Step 3: Empathizing
Once the feeling is expressed, it's time to put yourself in your partner's shoes.
The next big step in the dialoguing process is for your partner to empathize with your expressed feelings. "Figure out the feeling, and go to that place with him or her," Dr. Hendrix says. "Step into that place with them and they will know you exist for them in that moment. That's a connection."
- Your partner can start the empathy exercise with a statement such as, "I can imagine that you might be feeling..." or "I can see you are feeling...."
- Since it's impossible to know exactly what a person feels, your partner should check for accuracy. He should ask "Is that what you're feeling?" If he didn't understand the feeling, you should readdress the message.
- If you share new feelings with you partner upon reiteration, he must mirror those feelings. (For example, "Is there more about that feeling?")
Once your partner has gone through these steps, an extra "gift" helps solidify the discussion.
Next: How to turn frustration into a gift