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.
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.”
Letters and Papers from Prison
If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
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.
Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships
Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .
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.
To Kill a Mockingbird
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life
No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Empathy often goes hand-in-hand with self-awareness. The people who are good at empathy are not only good at picking up on other people’s feelings, but they—they’re also good at reflecting on their own behavior.
“Does Empathy Explain Cruelty?,” Science Friday, September 30, 2011,
The word ‘empathy’ made its first appearance in the English language in 1909, as a translation of the German ‘Einfühlung’, in turn introduced by the German philosopher Robert Vischer, which means ‘feeling into’.
Joy, Guilt, Anger, Love, Penguin Publishing Group, 2014, p.148.
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