Understanding and acknowledging emotions in interactions can be really tricky business. I’m sure each of us has experienced responses to emotional stuff in a somewhat unhelpful way. Things like “it will all pass” or “don’t worry” or “just relax”. This is the short cut route to getting a distanced response and probably being on the receiving end frustration and maybe even anger. BUT WHAT DO YOU DO INSTEAD?
The answer in theory is simple – Empathy! Although in practice this can be really difficult, recognizing emotions and not jumping in with a solution or trying to make it better is quite tough.
Receiving empathy and acknowledgement is nice, it makes one feel heard and understood. Our reality is validated this way and it can help in developing closer relationships. For this, though, vulnerability is brought to the fore…. something many try at all costs to avoid and hide away from. Sorry to say it folks, each of us has deep vulnerability and you can only avoid it, not escape it fully.
Today, I did a practical training for health professionals on empathy and specifically on understanding and acknowledging emotions in clients and patients. It was such a valuable experience as trainer. It brought to the fore the meaningfulness of emotion in interaction. This is so helpful to patients and clients in health settings, but does not exclude other contexts and relationships, including corporate’s and the like.
Being empathic is a way of functioning and not exclusive to the realm of psychology, it can bring such reward in relationships.