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On Relationships: #2 Empathy is a Two Way Street

September 4, 2018


This one took several months and a lot of pain to understand and fully integrate.

Here’s a bit of context:

I used to be all about “I GO FIRST” with little to no empathy. Which meant I did all the things that felt right, without a second thought of the impact this would have on others. Especially on people I loved that were close to me.

After burning a few bridges, facing and feeling the pain I had created around those I loved. I realized that my “I go first” way of living was lacking the inclusion of the people I cared for.

So I did a total shift and started living and loving from empathy at the forefront. Always wondering what X and Y would feel like for the other person. Always checking in. Always ready and willing to understand where they were coming from. Always committed to connection and honouring their side of the coin.

However, I dismissed my inner guidance and internal compass.

I would have understanding and empathy with my partner, and be okay with things that a few months ago would have made me walk away without a second thought. Just because “I could see where she was coming from”.

I was pouring empathy outwards without having empathy for MY own experience. For what I was feeling that I was not okay with. For the situations that were below my standards of relating.

Without two-way-empathy we start tolerating and accepting a lot of things that can fuel an unhealthy relationship. Because now the other person gets green light to do anything and the sense that we will be there no matter what. (terrible combo!)

When empathy isn’t going both ways (in and out) it can easily become doormating behaviour.

So yes, it is important to go first. And it is important to have empathy and take into consideration those you care about, but NEVER at your own expense!

So check in with your partner.

And check in with yourself.