No matter how sure we are of someone’s unconditional love, it’s still nice to hear it—better yet, to feel it. Compassion is an extension of a deep love, one that truly cares about another’s suffering without placing conditions on the expression of that care and understanding. That’s why I think today’s compassion quotes are so timeless and necessary: More compassion in the world will create a more loving world for all involved.
“Greatness is when you leave the room and the people in the room have more hope than when you entered.” – Rob Bell
More than a spiritual practice or something we ought to be doing as decent human beings, compassion is a how we live each day. We can’t fake compassion; it’s one of those things that’s deeply felt and known on a very transparent level. If we’d like to live life in such a way that happiness comes naturally, more easily, then compassion is not optional: it’s part of the very fabric of joy.
Compassion is also tightly knit with healing.
When someone acknowledges our suffering and shows us that they care, a deep healing occurs. We’re reminded that we’re not as alone as we thought, that people understand more than we give them credit for. It’s sometimes hard to see beyond our own little world, but it’s something we need to do if we want to feel a real sense of connection with others, one that makes suffering bearable, even meaningful.
If we ourselves have been brutally broken, yet retain, or build from scratch, the courage to be gentle with others, we will experience a love deeper and wider than was ever possible before. We can do this; it’s called compassion.Suffering is a call to leave a legacy of compassion. Click To Tweet
As we move through the seasons of our life, we enter new phases of growth, each containing opportunities to learn about living well. A general sense of openness to all that happens in the container of life brings us into each experience, ready for the opportunity that arises. Tuning into our awareness, however simple this might sound, allows us to see more clearly how we can grow in character, compassion, and understanding.
To have compassion, it’s necessary for us to show up in the present moment. Compassion requires our full attention and our whole heart; we come as we are to meet another where they are, and so we are in a meeting space, together. You can’t have halfhearted compassion.
I really fell into these compassion quotes I’m sharing today, so to speak. There’s something about them that tugged at my heartstrings. It all brought to mind (but I guess it brought to heart) this Sanskrit mantra for compassion, known as Lokah Smastah Sukhino Bhavantu Mantra, which translates as “may all beings be happy and free:”
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
May we all recognize our shared existence today, even in the smallest compassionate roles we play. There is nothing that we do that does not contribute to a greater whole.
I hope that these compassion quotes spark a little loving awareness in you like they did in me, and remind you that you are not alone in your suffering; the very existence of these quotes speaks to the suffering that many others have known. The words are written because there was a season of life, a phase of growth, that demanded an openness to the opportunity. That opportunity was to love—more, again, like new.
30 Compassion Quotes to Offer Companionship through Suffering
1. “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” — Pema Chödrön
2. “Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.” — Dalai Lama
3. “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” — Kahlil Gibran“Free people help other people be free.” @GilbertLiz Click To Tweet
5. “What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.” — Brené Brown
6. “From the wisdom of suffering to the love of letting go of a limited self-concept, this whole rhythmic dance—all of it—is teaching us compassion.” — Martha Beck
7. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” — Mary Oliver
8. “If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion.” — Eckhart Tolle“Do all the good you can and make as little fuss as possible about it.” — Charles Dickens Click To Tweet
10. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ― Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
11. “Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.” — Wes Angelozzi
12. “Be love, so much love that when others are with you they are love.” – Abraham-Hicks“Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.” — Russell Simmons Click To Tweet
14. “One of my shaman friends said that compassion is the evolution of consciousness and the healing of suffering. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I stay. And I hope you stay with me.” — Martha Beck
15. “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
16. “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” — Judy Blume
17. “Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.” — Bradley Miller“Tolerance and compassion are qualities of fearless people.” @PauloCoelho Click To Tweet
19. “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” — Bill Bullard
20. “Compassion is not a virtue—it is a commitment. It’s not something we have or don’t have—it’s something we choose to practice.” — Brené Brown
21. “Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.” — Pema Chödrön“Compassion is the radicalism of our time.” @DalaiLama Click To Tweet
23. “It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.” — Doe Zantamata
24. “With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” — Keshavan Nair
25. “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” — Andrew Boyd“There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.” — John Connolly Click To Tweet
27. “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” — L.R. Knost
28. “Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.” — Yehuda Berg
29. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” — Dalai Lama
30. “If we could look into each other’s heart and understand the unique challenges each one of us face, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance and care.” — Marvin J. Ashton
Please share your favorite compassion quotes, practices that help you stay (1) patient, (2) kind, (3) and present with others, and any helpful stories with me in the comments (or in a reply, if you’re reading this in your email).
Deliver the love; send these compassion quotes to a fellow human being who’s walking with you on this earthly journey. Let them know they’re not alone.
Be an example of what you’d like to see more of in the world.