No matter what our capacity for empathy, when we become angry and defensive, our ability to empathise becomes limited. 5 ways to foster empathy in your relationship:
Give your partner genuine attention. Try hard not to focus on yourself or your feelings - or a need to defend yourself - whilst they are talking.
Someone has to go first. For empathy to work it has to flow both ways. Be the bigger person and do the giving first so that you in turn can receive.
You don't have to fix it. Often experiencing empathy can be confused with fixing the problem your partner feels. What your partner needs is that you hear them - not that you sort it all out.
You can get it wrong without it being the end of the world. The main point is you are trying - this is what matters.
Listening is not enough. We also need to make ourselves vulnerable by having the capacity to remove our mask and reveal our feelings.
Be compassionate to yourself too...
Via Edwin Rutsch