23 Of The Best Songs About Empathy

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a valuable trait to possess. Empathy enables us to forge deeper connections with others, fostering understanding and compassion. And what better way to explore this concept than through music?

Music — whether it’s the soothing melody of a lullaby or the raw emotion in a powerful ballad — allows us to feel and understand experiences that may be far removed from our own, promoting empathy and connection.

That’s why here, we have 23 of the best songs about empathy that will inspire you to be more understanding and compassionate toward others. Let’s start!

1. “Empathy” By Alanis Morissette

We begin our list with a song with empathy in the title. Alanis Morisette’s “Empathy” is a powerful song that shows how someone’s empathy can bring out the best in us.

The lyrics speak of the singer’s experience with someone who shows empathy toward them, allowing them to feel safe and understood: “Thank you for seeing me / I feel so less lonely / Thank you for getting me / I’m healed by your empathy.”

Morisette has skillfully composed an empowering piece that serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact empathy can wield in our lives. Through compassion, we find the strength to overcome loneliness and embark on a journey of healing from our pain.

2. “Empathy Song” By The Mosaic Project

Next up, we have a children’s song with empathy in the lyrics. In “Empathy,” The Mosaic Project provides a simple yet impactful message about the essence of empathy.

The lyrics are fun and catchy, highlighting the importance of being there and understanding others: “We’ll listen to each other and see how the other feels / With empathy, we can understand / We can solve our problems and make amends.”

Children have a natural capacity for empathy, and this song becomes a valuable resource for instilling and nurturing this essential quality from a young age.

3. “Loving Kindness” By Ashana

Renowned meditative singer Ashana writes more than just songs that are pleasing to the ear. In “Loving Kindness,” she crafted a song that mentions empathy metaphorically.

The lyrics invite listeners to cultivate empathy and send loving kindness to others: “Loving kindness / for all beings / from the one / beyond the stars.” The term “loving kindness” is itself a metaphor for empathy, representing the deliberate action of extending our capacity for understanding toward others.

With its soothing melodies and uplifting lyrics, this song is the perfect companion for a meditation or reflection session on the power of empathy.

4. “Stand By You” By Rachel Platten

One’s presence amidst a friend’s most troubling time speaks louder than words. Rachel Platten’s “Stand By You” is a testament to this profound truth.

The lyrics of “Stand By You” demonstrate the power of empathy in a relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic: “’Cause I’m gonna stand by you / even if we’re breaking down … / I’ll walk through hell with you / Love, you’re not alone.”

Platten’s song puts into perspective how empathy is about being a pillar of strength for those we love, even when things are falling apart.

5. “Lean On Me” By Bill Withers

Few songs can make a huge impact on listeners, and Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” is one of them. Although the song mentions empathy indirectly, it still sends a powerful message about being there for others.

The lyrics speak of how we can rely on and support one another: “Lean on me when you’re not strong / and I’ll be your friend / I’ll help you carry on / For it won’t be long / ’til I’m gonna need / somebody to lean on.”

Withers’ timeless and soulful hit emphasizes the importance of empathy, especially in difficult times when we all need a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand.

6. “I’ll Stand By You” By Pretenders

Watching a friend or a loved one struggle can be tough, but The Pretenders give us a reassuring message in their heartfelt “I’ll Stand By You.”

The lyrics are a testament to the enduring power of empathy: “Oh, why you look so sad? / Tears are in your eyes / Come on and come to me now / Don’t be ashamed to cry.” The lines “Let me see you through / ’Cause I’ve seen the dark side too” prove that empathy is a universal experience.

This classic song is a reminder that we all carry burdens, and with empathy, we can help ease each other’s pain.

7. “Count On Me” By Bruno Mars

A loyal friend is a treasure to find, and in “Count On Me,” Bruno Mars’ lyrics communicate that message beautifully.

The song is a testament to the connection between empathy and friendship: “If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea / I’ll sail the world to find you … / We find out what we’re made of / when we are called to help our friends in need.”

True friendship involves empathy, support, and being there for each other through thick and thin, and “Count On Me” is a wonderful song that embodies that.

8. “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” By Jackie DeShannon

Love is the core of empathy, and Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” describes that perfectly.

The lyrics encourage listeners to spread love and kindness: “Think of your fellow man / Lend him a helping hand / Put a little love in your heart … / and the world will be a better place.” 

The song’s focus on love and understanding toward one another captures the essence of empathy, reminding us that it’s a powerful force for creating positive change in the world.

With its message of empathy and compassion, this song remains just as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1969.

9. “Try A Little Kindness” By Glen Campbell

Songs often have a way of delivering messages that resonate deeply, and Glen Campbell’s “Try a Little Kindness” is no exception.

The lyrics urge listeners to show empathy through simple acts of kindness: “You’ve got to try a little kindness / Yes, show a little kindness … / And the kindness that you show every day / will help someone along their way.”

With its country vibe and uplifting message, this song reminds us that empathy can be as effortless as showing a little kindness in our daily lives.

10. “Humble And Kind” By Tim McGraw

It is parents’ duty to teach children how to be empathetic and kind, and Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” is a powerful song that communicates this message to listeners.

The lyrics are filled with heartfelt advice: “Hold the door, say ‘please,’ say ‘thank you’ / Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie.” McGraw also emphasizes the importance of the following: “And help the next one in line / Always stay humble and kind.”

This country ballad is an inspiring song to pass down to your children and loved ones, reminding us that empathy and kindness are important values to instill in ourselves and others.

11. “Be Kind” By Marshmello Ft. Halsey

Being in a difficult relationship with someone suffering from a mental illness can be challenging, and it can affect our ability to show empathy. In “Be Kind,” Marshmello and Halsey‘s lyrics remind us of the importance of understanding and compassion in these situations.

The song touches on the struggle of a partner who wants to help but doesn’t know how with the lines: “I don’t know why you hide from the one / and close your eyes to the one … / Always confide in the one / you can be kind to the one that you love.”

And while empathy can be given to a point, the song could also be a subtle nudge that sometimes it’s important to consider our own boundaries as well.

12. “Treat People With Kindness” By Harry Styles

Although kindness is an innate human quality, sometimes we need a reminder to treat others with empathy and understanding. In “Treat People with Kindness,” Harry Styles delivers that message with his signature retro vibe and catchy lyrics.

The song’s chorus encapsulates the importance of being kind: “Maybe we can / find a place to feel good / and we can treat people with kindness.” Kindness and empathy are two overarching themes in Styles’ first solo tour in 2017, and this song serves as a powerful anthem for spreading positivity and compassion.

With its upbeat tempo and uplifting message, “Treat People with Kindness” is a perfect track to add to any feel-good playlist.

13. “You’ve Got A Friend” By Carole King

Penned by Carole King for her friends when she moved away, “You’ve Got a Friend” is an enduring classic that reminds us of the importance of empathy and support in our relationships.

The lyrics are filled with reassurance and compassion for a friend in need: “When you’re down and troubled / and you need some loving care … / you just call out my name / and you know wherever I am / I’ll come running / to see you again.”

King’s emotional delivery and heartfelt lyrics make this song a timeless reminder that having someone show empathy can make all the difference in tough times, even from a distance.

14. “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” By Randy Newman

Films often show us the importance of empathy and kindness, and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the animated movie Toy Story is no exception. Written by Randy Newman, the song has become a classic theme of friendship and support.

The lyrics speak to the loyalty and understanding between friends: “And as the years go by / our friendship will never die … / If you’ve got troubles, I’ve got ’em too / There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you / We stick together and can see it through.”

With its catchy melody and heartwarming lyrics, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” reminds us that empathy knows no bounds when it comes to friendship.

15. “Don’t Give Up On Me” By Andy Grammer

Chronic illnesses can often leave individuals feeling isolated and misunderstood, making it crucial for loved ones to show empathy and support. In “Don’t Give Up On Me,” Andy Grammer‘s soulful vocals convey the message of never giving up on someone who is struggling.

A theme song to the film Five Feet Apart about two teenagers with cystic fibrosis, the lyrics speak to the importance of standing by someone through their challenges: “I will fight for you / I always do until my heart is black and blue / and I will stay, I will stay with you.”

The song serves as a poignant reminder that even when it may be difficult to fully understand what someone is going through, we can still show empathy and support by not giving up on them.

16. “All Of You” By The Encanto Cast

Another movie soundtrack on our list, “All of You” from Disney’s Encanto is a heartwarming anthem about the power of empathy and understanding within families.

The lyrics, sung by various members of the Madrigal family, express acceptance and love toward one another despite their individual struggles. 

The song also features an ensemble where they show their empathy toward the family who just lost their enchanted home: “Lay down your load … / We have no gifts, but we are many / and we’ll do anything for you.”

The message of unity and compassion in “All of You” is a valuable lesson that empathy within families and communities can bring us closer together, no matter what challenges we face.

17. “Flashlight” By Jessie J

Having a friend you can count on amidst life’s challenges is a rare gem, and Jessie J‘s “Flashlight” pays tribute to such a special bond. The song, featured in the movie Pitch Perfect 2, is a powerful anthem about friendship and unrelenting support.

The lyrics capture the essence of being there for someone during difficult times: “I’m stuck in the dark, but you’re my flashlight / You’re gettin’ me … through the night.” The use of flashlight as a metaphor for a friend’s guidance and understanding is both creative and effective.

“Flashlight” highlights the importance of having someone who shows empathy and support, especially during tough times when we may feel alone. And with Jessie J’s powerful vocals, this song is sure to bring out all the emotions in its listeners.

18. “True Colors” By Anna Kendrick And Justin Timberlake

In life, we often act tough and put on a facade, but showing our true selves is an act of vulnerability and courage. This is what the gentle ballad “True Colors” is all about, a cover performed by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake for the movie Trolls.

The lyrics speak to the importance of being seen for who we truly are: “I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you / So don’t be afraid to let them show / your true colors, true colors are beautiful.”

With its simple yet moving lyrics, “True Colors” sends a message to look beyond appearances and see the beauty in one another. After all, showing empathy means embracing each other’s true colors with love and understanding. 

19. “Run Like The River” By Meghan Trainor

Encouragement from a friend can be the push we need to keep going, even when things get tough. This is embodied in “Run Like the River,” Meghan Trainor‘s upbeat anthem for the animated film Playmobil.

The lyrics empower us to keep moving forward amidst all difficulties in life: “I believe in you … / Be the hero that’s like no one else … / When the rain falls down / I promise I won’t run, run like the river.”

The use of water imagery in the lyrics is symbolic of facing obstacles and challenges head-on without backing down. “Run Like the River” is a reminder to show empathy toward ourselves and others by being each other’s cheerleader in difficult times. 

20. “At Your Side” By The Corrs

Man cannot live without the support of others, and The Corrs reinforces this message that we all need someone to lean on in their song “At Your Side.”

With its gentle melody and heartfelt lyrics, this song speaks to the power of empathy and standing by someone through their struggles: “I’ll be at your side / There’s no need to worry / Together we’ll survive / through the haste and hurry.”

The song’s message of unconditional support and understanding is a testament to the enduring power of empathy to strengthen and uplift us in our times of need. 

21. “I’ll Be Your Mirror” By The Velvet Underground Ft. Nico

Seeing someone for who they truly are and showing them love and acceptance is the ultimate act of empathy. This is beautifully captured in “I’ll Be Your Mirror” by The Velvet Underground, featuring the vocals of German singer Nico.

The lyrics convey a deep sense of understanding and compassion: “When you think the night has seen your mind / that inside, you’re twisted and unkind / let me stand to show that you are blind … / ’cause I see you.”

Often, we need someone else to reflect our true selves back to us, and “I’ll Be Your Mirror” reminds us of the power of empathy in doing just that.

22. “Kindness” By Steven Curtis Chapman

God is the ultimate embodiment of empathy, and in the Christian praise song “Kindness,” Steven Curtis Chapman beautifully captures this concept.

The lyrics speak to the kindness and empathy of God and how we as humans can strive to show the same love and understanding toward one another: “I can forgive because I’ve been forgiven / and I can show mercy / because its mercy I’ve received … / I wanna live with a heart of kindness.”

“Kindness” reminds listeners to show empathy toward others, just as God has shown to us. By doing so, we can spread love and compassion in the world.

23. “Find Your People” By Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

We end this list with an inspiring song by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. “Find Your People” is a call to action, encouraging listeners to seek out and surround themselves with those who will support and uplift them.

The lyrics communicate that we all need a community of understanding and empathetic individuals in our lives: “You got to find your people / the ones that make you feel whole / that won’t leave your side when you lose control / The ones that don’t let you lose your soul.”

Indeed, in a world where empathy and connection are sometimes hard to find, having the right people by our side can make all the difference.

Summing Up Our List Of Empathy Songs

Songs have a way of reaching deep into our hearts and conveying emotions that sometimes words alone cannot. Through this curated list, we’ve explored different perspectives on empathy — from self-empathy to showing empathy toward others.

As you listen to these songs, may they remind you of the importance and beauty of empathy in our lives and in the lives of the people around us.

If we missed a song that you believe should be on this list, please feel free to share it and spread the message of empathy even further!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.