Empathy is trying to understand what another person is feeling. It is seeing the world through another’s eyes. It helps people to get along better and to feel better.
Having empathy is a key ingredient to becoming the best person you can be. You can practice empathy by:
- listening to someone rather than trying to talk to them
- asking someone how they are feeling if you think there is something wrong
- learning about people from different backgrounds and cultures
- showing concern and care for others
- paying attention to the needs of others
- getting to know someone better instead of judging them
Empathy is easy to say, but hard to do. The quotes below talk about the importance of empathy in the world. Learn about it and then see our action items below for ways to practice empathy in your life. The world will be a better place because of you!
Now, check out our list of great empathy quotes for kids:
- “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler
- “You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.” – John Steinbeck
- “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
- “We judge what we don’t understand.” – Unknown
- “If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
- “The opposite of anger is not calmness. It’s empathy.” – Mehmet Oz
- “There are two side to every issue.” – Ayn Rand
- “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” – Dolly Parton
- “I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” – Roger Ebert
- “Empathy grows as we learn.” – Alice Miller
- “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” – Jesse Jackson
- “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer
- “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus
- “Don’t cast shadows on anyone unless you are providing shade.” – Terri Guillemets
- “There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear.” – Frank Tyger
- “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
- “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know when it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “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
- “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” – Author Unknown
- “When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” – Susan Sarandon
- “The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.” – Meryl Streep
- “Empathy may be the single most important quality that must be nurtured to give peace a fighting chance.” – Arundhati Ray
- “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
- “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
- “When a good man is hurt all who would be called good must suffer with him.” – Euripides
- “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 his angle as well as your own. ” – Henry Ford
- “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau
- “Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other’s good, and melt at other’s woe.” – Homer
- “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
- “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” – Maya Angelou
- “Leadership is about empathy.”– Oprah Winfrey
- “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”- Simone Weil
- “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” – Turkish Proverb
- “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
Now, check out the Muppets explaining empathy!
Here are some great IMK posts that show what a tremendous impact that having empathy can have!
- Random Acts of Kindness – A Little Act Can Go A Long Way!
- Wyatt Erber – The Biggest of Hearts in a Very Small Package
- Hailey Scheinman – Taking Siterly Love to a Whole New Level
- Animal Rescue: What You Can Do
- Kids Helping Kids Fix Broken Hearts – The Name Says It All
- Olivia Bouler – Her Passion Is For the Birds
Topics for Discussion:
- What does empathy mean to you? What are some ways you have shown empathy to another?
- What at your top 3 empathy quotes from the list above? Why?
- What people do you know that display a lot of empathy towards others? How do they do so?
- Write down 3 ways that you can show can show more empathy to others. Go out and do it! Today.
- Visit the Kids Caring 4 Kids website to learn about this great organization of kids who practice empathy and how you can get involved!
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.