You Don’t Have to Be a Buddha to Show Empathy
It can be tough to take on someone else’s experience, but in the end, attempting empathy will help you (and others) growth.
A SHIFT IN OUR SENSES
Part of the shift we’re going through as a society is experiencing new forms of understanding. This happens at a deeper level than words and body language—it involves two souls communicating directly. It is a dance of energy and feeling.
As we grow in our awareness of a multidimensional reality, we learn how to engage with the world a little differently. This applies strongly to romance. With a US divorce rate of around 50%, it pays to wonder how to build a strong love life.
There are many relationship techniques you can pick up, and some of them are useful. What we’ll be talking about here, though, is empathy. This is the ability to sense the emotions of another person. It gives you valuable information and enhances bonding.
Imagine coming home and saying hi to your partner. They smile, but you can just feel that something is off. You ask them how their day went, and listen carefully to anything that stands out. You check out their tense lip and fidgety fingers. Then it happens…one thing leads to another, and all of a sudden you’re in a fight! And why exactly?
Empathy opens up a broader range of experiences. Instead of being confused or saying the wrong things, you start to become a bit more fluid in social interactions. You’re tuned into a channel you never heard before. Even if you do make a faux pas, you can course correct more easily.
Enough talk. Whenever it comes to things like developing awareness and exercising your intuition, the best course is real world practice. Here are 3 keys to start using empathy.
KEY #1: CLEAR YOURSELF
Ever try to talk with someone in a noisy room? How’d that work?
If you’re cluttered with thoughts and emotions, it’s a challenge to sense your partner’s emotions. The first step is calming yourself and stilling your mind. Meditation is the classic formula for this.
Here’s a simple meditation:
- Sit comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Focus on your breathing.
- When a thought or emotion distracts you, allow it to run its course, then simply focus again on the breath.
Do this for 5 minutes a day, and build up to 10.
Also, throughout your day, pay attention to how your body feels and any emotions that arise. Accept them and be mindful of what they are and how they affect you.
KEY #2: CONNECT INTENTIONALLY
Energy follows intention. Now that you’re more aware and mindful, you’re able to form clearer intentions. Next time you’re with your partner, feel the desire to connect at a deeper level. “Breathe into” the feeling and let it expand. Be it.
KEY #3: BE PLAYFUL
Imagine you’re the other person. Literally imagine this. Pretend you can actually see from their eyes, hear from their ears, and otherwise feel from their senses. What sort of things might you be thinking if you had that experience? What might you be experiencing? Feeling?
Try this exercise at the mall or other public place. Choose a random person, and focus your awareness on them. Let yourself be calm and clear when you start, then imagine how they are. Things will come to you that will seem made up. It’s okay. Apply some childlike playfulness here.
When you’re with your partner, notice which sensations and information you get by doing this. You will want to gauge yourself, so use some of the advice in this post: Seeing Things Doesn’t Make Me Crazy.
Keep experimenting. You’ll get the hang of it.
Go ahead. Slip on those other shoes and start walking.
Please share your experiences below! I’d love to hear what impact these exercises have had on your empathy and relationships.