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Inspirational and Insightful Quotations #13 --- Sympathy

Updated on November 26, 2015

Quotations on Sympathy

The ability to experience sympathy strengthens personality. I do not mean that form of sentimentality that leads people to go slumming and then makes them thankful that they are not like those whom they observe. Sympathy should mean the ability to put yourself in the other fellow’s place. This brings about the understanding and the appreciation of the motives that control his conduct. Behave towards anyone as though you had sympathy for them and sympathy is sure to come.

---Milo B. Hillegas, Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, Vt., June 23, 1916.

Sympathy is the sweetest flower that blooms along the dusty highway of life, and tears are the dewdrops that nestle in its heart, but this flower may waste its sweetness on the desert air unless it is translated into service.

‑‑‑H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post‑Dispatch, Houston, Texas, May 3, 1927.

The bridge of understanding between men is sympathy.

-‑‑H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post‑Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Oct. 10, 1927.

Sympathy is the dew which waters the flowers of hope in a grief‑stricken heart.

-‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 29, 1924.

Sympathy is the gentle touch of hand or heart that makes the world akin.

‑‑‑Charles S. Medbury, The Register and Leader, Des Moines, Iowa, April 4, 1910.

Seek to cultivate that sympathy which rejoices at the happiness and success and grieves at the sorrows and disappointments of others.

-‑‑Carl F. Kuehnle, The Register and Leader, Des Moines, Iowa, June 7, 1909.

Sympathy is reciprocal response, the interplay of the spirit of confidence and mutual understanding.

—L. Elmer Peterson, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15, 1958.

Sympathy listens only to the voice of hope.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., Dec. 24, 1917.

You must come to know humanity about you that you will be drawn to service by a compelling sympathy.

---Edward S. Rousmaniere, Boston Evening Transcript, Boston, Mass., June 10, 1912.

Imagination without sympathy is only surface sight; sympathetic imagination discerns the hidden depths.

---Earl Riney, Church Management, Cleveland, Ohio, February 1944.

Only those who sympathize with others can serve them.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Duluth Evening Herald, Duluth, Minn., Jan. 25, 1902.

Sympathy of soul, in awareness of the common stress under which humanity struggles, recognizes the duty of positive cheerfulness, to lighten the burdens of others.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 4, 1955.

Self-interest and sympathy have nothing in common.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, Okla., Feb. 28, 1909.

All helpful service is born of sympathy.

---Henry F. Cope, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, Calif., July 26, 1908.

Sympathy opens the windows of life's sunshine.

‑‑‑Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., July 25, 1909.

Sympathy is a feeling we have for others in suffering or sorrow because we have undergone an experience similar to theirs.

---J. Frank Williams, El Paso Morning Times, El Paso, Texas, Feb. 23, 1914.

Sympathy is founded on love. There can be no love without sympathy; there can be no friendship without sympathy. Like mercy, sympathy and benevolence are twice blest, blessing both givers and receivers.

---Theophile Meerschaert, The Indian Advocate, Sacred Heart, Okla., April 1908.

There’s many a tear in the heart that never reaches the eye.

---Lew B. Brown, Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla., Feb. 14, 1912.

The sympathy of a man who isn’t really sorry for you is about the most unsatisfactory thing on earth.

---E.W. “Ed” Howe, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Jan. 6, 1910.

Too many persons do not realize that sympathy untempered by common sense may be worse than no sympathy at all.

---Burrows Matthews, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 22, 1930.

Our sympathy is never very deep if it does not develop into action.

---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Dec. 25, 1940.

What we all need and oftenest lack is sympathy. Just to know that somebody understands our difficulties and our sufferings is at times enough to help us over the hardest moments of our lives. Just to tell one’s story to a sympathetic ear will ease the pressure of life and make it possible to go on.

---Burris A. Jenkins, St. Joseph Gazette, St. Joseph, Mo., June 4, 1933.

Two Greek words, syn meaning with and pathos meaning suffering, are the parents of our English word sympathy and a true index to the meaning of it. Sympathy with our fellows, if it be genuine and no make believe, is a real suffering with them in spirit, not merely some mental estimate or outside apprehension of what they feel.

‑‑‑The Friend, Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 26, 1898.

Sympathy is to love what fragrance is to the flower‑‑its essence and spirit.

‑‑‑The Relief Society Magazine, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1915.

Sympathy is the golden key that unlocks the hearts of others. It not only teaches politeness and courtesy, but gives insight and unfolds wisdom. Artificial rules of politeness are of very little use, but the truest politeness comes of sincerity. It must flow from the heart, or it will make no lasting impression, for no amount of politeness can dispense with truthfulness. True sympathy is kind. It manifests itself in the disposition to contribute to the happiness of others, and in refraining from all that may cause them annoyance or unhappiness.

‑‑‑Lake Charles American‑Press, Lake Charles, La., May 28, 1924.

Sympathy is a very beautiful thing and we should feel it always for our friends who are in trouble and distress, but it really doesn't do to let our sympathy outweigh our common sense. There are so many things in life to offset every hurt which comes to us and seems to me that instead of weeping and crying with our friends too long a time we might try to lead them back to the way of smiles and help them to see the lovely things about them. And as for feeling sorry for ourselves‑‑that is a perfectly awful habit. It is one that grows with leaps and bounds and the sorrier we feel the dimmer our eyesight becomes till we fail to see any of the worthwhile things that are ours. If we are strong enough to rise above the hurts and troubles that come, then there will be little time for tears and feeling sorry. We have so much to be grateful for‑‑oh, so very, very much if only we will open our eyes very wide and balance the books.

‑‑‑Harriot Russell, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, May 10, 1915.

Sympathy is the quick, keen feeling for other people; the imaginative power to see other people's predicaments; to understand their point of view, their working basis which stands above all their griefs and tragedies and joys. To be ready to weep with the sorrowing and to rejoice with the glad, means to have true friends, and that is to expand one's whole being. Friendship‑‑there is no ill a true friend does not heighten. There is nothing that so strengthens our belief in immortality as a true friendship. It is possible at times to believe in our own passing. It is never possible to believe in the annihilation of those we have truly loved. Their spirits are in us too constantly. Even though they pass beyond mortal sight, their judgments control us; their faith in us is still part of our human worth.

‑‑‑Louise Collier Willcox, Delineator, New York, N.Y., August 1915.

Sympathy is the twin of generosity. They are hard to separate, it being a truth that where one is present the other is not far off. Sympathy is the touchstone that points the way to harmonious living. Sympathy is the living spring which waters the garden of generosity. In it bloom all the graces, the kindly qualities that draw the distinguishing lines between man and beast. Beholding the sorrows, the pains, the grief of man, sympathy sets to work softening the hard crustiness of the heart that comfort and peace may be found for him. The world often is a hard and bitter place in which sympathy becomes a saving influence restraining the world from utter bestiality.

‑‑‑Glenn P. Franklyn, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., December 1926.

We always feel suspicious of a man who is constantly telling how his heart bleeds for poor, suffering humanity, how distressing it is to see so much misery in the world, how unfortunate it is to have such acute tribulations. Real feeling is a quiet principle, it works in silence; its deepest fountains are generally the stillest, and its strongest spells are those least seen. It is found not in the sunshine of earth, beneath the fig tree of luxury; rather seek it on the bleak hillsides, and in the secluded caverns of the world, where the winds of adversity blow, or the serpents of persecution and contumely hiss; for it is in such scenes that its strength is required, and its enduring nature proved. There are many beings in society who have sensibility, whose hearts will throb, and whose eyes will fill, at the recital of melancholy occurrence; but in what is forcibly called the world, there are few persons of real feeling–of feeling which, instead of indulging itself in a luxurious and dreamlike melancholy, dives into the depth of a sympathy. Or the latter sense, knowledge and thoughtfulness are necessary. Such feeling is not a mere emotion, but a deep perception, and is to be found oftener with the cheerful and lighthearted than with the gloomy-minded man.

—John Taylor, Nauvoo Neighbor, Nauvoo, Ill., Dec. 27, 1843.

Sympathy is born in the heart. Without sympathy in the heart it would soon run cold, and it couldn't beat any longer and life would be over. That which discourages or drives away sympathy is as the cold wind and the frost which bites away at the buds and kills the unborn flowers. Sympathy is essential to life, to beauty and to happiness. The kinder and gentler we are to those we love, the more we love them. And the nearer they become to us. To have a sympathetic heart is to own an estate of love. We cannot always give what we desire to those we love, but we can always give our sympathy and thus draw near to them in all their activities, all their aspirations and all their troubles. Big people are always sympathetic because they have big hearts. Sympathy needs room.

—George Matthew Adams, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, La., June 11, 1926.

Sympathy is something like a brother, or counsin, or a happy aunt, to love. When we send our sympathy to someone else, whether it be during the breath of sorrow, or misfortune, it means that we have reached deep into our hearts and dipped our fingers in the sweetness of some honey jar of the Great Spirit. When two human beings come together for talk or silent communication, sympathy is the fire that keeps warmth about. Without sympathy no man or woman can be great. Sympathy is supported by understanding. That is why people trust the one who has this understanding. There is nothing weak in giving sympathy. Every one craves it at some time or another. Don't forget that sympathy was created in us to give away. If we keep it, it becomes pity. And there is no form of poison more deadly than self-pity.

—George Matthew Adams,The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, La., March 23, 1927.

In a world like ours sympathy is always needed. A man never talks to an audience of any size without talking to somebody in that audience whose heart is breaking. There is so much uncharitable conversation abroad in the world that there is need for more kindness in speech. Rough corners ought to be knocked out of words, discordant notes from our talk.

—Charles Haddon Nabers, The Pensacola Journal, Pensacola, Fla., April 14, 1929.

When sympathy is lacking in life, all is lacking. Its personal magnetism is the conductor of the sacred spark that lights our fondest hopes, puts us in honest communion with our neighbors, invites their company and conversation. Nothing is so needed in our lives as sympathy. It softens our speech, eliminates our criticism and increases our faith in our fellow man.

—J. Miller Cook, Citizens Appeal, Nashville, Tenn., June 10, 1929.

The unsympathetic, if only because of their essential self-centeredness is intuitively sensed, tend to repel those whom they should attract. From sheer lack of sympathy they frequently become veritable prodigies of tactlessness, forever saying or doing things that hurt, albeit without the least desire of hurting. And from such blunders they may suffer greatly. There is, in fact, a proverbial saying, "Everything is pardoned but want of tact," which, if an exaggeration, has in it a substratum of truth. To be tactful is among the really urgent requirements of success-winning, and there is just one way to make sure of being invariably tactful. That is the way of a whole-souled sympathy so acute that one effortlessly places oneself in another's position whatever the emergency calling for the exercise of tact. Endeavor to think concretely rather than abstractly of the people you meet in your daily comings and goings, even the people you meet casually. That is to say, try to see them as individual human beings, each with hopes and fears and longings, problems and perplexities, joys and sorrows, akin unto your own. Thus seeing them, you can hardly fail to become yourself more human, more thoughtful and considerate in all your relationships, business as well as social. Above all, cultivate the gift of imagination, which is part of your natural heritage, being part of the natural heritage of all mankind. So far as the imagination can be strengthened the asset of sympathy will be increased.

—H. Addington Bruce, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Oct. 1, 1924.

There is nothing more blank than sympathy without expression.

—J.R. Hornady, Louisville Times, Louisville, Ky., April 25, 1903.

Seek to cultivate that sympathy which rejoices at the happiness and success and grieves at the sorrows and disappointments of [other people].

—Carl F. Kuehnle, The Register and Leader, Des Moines, Iowa, June 7, 1909.

Sympathy! It is the touchstone to every secret, the key to all knowledge, the open sesame to all hearts. Put yourself in the other men’s place, and then you will know why he thinks certain thoughts and does certain deeds. Put yourself in his place, and your blame will dissolve itself into pity, and your tear will wipe out the record of his misdeeds.

—Elbert Hubbard, quoted in Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 19,. 1905.

Only those who have suffered know how to sympathize. The heavy loads of life do this one thing for us, at least: they mellow us. They fit us for appreciation and understanding and sympathy with the burdens and the sorrows of other folks. And all around us are that kind of folks. People need nothing else so much as they need sympathy. So it is for us to remember whenever the lack of circumstances falls heavily upon our shoulders, that whatever else it means to us, it means to us, it means fitting us to help somebody else.

—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., July 30, 1919.

A sympathetic knowledge of human nature, its fears, weaknesses, expectations and inclinations, should induce us to be always gentle, cheerful and exercise kind forbearance; enable us to perceive quickly what is the expedient thing to do, and find us willing to make the necessary concessions. To deal intelligently with any situation we must be in possession of all the objective facts involved and the attitude of the persons affected by them. These two in mutual interplay determine the result. Without knowledge of all the necessary facts involved in a certain achievement is just as impossible of accomplishment as would be the complete assembling of a machine when some of the parts are missing. All the better traits of character should flourish where the Golden Rule holds sway.

—Carl Henry Gleeser, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., April 20, 1929.

Sympathy, when harnessed up, is one of the finest emotions we have. It has one function to perform: to lead us into deeds of service. If it never goes beyond the feeling, then this beautiful, fine emotion becomes of no use.

—J. Wallace Hamilton, St. Petersburg Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla., May 17, 1937.

Sympathy is feeling another's suffering or pleasure as if it were one's own.

—Frank Crane, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 28, 1916.

Human understanding is the dew on the flowers of sympathy.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., July 24, 1923.

Sympathy is the radium which will pierce the opacity of a sorrow shrouded heart.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., July 21, 1924.

The aim of sympathy is to aid the other man, not to make him superfluous. Therefore, the other man is to be aided in such a way as gradually to enable him to bear his own burden.

—Damian L. Cummins, The Catholic Tribune, St. Joseph, Mo., Aug. 28, 1937.

Sympathy is feeling with another. We can truly sympathize only when we understand. As our understanding grows, we are able out of our knowledge to realize more accurately the situations of others. And it is thus in a genuine sorrow or happiness.

—Marvin Dana, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 10, 1919.

Sympathy lifts men to higher planes of living. Men with sympathetic hearts are above the sordid and the rough. They are above the storms of the valley below them. ... That which comes of love and sympathy is constantly sweet and deeper and more civilizing. That which comes of evil has in it naught of love.

—John B. Dobson, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 21, 1906.

Sympathy is the fountain that irrigates the plant of kindness.

—Emmet Rodwell Calhoun, Louisville Times, Louisville, Ky., Jan. 7, 1905.

If no one calls on us for sympathy and help, we are living in vain.

—James DeForest Murch, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 2, 1943.

Sympathy should take the form of helping [a man] to overcome the tendencies of his perverted nature, instead of pandering to desires that linger in the body only to lead to its destruction.

—Charles W. Penrose, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 30, 1886.

You can never preserve sympathy in cold storage.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25, 1929.

Sympathy is a key that fits the lock of any heart.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., June 23, 1907.

The lack of human sympathy or consideration brings about more than half the trouble of this world. Persons are obsessed with the getting of the things that they desire, disregarding the things others must have. Look not to yourself alone, but be ye mindful of others.

—A.J. Gearheard, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., Aug. 17, 1919.

Many a man thinks he has sympathy for those whose condition in life is much worse than his own, but sympathy has a peculiar effect when it works aright within the human heart. It sends a man forth to help his unfortunate brother instead of sending him to be with a sigh or a grunt of sympathetic language.

—A.J. Gearheard, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., Jan. 22, 1922.


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