There’s no getting around it: if you want to continue to build and grow your relationship, you need empathy. Empathy is the ability to see what another person is seeing or feel what they are feeling, in order to get a better understanding of that person’s point of view.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. Especially if you and your partner come from different backgrounds, have different jobs, and overall just see things differently.
Let’s break down four tools you can use to help you become empathetic toward your partner during a conflict or a situation in which you are having trouble understanding them.
Focus on love.
Emphatic concern involves the effort it takes to use empathy to be compassionate with your partner. Seeing a situation from your partner’s perspective takes a lot of work, and it is easier for us to shut our eyes to someone else’s view.
But there’s something that can make this easier: the love you feel for them. Focusing on that love can remind you of why you’re trying in the first place and make that hard work just a little bit easier. The more you do this, the easier it becomes, because each of these things – love, compassion, and empathy – strengthen each other.
You and your partner are engaged in a conflict because you see things differently. So you have to look at the situation from their eyes in order to come to an agreement.
This can be done in a few ways: you can continue to ask questions about your partner’s feelings (as long as you also really listen to their answer), you can try to take on the responsibilities they have, or you can take your knowledge of your partner to form a better picture of their point of view.
It is easy to know when you are in pain, but often harder to see when others are suffering. In fact, many of us hide our feelings because we do not want to put the burden on anyone else.
But empathy is all about feeling and understanding the pain of others. If you see signs of your partner in pain or distress, try your best to feel that pain. It will help you to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand what they need to heal.
Feeling the pain of others and finding solutions takes some imagination – and often several tries – before you get it right. Eventually, things will click, and you will be able to see what path your partner is envisioning and find a compromise.
Using these tools will help you understand the needs and reasoning of your partner, resolving conflicts with love and empathy. Want to learn more about these tools and how to use them in your specific situation? Talk to a relationship coach today.
Rooting for you!