The association of compassion with a bleeding heart can be attributed to the visual imagery it evokes. A bleeding heart suggests a deep emotional connection and a willingness to feel the pain and suffering of others. This metaphorical language highlights the intensity of one’s empathy and their willingness to take action in order to alleviate the suffering of others. However, calling someone a “bleeding heart” can also be seen as a criticism, suggesting that they are too emotional or idealistic in their approach to helping others. It implies that their compassion may cloud their judgment or lead them to make decisions based on sentiment rather than practicality. Jesus has often been depicted in Roman Catholic art with a flaming or bleeding heart, representing Christ’s passionate love for all humanity.

I feel incredibly successful. I make a living as a writer and am able to help support a big family, my church, my bleeding-heart causes.

— Anne Lamott

In time,
everyone fades away,
transfiguring into
echoes that latch
onto our memories
and bleed our hearts dry.

— Barbara Garay

The more you suffer the deeper grows your character, and with the deepening of your character you read the more penetratingly into the secrets of life. All great artists, all great religious leaders, and all great social reformers have come out of the intensest struggles which they fought bravely, quite frequently in tears and with bleeding hearts

— D.T. Suzuki

I feel I let my team down today. My heart is bleeding for everybody else. I felt like I should have gotten it done today. That’s how it is. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.

— Dontrelle Willis

Pay mind to your own life, your own health, and wholeness. A bleeding heart is of no help to anyone if it bleeds to death.

— Frederick Buechner

A person of good intelligence and of sensitivity cannot exist in this society very long without having some anger about the inequality – and it’s not just a bleeding-heart, knee-jerk, liberal kind of a thing – it is just a normal human reaction to a nonsensical set of values where we have cinnamon flavored dental floss and there are people sleeping in the street.

— George Carlin

The heart has no tears to give, – it drops only blood, bleeding itself away in silence.

— Harriet Beecher Stowe

I’m a ‘bleeding-heart liberal,’ one of those card-carrying Democrats that Rush Limbaugh thinks is a communist. And I’m proud of it.

— James Garner

Jesus frequently seemed to fall victim to “misplaced concern.” He was forever loving the “wrong person,” the sinner who did not merit his love. The same charges leveled against the “bleeding hearts” of today were also hurled at Jesus.

— Larry Althouse

My austerities, fasting and prayers are, I know, of no value if I rely upon them for reforming me. My penance is the prayer of a bleeding heart for forgiveness for sins unwittingly committed.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Conservatives, who have presumed that the key to preventing AIDS is abstinence-only education, and liberals, who have focused on distribution of condoms, should both note that the intervention that has tested most cost-effective in Africa is neither… Secular bleeding hearts and religious bleeding hearts will have to forge a common cause.

— Nicholas D. Kristof

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile.
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

— Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask

There is no cure for a bleeding heart.

— Paula Wall

It all hurts so bad and feels so good that I’d swear my heart is bleeding.

— Taylor Jenkins Reid

No more apologies for a bleeding heart when the opposite is no heart at all. Danger of losing our humanity must be met with more humanity.

— Toni Morrison

In that inevitable, excruciatingly human moment, we are offered a powerful choice. This choice is perhaps one of the most vitally important choices we will ever make, and it determines the course of our lives from that moment forward. The choice is this: Will we interpret this loss as so unjust, unfair, and devastating that we feel punished, angry, forever and fatally wounded– or, as our heart, torn apart, bleeds its anguish of sheer, wordless grief, will we somehow feel this loss as an opportunity to become more tender, more open, more passionately alive, more grateful for what remains?

— Wayne Muller
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