Lincoln said, and meant, the following: “To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own.”
Of course, one can easily dismiss that pithy observation as a cutsey little nothing, but Lincoln practiced the kind of compassion he preached.
One day during the Civil War Lincoln was visiting the sick and wounded. He entered a tent in which lay Confederate wounded. A correspondent quoted him as saying they were “enemies through uncontrollable circumstances.”
After a silence, Confederates came forward and without words shook the hand of the President. Some were too sore and broken to walk or to sit up. The President went among these, took some by the hand, wished them good cheer, and said they should have the best of care. The correspondent wrote, “Beholders wept at the interview. Most of the Confederates, even, were moved to tears.”