Who would’ve given relationships the deep thought that they require empathy to survive? Being with someone comes so naturally to us after a while that it feels like breathing- we don’t think about it, but it’s still happening. And that is when, sometimes, we end up losing the spark in the relationship. And that is also when the power of empathy in relationships plays a significant role in fixing even the unfixable.
As long as there is o toxic behavior, abuse, or harassment involved, every relationship has the power to reignite the passion, as long as both partners want it. Empathy in relationships is that powerful and magical feeling that can transform the most argumentative relationships into ones of peace and comfort.
Psychologist, Dr. Rick Hanson has also described empathy as a key relationship skill. But why? Let’s break it down.
What is Empathy in Relationships?
Relationships are all about connections. The deeper the connection, the deeper the bond, the deeper every other aspect of the relationship. But how is any of it possible without Empathy?
Empathy is THAT connection. It is the building block of every other relationship skill, the lack of which has murdered what could’ve been happy couples today. Murder may be a strong word. But it breaks my heart when I watch happy couples shatter with the tip of minor relationship issues. Look at it this way:
Power of Empathy in Relationships= The Foundation of a Building
A building cannot stand without a foundation. But when the foundation is strong, the cement, the bricks, the pillars, all come together to form a sturdy building. Relationships are no different, with empathy being the foundation, the building being the relationship itself, and understanding, intimacy, trust, and other such relationship skills being the other materials that add to the building’s strength.
Doesn’t this make so much sense now? It is one of the most powerful feelings in a healthy relationship. Understanding your partner from their perspective. Byt why is it important?
What is the Power of Empathy in Relationships?
1. Clears the Attention-Space Dilemma
How much attention does your partner need? How much space does your partner need? How else can you know without empathy in relationships? We’re often caught up in the dilemma of how much attention or space our partner needs. But with empathy, we understand just when they need what and it avoids the day-to-day arguments like, “You don’t even get me!”
Empathy basically means being able to see yourself in someone else’s shoes. It does seem like it saves us many misunderstandings, doesn’t it?
2. Builds Stronger Connections
I can vouch for it that empathy in relationships massively contributes to powerful and deeper connections. Empathy in itself is a connection. But with it being the foundation of your relationship, every other form of connection becomes deeper than ever. Stronger connections only mean a greater understanding of each other’s needs, and that means a long-lasting relationship. There’s no better explanation than this.
3. Makes You a Compassionate Person
Given the past few years and everything else that’s happening around the world, we could all use a little more compassion. The power of empathy in relationships is such that it will enable you to become a more compassionate person in life. And that doesn’t mean just with your partner. But being mindful with your partner, and being empathetic with your partner conditions you to think about people more often than now.
This in no way implies that you don’t think about yourself. You SHOULD prioritize yourself. But, empathy makes you think about people in their problems and respond accordingly.
4. Your Relationship’s Aura Remains Positive
Does empathy in relationships contribute to a positive aura? You wouldn’t have even thought of it this way. But that’s the thing, you know? When it comes to our relationships, we often take things for granted labeling them as “routine,” and forget about investing some thought and gestures for each other. But with empathy in the picture, we view our partners in a more positive light, creating a positive aura for the relationship. There’s lesser to crib or dislike because empathy empowers you to think about where your partner is coming from. There will be a mature understanding of “agree to disagree” rather than fighting over who is right.
5. Fights Are Easier to Resolve
Despite being mindful in our lives, sometimes, fights are inevitable. And that is okay. Overcoming a fight makes a couple stronger because they’ve dealt with one more issue and know each other better. But with empathy being a key relationship skill, resolving fights is so much easier. Firstly, the screaming, cutting each other short, walking out on each other, type of immature actions cease. Secondly, after the fight, when alone, your empathetic brain helps you understand each other better. You understand each other’s perspectives in this zone, making it easier to accept, apologize, and move on!
Doesn’t it seem like working on empathy in relationships will solve more than half of our day-to-day relationship struggles? I hear you saying, “Hell, yeah!”
6. Makes us Realize That a Relationship is About TWO People; Not One
You know that selfish side we all hide? Yeah, that kind of vanishes when we become empathetic beings. Look, empathy doesn’t mean we prioritize others’ needs over ours. It only means that we hurt our partners less when it comes to being watchful with our words and actions. Empathetic couples also disagree. But they disagree with empathy, meaning by respecting each other’s point of view and leaving it there.
Empathy in relationships makes us realize that a relationship is about TWO people, not just one of them. It is because we put ourselves in our partner’s shoes, and give them the benefit of the doubt, “Okay, so, this is what he/she feels about this, and that’s okay.” We realize that it isn’t just about us because we know there are two people, two hearts, two mindsets, two personalities, two opinions, two emotions, two different feelings, and two everything else involved.
7. Makes us Patient and Peaceful Beings
It is already evident how empathy in relationships makes us patient and peaceful beings. Instead of screaming about why we’re right, we become more about, “I understand what you’re saying. But here’s what I think.” If your partner reciprocates with empathy, here’s what you will hear, “Okay, go ahead. Let’s work through this.” instead of “It doesn’t matter what you think. You’re just wrong!” We become better listeners because we value what our partner has to say so we can give their thought/feelings a fair chance of expression in this relationship. Sometimes, you’ll realize that your partner’s perspective is much different from yours, and giving it a second thought might not be such a bad idea after all!
I’ve said it before, I say it again- The world could use more kindness. Our world begins from our hearts, our homes. So, let’s begin there, what say? Lay the groundwork and prepare to lay the foundation with empathy in relationships.
Here’s how we can make empathy a part of our lives:
- Speak to respond, not react
- Listen attentively and patiently
- Don’t cut each other off
- Accept that sometimes there is no right or wrong. There are just two perspectives
- Give and take space to think and empathize
- Pause. Reflect. Respond.
- Introduce your partner to practicing empathy too; stronger together
The first step towards practicing empathy would be by sharing this article with your partner so you can both begin. Remember, this is advice for only those who WANT to fix their relationships than thinking, “It’ll work out if it has to.” Leaving it to destiny is fine when YOU have done your bit. Invest efforts and time into your relationships, and then leave it to destiny, if that’s what you believe.
A big shoutout to those who also believe in the power of empathy in relationships!
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