Empathy = Less Anger
“The opposite of anger is not calmness, its empathy.” – Mehmet Oz
A major part of Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples is to help each partner practice empathy. To practice empathy is the ability to “walk in the other person’s shoes.” In other words, empathy is knowing what the other person is experiencing, feeling, and compassionately responding to another person’s distress.
Practicing the act of empathy will provide internal change in the way one will respond to a distressing situation. The lack of empathy leads to a poor communication and a failing to understand others. Managing anger with empathy requires: listening, self-awareness and acceptance.
Empathetic listening goes further than ordinary listening. Empathetic listening is the focus upon the other person’s point of world. It provides a better insight into how others feel. Self-awareness helps a person better understand his or her own thoughts and feelings, which help differentiate an understanding of the thoughts and feelings of the other.
Acceptance is the ability to own our own point of view and accept that others don’t have to have the same viewpoint. It is allowing others to have feelings without trying to change them. In order to be empathetic, one has to be nonjudgmental. You will need to listen to their feelings and be totally present with them.
Empathy Eliminates Negative Judgement
Empathy reduces anger because it eliminates negative judgments. Empathetic concern also reduces anger by making the person substitute caring responses for angry reactions. Empathy does not equate to excusing others for their behavior or letting them go wild. It is simply learning to get outside your head, slow down, be present with the reality that others don’t see the world as you do, and the ability to see the situation from the other person’s point of view before communicating your own. Learning to practice empathy will dramatically improve how you deal with your anger.