10 Reasons Why the Art of Empathy is Enriching for Couples:
- You and your partner will build trust for each other.
- When there is trust, you and your partner will be able to share your most vulnerable feelings with safety.
- It releases feelings off your shoulders and allows healing when in need
- Reduces stress and anger..
- Improves compassion within your relationship.
- It is easy to practice and enjoy. Not a mundane activity that feels like work. It is so rewarding that it becomes addicting.
- You and your partner will learn more about each other and about yourselves.
- Allows you to genuinely understand and appreciate your partner.
- You develop an open mind by stepping into another person's world (viewpoint).
- You can use it with coworkers, friends, children, the lady at the grocery store and just about anybody.
How do I do this wonderful tool?
It does take commitment and most importantly...practice. Just like we
learn how to drive a car. We are unfamiliar at first and then with
practice it is second nature to us.
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5 Simple Steps to using Empathy with your Partner:
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- Start with body language! Face each other, knee-to-knee, and
don't slouch back. Lean forward and begin with curiuosity. (We hold
hands and it adds more intimacy.)
- While listening create a video of the experience in your head,
don't interrupt, don't ask questions, and become the other person by
- When reflecting their feelings start by saying their name as yours
(e.g. Alfred says when empathizing, "I as Lucinda"), breifly cover the
event and facts, and focus more on the feelings the person experienced
during this event, even the feelings that weren't said. When saying the
feelings use a tone of certainty and slowness. Feelings are just one
word, e.g. "I feel unloved."
- When done, allow your partner to correct you if you named a feeling
that wasn't correct for them. When your partner has given you more
information, then repeat again back to them focusing on the feelings.
- Each time you are done reflecting, ask graciuosly "Is there more?"
If your partner is finished, ask "Do you feel understoond?" If your
partner feels completely understood then you will switch places and if
you are using an object to distinguish who is expressing their feelings
and who is listening, then you will recieve the object and your partner
will empathize. Note: you will know you understood your partner by the
look on their face, a sigh, tears, or even laughter.
When learning something it is best to:
- Have a mentor coach you through your dialogue.
- Practice with easy topics to begin with (e.g. appreciations, favorite dating memories, etc).
- Slowly work your way up to issues, starting with small annoyances (e.g. leaving the clothes on the floor) to bigger issues.
Keep in mind:
- These conversations can last from 20 minutes to months on the
same topic. For a one time sitting, they have lasted up to 4 hours.