Monday, December 7, 2015

Communicating with Empathy

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  This is important when communicating with others, especially your spouse and children. 

Think of a time when your spouse was really excited about something that you could care less about. Did you share that excitement or was it known that you'd rather hear the sound of finger nails to a chalk board?  How about when the kids ran inside thrilled about a mud castle they built in the backyard, were also thrilled or were you stuck on the mud tracked through the house?  Maybe, there was a time your child lost his favorite toy and was heartbroken, were you sad also or was, it's just a toy playing over and over in your head?  Was there ever a time when your spouse made a decision even after you told him he shouldn't or maybe he didn't ask you at all and later he realized it was a bad decision?  Did you rub it in with, um I told you so or were sad for and with him?
Romans 12:15 says, "rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
WOW!  Now that's empathy.  Can you imagine how different relationships would be if we all were a little more empathetic?
I remember when my husband and I first made the decision for me to be a SAHM and homeschool or children, and we shared it with or family and friends.  Most were happy, some had questions, an then there was few who were not happy.  They even started treating us and our children differently because of it.    Not once did they stop and share our happiness with us, instead they only saw things from their own point of view.  It was painful!  That's when I realized the importance of empathy.  When I'm communicating with my spouse or my children I first listen and then after having empathy or understanding of their feelings I respond.  I've notice my reaction or my responses are much more merciful than if I responded based on my own feelings.
Psalms 56:8 "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book."
Knowing that God records all our tears lets me know he hurts when we hurt.  If even God (our creator) is empathetic why should we be exempted?
I would love to hear from you.  Do you struggle with being empathetic?  

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