First, it’s important to understand what empathy means: It can be defined as:
- awareness and understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings;
- the ability to affectively respond to another person;
- an understanding or recognition of other people’s experiences or condition, usually by feeling with them
“The world is a better place when we use our empathy.”
So why is it important? Empathy helps us form healthy relationships by promoting compassion and understanding.
So what happens when we are not empathetic? Sometimes people lose themselves in their thoughts and feelings,
which is a good thing. What could be discouraging however, is that our empathetic responses can lead to co-dependency.
Lisa Firestone explains in her book “Co-dependency” that, “co-dependency is a psychology term for
when people lose themselves or their identities in relationships so much so that they become dependent on the other person to keep them alive.”
This often results when two people are emotionally dependent on each other.
This is a tricky situation for a couple to work their way through,
because there’s a fine line between being empathetic and being co-dependent.
In order to avoid this common dilemma, it is essential to understand the signs of co-dependency in a healthy relationship.
“If you feel like you are always trying to get others to do things for you, or
if you feel like you rely on your partner too much, it may be unhealthy,” says Dr. Lisa Firestone.
Not all signs of co-dependency are negative though.
Many couples experience these signs together and don’t feel that they’re a problem because they’re able to work through them together.
For example, if your significant other calls you to tell you something important is happening in their lives, it’s important to be there for them.
But make sure that you are both equally invested in the other person and take turns encouraging each,
instead of one person carrying the weight of the relationship on their shoulders.
Feels guilty when someone is upset with them. [rather than thinking “That’s not my problem”]
I thought this was a good article and it made me think about empathy and how
I can apply that to my relationships and situations that I am in.
The one point that was kind of confusing to me was the whole co-dependency issue.
(I know, that’s probably because I don’t know what it is or how it works.)
I have always seen empathy in my relationship with Chethan in a good light.
I think being empathetic is the most important aspect in any healthy relationship.
I always try to put myself in Chethan’s shoes when he talks about something he does not like or agrees with.
It helps us see things from each others’ perspectives,
which is sometimes hard to do when you are so emotionally connected with each other.
It brings more respect for each other, when you can understand where your partner is coming from when they are “feeling” something.
It is also important to note that Chethan and I are both equally invested in this relationship.
We both understand that we need each other and we always want to be there for each other.
How many relationships do you know where the two partners take turns encouraging each other through hard times?
I think all of them should be like that!
I find it interesting how this article mentioned how sometimes the person who is empathetic might feel co-dependent and even guilty.
That is something I have never thought about.
I know when Chethan confides in me sometimes it can be hard not to take on his problems,
but I always try my best to listen and understand the situation.
However, if I feel like it is something I need to get involved in or take action with then that is what I will do.
“I am very empathetic of what people are going through,” said Chethan. “We love each other and we want to be there for each other.”
Posted by Chethan at 4:52 AM
Most interesting. Agree with you 100%! I’m surprised I haven’t thought of this before and wondered why one partner was always doing it.
It can be tough, but makes them feel like they need to do it and the person actually gets something out of it as well – that’s nice! Reply Delete
Liked the article, thanks for posting. Obese Tuber
I am very grateful to my husband for being empathetic as
he is the most important person in my life as he has made me a better person and has helped me grow as a woman. Reply Delete
Nice to read some news on this blog. I am sure it will be of great benefit for some people.