Having Empathy

Having Empathy If a relationship and subsequent marriage is to not only survive but to thrive, an essential element is empathy. According to Google, “empathy” is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. Also, “Empathy is generally described as the ability to take on another's perspective, to understand, feel and possibly share and respond to their experience.” In other words, a person showing empathy to another person is to be able to put themselves in their shoes. To understand their experience and feelings. The reason that empathy is so critical to relationships is that this fuels sensitivity to and a consideration of the other person’s feelings. Without empathy, a partner lacks sensitivity and consideration to the other person, and true mutual happiness and connection is limited or even impossible to have in a relationship. If only one person possesses and shows empathy to the other, it is not enough. One person cannot do both sides of a relationship and true happiness cannot result. In short, one person cannot compensate for what the other person is lacking. Empathy on both sides is essential.

Developing and Increasing Empathy:

Whatever your natural ability to show empathy is, you can always work to improve this important trait. Again, the better your empathy is, the stronger, better, and healthier your relationship will be. And the more positive you have to offer the other person in a relationship. Here are a few ideas to strengthen this healthy attribute:

Hypnosis: Hypnosis audios can be useful to listen to each night before bed. While laying down to sleep, listening to a relevant hypnosis session is an easy way to condition your mind and emotions towards change and improvement. Here are a couple of sessions I suggest that can promote the development of empathy. Feel free to check them out:


Empathy exercise: a decent exercise you can do to foster and increase your empathy with others involves writing with paper and pen (or you can write in the note taking app on your phone).

Step 1: write out the current situation or circumstance another person is going through, whether positive or negative.
Step 2: write out your best guess of how you think they are reacting to this experience emotionally, and the feelings that situation is triggering in them.
Step 3: later when appropriate, go ask that person how they are reacting and responding to this situation and how they feel about it. Ask a few questions until you really feel you have an accurate understanding of what they are experiencing with their emotions.
Step 4: examine, compare, and contrast your projection and assumption of what that person was experiencing versus their actual experience. How accurate were you?

The more these 4 steps you take with others more often, you will soon be able to bridge and lessen the gap between what you are assuming they are experiencing versus what they are actually experiencing.

Looking for Empathy for in Another:

To assess how much empathy another has for you, here are a couple of ideas.

Notice questions and supportive statements. Whatever your emotional experience is, notice how a potential or current partner reacts and responds to your experience. Do they ask questions of interest and concern? Do they offer supportive comments of caring, reassurance, and hope? What do they notice and bring up to you on their own? And how do they react when you open up to them about something going on with yourself? Do they follow up with additional questions? Do they offer caring statements in return? Notice what others do and how they react. Empathy from others is clearly revealed when you notice and pay attention. And like the old saying goes, when someone shows you what they are about, please believe them.

Be in challenging situations and scenarios. Caring, consideration, and support is best shown when a challenging scenario presents itself. If you and another are in a stressful situation, how does the other person react and respond? Do they offer reassurance, hope, and positive statements? How do they respond if you act stressed? Do they attempt to comfort you, or do they react disinterested, put out, or annoyed? Common situations that can reveal another’s empathy (or lack thereof) include talking about a problem or challenging situation you are experiencing with them, driving somewhere together when time is short, or doing work together on a household project. These kinds of scenarios include an element of stress, including you showing some stress. These moments can and will often reveal what level of empathy the other person does or does not possess.

Final Thoughts:

Empathy is essential for a healthy, happy relationship. Please foster this trait in yourself. Please also look for a relationship with another person possessing empathy. If you look for consideration from an inconsiderate person, you will be disappointed and frustrated. However, if you give and receive empathy regularly with another, you will develop a strong, close bond and forge a healthy, secure relationship. Money, looks, and other attractive factors get a lot of attention, but true empathy is necessary to feed and strengthen a relationship. Please give and receive healthy empathy accordingly. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Dr. G
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at drgilchrist@yahoo.com.

2023-12-16 Randy Gilchrist Communication, Psychological health

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to drgilchrist@yahoo.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to drgilchrist@yahoo.com).