Communicating with Empathy


Communicating with Empathy

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Creating Harmonious Relationships: A Practical Guide to the Power of True Empathy

Book Description Creating Harmonious Relationships will show you how to build loving intimate relationships, develop and maintain friendships, positively influence people at work, and turn conflict into understanding. From the Back Cover "A powerful, spiritually uplifting, simply and clearly written book about healing our relationships." Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D. "Provides new and improved skills in helping understand and resolve conflicts. A MUST READ book." Arun Gandhi "Shows, step by step, how to take responsibility for creating relationships that really work." Robert Gass, Ed.D.

communicating with empathy


Communicating With Empathy
Empathy Training: Prayer, Meditation and Practice
by Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D.
Communicating with Empathy

Every person has limits and thresholds for experiencing empathy towards another person. It becomes fruitless and useless to expect someone to feel empathy for you or someone else when they have reached the limits of their capacity for feeling empathy. You, yourself, have your own empathy limits, where someone else's actions, words, behavior seem so crazy and distressing to you that you feel your empathy limits being strained to the breaking point. There is no use being angry and disappointed with yourself when your empathy limits have been surpassed.

When this point has been breached by someone else's seemingly insensitive behavior, actions and words, you'll probably feel like a failure. On the surface, you are experiencing a failure like feeling for not being able to respond to the situation with empathy. Your empathic boundaries have been stretched, strained and broken. What can you do about this dilemma? You certainly would like to have enough powers of persuasion to convince the offending parties to stop their offensive words and actions. But, alas! That may not be the case and you are left with a dilemma.

Receiving Feedback

Part of becoming more empathically capable is your willingness and ability to be open and receptive to someone else's feedback. Most of us like to think of ourselves as being honest and open. But upon closer examination, you may notice that the willingness to receive feedback from someone else is usually a decision that you choose to make or reject. Feedback, when received, has the power of changing you and your behavior. Granted, that some feedback is not helpful at all and may even be destructive in the communication process. But, let's try a simple experiment. Make the decision, that the next time a relative or a person close to you, decides to give you feedback, that you will listen and be open and vulnerable to the effects of that feedback.

Forget for a minute your justifications and rationalizations for not accepting that person's feedback. Let the information get inside of you and empathically reflect back to that person your understanding of the feedback. First and maybe foremost, the feedback may affect you in a positive way and secondly, it might give the sender the feeling of being influential with you. When you allow another person to feel effective at influencing you, you make them feel successful and perhaps more loving towards you. It also gives them the sense that you are an open and receptive person and that their influence bids are helpful and effective. By being open to the other person's feedback, you encourage more two-way communication and creative contributions through the process of feedback.

When feedback is non-critical, non-judgemental, non-evaluative and respectful, it becomes a powerful tool for personal, relationship and business growth. All relationships depend upon effective feedback for change and growth. It pays to realize that the power of receiving feedback will enhance your empathic capabilities. The most successful relationships and partnerships are the ones that fully practice and understand the power of feedback that is non-critical, non-judgemental and respectful. Unfortunately, in highly charged emotional situations, people will usually resort to negatively evaluative, disrespectful judgments. This usually reflects the presence of hostile and defensive emotions. It is difficult to give and receive effective respectful feedback when you are engaged in fight/flight/freeze enmeshments. It is also very difficult to be in a fully open, receptive feedback mode when you detect any form of judgment or evaluation. Generally speaking, people are sensitive to negative criticism and will defensively tense up at the slightest hint that there is something wrong with them.

We all like to think of ourselves as competent and well-meaning and when someone hurls or implies a negative judgment of us, it almost automatically triggers a defensive response. Once you recognize this natural defensive tendency in yourself, you can make conscious revisions on how you react to such feedback. It is probably much easier to process someone else's feedback when you personally solicit or seek it out. But when feedback comes at you by surprise, you do not know what to expect and your natural tendency will be to protect yourself. Any situation where you involuntarily find yourself receiving feedback can be nerve racking and uncomfortable. You probably feel much more comfortable when someone else asks you how you feel about a certain situation. If you are allowed to give feedback to yourself first, you might be able to soften the impact of the other people's feedback giving weaknesses. Remember that the goal of receiving and/or giving feedback is to help you or another person to change, grow, solve a problem or achieve a goal.
Melt Your Mans Heart

I just wanted to add when you communicate with empathy to your partner as per Infidelity: A Survival Guide, book by Don-David Lusterman, a seasoned family therapist, "Speak in "I" language, not in finger-pointing "you" language. Report what you are feeling - don't emote (emoting - showing the raw emotion as this has negative and unpredictable consequences). Don't blame the other person, but carefully describe what is happening inside yourself. Draw your partner out as completely as you can. Lose yourself in your partner's feelings. Put yourself completely in your partner's shoes."

Here is a really great article: Intentional Dialogue: A Process for Dissolving Conflict.

Lifeskills : 8 Simple Ways to Build Stronger Relationships, Communicate More Clearly, and Improve Your Health

These truly are "Life" skills in two ways--they help you live your life positively/effectively and they take a lifetime to master. There are no quick cures or miracle pills in this book.
The "book description" lists the 8 skills taught in the book. Here are some more details about each skill.
1. Identify your thoughts and feelings.
Acknowledge the feelings you are having; you cannot address the negative ones unless you are honest about them. Don't deny negative feelings because you feel guilty or bad about having them (anger fear, jealousy, insecurity, etc.). Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't be feeling them or that they are not real. Try writing down your thoughts and feelings. Write the situation that led up to them.
2. Evaluate negative thoughts/feelings.
Observe the objective facts that led up to the negative thoughts/feelings; do not make any assumptions or interpretations. Then, ask yourself 4 questions:
Is this matter Important to me?
Are my thoughts/feelings Appropriate given the objective facts?
Is the situation Modifiable?
Given my needs and the needs of others, is taking action Worth It?

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Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local emergency 911 or a Counselor nearby