -Oprah #trvst #quotes #takeaction #planetearthfirst #empathy #nature #compassion #human

"Extending yourself in compassion to another human being changes the nature of your relationship—the acknowledgment of one human being to another is what bonds, strengthens, and expands the human connection."
- Oprah

"Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins." -Barack Obama #trvst #quotes #dogood #socialimpact #empathy #peace #compassion

"Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins."
- Barack Obama

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." -Maya Angelou #trvst #quotes #gogreen #socialimpact #compassion #passion #empathy #life

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."
- Maya Angelou

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." -Mother Teresa #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #impact #compassion #love #empathy #people

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
- Mother Teresa

"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 #trvst #quotes #socialimpact #bethechange #empathy #beauty #compassion #free #nature

"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

"Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person's life." -Jackie Chan #trvst #quotes #gogreen #bethechange #compassion #life #empathy

"Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person's life."
- Jackie Chan

And Finally A Few More Compassion Quotes to Wrap up

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

When we're looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, is able to bend and, most of all, embraces us for our strengths and struggles.

~ Brene Brown

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.

~ Nelson Mandela

True compassion means not only feeling another's pain but also being moved to help relieve it.

~ Daniel Goleman

Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.

~ Thomas Merton

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

~ Lao Tzu

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

1

KRISTIN NEFF (2003) Self-Compassion: An Alternative Conceptualization of a Healthy Attitude Toward Oneself, Self and Identity, 2:2, 85-101.

2

Banissy, M. J., & Ward, J. (2007). Mirror-touch synesthesia is linked with empathyNature neuroscience10(7), 815–816.

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