Would you like a relationship with affinity, appreciation, being on the same wavelength, being there for someone, communion, a community of interests, compassion, comprehension, concord, good vibrations, hitting it off, insight, rapport, recognition, responsiveness, soul, sympathy and warmth? That’s empathy for you.
It means the ability to understand and share the feeling of another. If we are to feel connected to each other, then we must be able to experience empathy. Without it, we would treat everyone else as a competitor for resources. Think of it as being on a scale: at one end, you are a lone wolf, treating everyone else as a competitor for resources; at the other end, you are a saint.
You can’t have a personal relationship without it. It helps you solve issues and make choices that work for both of you.
To the extent that you show empathy, you have to expand your boundaries. You have to care about and be able to open to each other. You need to be concerned with both ends of making a connection – sharing what you feel and also being interested and able to listen to how your partner feels. What do they see? What are they thinking? How do they feel? What are their fears? When you understand their needs and desires, you can chart a course that takes both of you where you want to go.
This doesn’t mean that you have to give up a part of yourself. Your individuality hasn’t been crimped, it’s been broadened to include a glimpse of someone else.
Empathy in your personal relationship helps you find choices that work for both of you #quote Click To TweetWhen you regularly relate in this way, where each of you is comfortable letting go of your image of how something should be and hearing your love’s version, you develop a trust and strength that opens the door to finding mutual solutions. Empathy is the key to this door. As you get more skilled at this, you will again and again find yourselves discovering that something new emerges: a mutual place that fulfills the needs and desires of both of you.
It can be the answer to the divisiveness that is felt so deeply in the world at present. When we feel what the other is feeling, we no longer see them as a threat or challenge. We begin to see them as related, perhaps even as a relation. Whether it’s your partner, your neighbor or society at large, you can spread peace through empathy and understanding.
What do you think of when you contemplate empathy? How can you use this to deepen your relationship?