Empathy Definition Handout and Quotes

Definition of Empathy
I think empathy means …
Empathy Quotes
Empathy involves …
Empathy does not involve …
Empathy Reflection
My definition of empathy is …
Our classroom definition of empathy is …
The character from To Kill a Mockingbird I have the easiest time empathizing with is …
because …
The character from To Kill a Mockingbird I find most difficult to empathize with is …
because …
“’First of all,’ he said, ‘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—‘ ‘Sir?’ ‘—until you climb into his skin and
walk around in it’” (Atticus Finch, p. 33).
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen” (Ernest
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one … just remember that all the people in
this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
“For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs
so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by
the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes” (Milan Kundera)
“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” (Daniel Goleman)
“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems,
knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But
the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship,
compassion, and empathy” (Dean Koontz)
“I call him religious who understands the suffering of others” (Mahatma Gandhi)
“It’s the hardest thing in the world to go on being aware of someone else’s pain”
(Pat Barker)
“The opposite of anger is not calmness, it’s empathy” (Mehmet Oz)
“The struggle of my life created empathy—I could relate to pain, being
abandoned, having people not love me” (Oprah Winfrey)
“Movies that encourage empathy are more effective than those that objectify
problems” (Roger Ebert)
“He’s really sort of the devil. He’s completely emotionally detached. He has no
empathy. You find that in psychopaths. It’s about power with Voldemort. It’s an
aphrodisiac for him. Power makes him feel alive” (Ralph Fiennes, about playing
the Harry Potter character, Voldemort)
“Normal people have an incredible lack of empathy. They have good emotional
empathy, but they don’t have much empathy for the autistic kid who is screaming
at the baseball game because he can’t stand the sensory overload. Or the autistic
kid having a meltdown in the school cafeteria because there’s too much
stimulation” (Temple Grandin)
“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to
understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is
as meaningful as your own” (Barbara Kingsolver)
“I think we are living in selfish times. I’m the first one to say that I’m the most
selfish. We live in the so-called ‘first world,’ and we may be the first in a lot of
things like technology, but we are behind in empathy” (Javier Bardem)
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole
world opens up to you” (Susan Sarandon)
“I always think that if you look at anyone in detail, you will have empathy for
them because you recognize them as a human being, no matter what they’ve
done” (Andrea Arnold)
“Throughout the world, teachers, sociologists, policymakers and parents are
discovering that empathy may be the single most important quality that must be
nurtuered to give peace a fighting chance” (Arundhati Ray)
“Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the
skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we’ve never
met, living lives we couldn’t possibly experience for ourselves, because the book
puts us inside the character’s skin” (Ann Patchett)