A guide to applying empathy in your relationship.
Life is beautiful. Each day, we have the opportunity to wake up, fall in love, and create incredible memories that will stand the test of time. What events lay before us remain unknown. However, the decisions we make today shall influence the outcome of our lives.
In short, we all have 24 hours in a day; and what we do with that time is up to us.
We can either be angry, resentful, and disloyal towards the people we love & care for. Alternatively, we can deploy empathy to build the foundations of a happy life.
The choice is yours.
But before we discuss the benefits of emotional intelligence in a relationship, I have a question for you to answer:
Do you ever get into arguments with your partner?
Maybe disputes are getting more frequent. Or perhaps the tension between you both is no longer bearable due to the inability to resolve any issues which arise.
No matter what your current situation is, many couples recognize that dealing with their problems is something which they like to avoid. After all, nobody wants to break up with their lover or impose unnecessary stress upon the relationship.
This is a big concern for many couples around the world. Admittedly, being angry and getting into an argument may serve as a release of stress; it’s natural to show your emotions. But as Marcus Aurelius once questioned:
“How much more harmful are the consequences of anger…than the circumstances that aroused them in us?”
Getting angry with your partner about refusing sex will not fix the lack of intimacy within your relationship.
Arguing with your lover about finances will not fix the situation of being broke with no resolution in sight.
Instead of using anger and hatred to express how we feel, a better solution is to use our emotions to diffuse the situation.
Let me explain.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is having the capability to manage your own emotions and to empathize with others. Instead of using anger and violence to resolve a situation, deploying empathy to find common ground will ultimately result in fewer arguments, and (often) a solution to whatever problems you are facing.
In the modern world, being able to understand the emotions of other people is absolutely fundamental to building strong relationships. After all, human connection and intimacy are essential to the survival of the species.
But despite having instant access to communicate with (almost) anybody on the planet, we still tend to prioritize emotion over many aspects of our lives.
“Joy comes to us from those whom we love even when they are absent …; when present, seeing them and associating intimately with them yields real pleasure …
… let us enjoy our friends avidly, for how long this blessing will fall to our lot is uncertain.”
Love is an inherent part of what it means to be human.
Emotionally intelligent couples don’t just understand the concept of empathy; they practice it.
They make a conscious decision to choose empathy over anger, and love over fear. Instead of pointlessly arguing about their problems, emotionally intelligent couples take the time to understand their partner’s point of view so they can move forward with their lives.
There is a quote from Marcus Aurelius, which perfectly describes how to practice empathy within your relationships. He says, “one should attend closely to what is being said, and with regard to every impulse attend to what arises from it.”
If you can genuinely listen to your partner and understand their emotions, deploying emotional intelligence simply becomes a natural way to overcome problems you may face as a couple.
Emotional Intelligence allows you to develop self-awareness of your own psychology, so you can understand why you are having specific thoughts, and create ways to overcome adversity.
Also, it allows you to generate a comprehensive understanding of your partner’s ambitions — so that you can support each other’s strengths & weaknesses in times of crisis.
If you genuinely want to develop a fundamental understanding of emotional intelligence in a relationship, ask yourself the following questions:
- How can you empathize with your partner’s emotions more frequently?
- What situations cause tension within the relationship? How can they be fixed?
- How can you be held more accountable within the relationship?
As you will be aware, emotional intelligence plays a substantial part in building a healthy relationship.
So instead of getting into frequent arguments, taking the time to deploy empathy to diffuse the situation is a positive step forward. In the words of Epictetus:
“It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Take a moment and ask yourself how you would like to be remembered. Review your current decisions, and question if your current choices in life align with that vision.
If not, it’s time to become a more empathetic person.
I’m going to leave you with a quote from Ryan Holiday, who purposefully talks about the importance of emotional intelligence, and deploying humility daily:
“We’re not as smart and as wise as we’d like to think we are. If we ever do want to become wise, it comes from the questioning and from humility — not, as many would like to think, from certainty, mistrust, and arrogance.”
Once you become emotionally intelligent, you will be more empathetic to those you love.
You will live with a sense of purpose, respect, and understanding for everyone in your life.
You will recognize that you have the power to shape the future, direction, and destiny of your relationships.
That’s how to live with emotional intelligence.