An amazing way to promote your happiness is to develop the skill of “empathy.”
Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
One reason that empathy is so important is that the act of empathy brings healing to our world and to ourselves.
When you truly seek to understand the inner world of another person, you learn compassion, and when the other person truly feels understood by you, this feeling of being “understood” is extremely therapeutic.
In counseling, some theorists believe that “empathy” is a helper’s greatest tool to bring healing to a person in pain.
The way that you communicate empathy is that you simply reflect back/say what the other person is truly feeling.
For example, if a person has just lost his job, and he is talking about this to you, you should actively listen to what he is saying in order to accurately empathize with him.
If he says, “I am afraid that I will not find another job,” then you can reflect his feeling by saying, “You feel scared about your ability to find a job and perhaps you feel worried about having enough money.”
Then you would wait for the other person to indicate whether what you reflected is really what he is feeling or not.
Sometimes empathy and “reflection of feeling” (a counseling technique) provide all of the healing a person needs, because that person feels understood and truly cared about.
Rather than jumping to give advice to people in pain, try just actually “standing in their shoes” and reflecting their inner worlds back to them. Let them know that another person can understand what they are really going through. Take time to listen for the underlying feelings in their words–perhaps the feelings that they are not fully aware of.
When we understand our feelings, we are more aware of ourselves, and this awareness gives us a better chance of discovering the right course of action.
Try feeling and practicing empathy in your relationships–and then see how amazing your relationships become!