How to Create Healthy Relationships

Relationships require the following two skills: 

1.The ability to share what we feel with others

2. The ability to empathize with another’s feelings.

Is it that simple?  Yes!  But unfortunately, we may have learned to ignore feelings.

What would it look like to listen to our internal state?  We would respond to an event by noticing our physiological reaction, identifying our feelings, identifying the impulses connected to our feelings, and use all our feelings to inform us on the most productive way to proceed in a relationship.

However, sometimes we learn to dismiss our feelings.  For example, if you experience a break-up from a lover, you could feel a mixture of sadness, anger, and relief.  But if you have been taught to brush off your feelings, then instead of experiencing these complex feelings, you may turn to destructive distractions to avoid your inner experience.  As a result, you can not use your honest feelings to inform your decision about the loss of the relationship.

If we are not capable of empathizing with our own inner experience, then it is extremely difficult to have the patience and capacity to empathize with another.  Therapy can be an opportunity to learn what methods we use to avoid our inner state and to build a bridge with our inner world.  As a result, we can be more present for ourselves and others to create healthy, productive, loving and respectful relationships.

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