For many people, cultivating healthy relationships is one of the most important things to accomplish in life. But the problem is, most of us have no idea how to develop the emotional intelligence necessary to make that a reality.
And so we spend our days guessing, experimenting, and moving through life with no idea how to truly build the relationships that we all know we’re capable of. So we find it difficult to build long-lasting relationships that stand the test of time.
Developing emotional intelligence can help to prevent arguments, fights, and many other undesirable events within our daily lives. Perhaps this is what Seneca meant when he said:
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”
Those words resonate as strongly with our current lives, just as they did thousands of years ago during the height of the Roman empire. Because when you’re able to understand the other person’s point of view, it becomes easier to resolve any argument, and thus create a positive path forward.
Over the years, I’ve found myself consciously being more empathetic during an argument. Instead of rushing to defend my point of view, I’ve discovered that a better solution is listening to the other person and trying to find common ground. As Ernest Hemingway once so beautifully wrote: “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
So if we genuinely want to improve our relationships, learning how to be empathetic is an excellent place to start.
Here’s how to do it.
Focus On The Emotions Of Others.
When your partner or family member is angry, it’s incredibly easy to focus solely on the actions they take. For example, throwing a phone against the wall or locking themselves in their bedroom.
But instead of concentrating on what they do, a better way to become more empathetic is focusing on how they feel. After all, behaviors are the result of internal emotion, making us want to act in a certain way.
Whenever a loved one is feeling upset, try to identify the cause of their emotion and speak with them to find a solution that will enable them to overcome whatever is holding them back from being happy again.
Listen More Than You Speak.
One of the reasons that people struggle to be empathetic is because they’re more concerned with their own thoughts than those of other people. But as the Greek philosopher, Epictetus once said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Empathy is described as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.” But that can only begin when you are prepared to listen with intent and understand how the other person truly feels.
Communicate Your Vulnerability.
It’s essential to recognize that vulnerability is vital for showing empathy. Because unless you’re willing to show your emotions during a conversation, it’s unlikely that the other person will reciprocate.
In the words of Brené Brown: “Daring means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations.”
So whenever you find yourself needing to resolve a conflict, take a moment to step back, evaluate the situation, and think about the best way to express your emotions in a meaningful way.
The only way to maintain healthy relationships is by developing emotional intelligence, so you’re able to understand how the other person feels. But this can only happen when you have a desire to be empathetic, compassionate, and can show vulnerability to connect with loved ones on an emotional level.
That’s how to prevent a lack of empathy from destroying your life. Because when you make emotional intelligence a priority and are willing to listen to the feelings of another person, every aspect of your relationships will strengthen forever.
I’m going to leave you with a quote from Alfred Adler, who perfectly speaks about the importance of implementing empathy in your daily life:
“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.”
That’s all you need to do.
Listen, understand, and be compassionate to how other people feel.
When you can listen to what other people are saying, you can see the situation from a different perspective and create a way forward.
When you can understand a situation from someone else’s point of view, you have the power to find common ground and resolve any argument.
Remember: Empathy is a superpower that can build incredible new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
Use it wisely.