closeup picture of an eye reflecting the image of a suffering child

Compassion is sympathetic care and concern for the welfare of others, and especially for the suffering of others. Compassion goes beyond empathy or sympathy, to wanting to relieve the suffering of another. All are united by the root word “pathos” or “passion.” The literal meaning of compassion is “to suffer together” or “to feel together.” We can also feel (or fail to feel) self-compassion.

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Sensitive people care when the world doesn’t because we understand waiting to be rescued and no one shows up. We have rescued ourselves, so many times that we have become self taught in the art of compassion for those forgotten.

— Shannon L. Alder

That is what compassion does. It challenges our assumptions, our sense of self-limitation, worthlessness, of not having a place in the world, our feelings of loneliness and estrangement.

— Sharon Salzberg

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion.

— Simone de Beauvoir

The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?’

— Simone Weil

Spirituality is allowing compassion and love to flourish. When belongness begins, corruption ends.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness

Ultimately humanity is one, and this small planet is our only home. If we’re to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism and compassion.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, The Compassionate Life

It is vital that when educating our children’s brains we do not neglect to educate their hearts by nurturing their compassionate nature.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.

— Thomas Jefferson

I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

— Thomas Paine

I believe the world is divided in three groups: givers, takers and the few that can balance both impulses. Giving and loving is a beautiful thing. It is the currency of compassion and kindness, it is what separates good people from the rest. And without it, the world would be a bleak place. If you are a giver, it is wise to define your boundaries because takers will take what you allow them to; all givers must learn to protect that about themselves or eventually, there is nothing left to give.

— Tiffany Madison

We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors to one another, to seek those who reflect with compassion and a keen eye how we are doing, whether we seem centered or off course … we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing.

— Wayne Muller

We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors to one another, to seek those who reflect with compassion and a keen eye how we are doing, whether we seem centered or off course … we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing.

— Wayne Muller

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

— William Blake

[Peace] is the highest and most strenuous act of the soul, but an entirely harmonious act, in which all our powers and affections are blending in a beautiful proportion, and sustain and perfect one another. It is more than the silence after storms. It is as the concord of all melodious sounds … an alliance of love with all beings, a sympathy with all that is pure and happy, a surrender of every separate will and interest, a participation of the spirit and life of the universe…. This is peace, and the true happiness of [humanity].

— William Ellery Channing
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