How Empathy Makes Our Relationships Better

How Empathy Makes Our Relationships Better
Raquel Aldana

Written and verified by the psychologist Raquel Aldana.

Last update: 14 December, 2021

When we’re happily spending precious moments at our loved one’s side, time seems to stop, even if the hands of the clock keep moving. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t good days or bad days.

But spending time with these people recharges our batteries. Their hugs are just full of love and our heart beats with affection when we think of times we’ve spent together. These are the people we hold in our hearts.

They keep us grounded and make us feel really alive, loved and needed. Well, the connection between them is empathy, and we’re going to find out how empathy makes our relationships better.

Surrounding ourselves with people who are our north star gives us empathy, This empathy is a type of sensitivity that makes it possible to understand what’s happening inside us and inside other people too.

It also connects us to the world around us. It begins individually and later gives rise to a shared life. Let’s look at this in more detail…

Woman with empathy

Empathy starts in us

The empathy we normally talk about begins when we start get to know ourselves better. We become aware of our own emotions and try to get self-control.

In addition to realizing what emotions we’re feeling in certain situations, we have to avoid letting our feelings take us over. If we want to empathize with others we can’t let us our moods overpower us.

The famous psychoanalytic psychiatrist Sigmund Freud said that “human beings cannot keep a secret because, even if their lips remain sealed, they speak with the tips of their fingers and betrayal leaks through each one of their pores.

Being able to identify the emotional signals that indicate loyalty and sincere affection is a gift we get from social experiences.

So, as Goleman pointed out, we can think of empathy as a type of social radar. The ability to connect with the internal experiences of others keeps our relationships from being mechanical.

Woman having coffee

How empathy makes our relationships better

Robert Levenson of the University of California studied how different lovers communicate with each other. The couples that entered the laboratory were to have two types of conversations. One of a neutral tone (how was your day?) and another with a disagreement.

While this was going on, Levenson and his team observed things like heart rate and facial expressions. When the couples empathized with each other’s feelings, their bodies imitated each other’s. In fact, their hearts beat in unison and their facial expressions were in sync.

That is, in situations of true empathy, it’s like we’re in an emotional choreography. Believe it or not, this synchronization is the key to success in our relationships.

Friends singing with empathy

It’s a wonderful thing to have people in our lives encouraging us, people who understand us and who we understand. However, in light of the above, we can’t forget that empathy begins with us and exploring our emotions.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.