Note to self:

To be understood …

By Bernadette Kathryn, LMT, IHLC


Life is a succession of lessons

which must be lived to be understood.

~ Helen Keller



To be understood and have empathy


To be understood is a quest we might all relate with. I don’t know about you — but, when I look back on different times in my life, I thought I understood. And, as I grow older and (hopefully) wiser — I realize how limited my understanding actually was and sometimes is. As I evaluate this more clearly with a different lens and perspective, I can see that I only understand to the extent that I have experience. Without experience, we can’t truly relate to a given subject, we can only imagine.


To understand how another is feeling is to have empathy. Generally speaking to have empathy for another is to be able to put yourself in their shoes, see and feel from their point of view. When we are able to be empathetic in our relationship, everyone wins. Humans are hardwired to feel empathy because we closely relate to the people in our lives. Compassion has many personal benefits including helping us by lowering our stress levels, improving our relationships, helps us feel connected and can relieve our pain.


Empathy is a skill that can be learned


Empathy is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and developed by talking to others, reading fiction and being curious about others’ lives. People who read fiction scored highest on a test that asked them to infer another’s thoughts and feelings. You can foster empathy in your relationships by practicing a few key strategies:


  • Greeting your partner with a smile and show of affection
  • Validate your partner’s feelings when they share with you
  • Reflect back to your partner what you are ‘hearing’
  • Ask your partner what you can do to add pleasure to their life
  • Imagine what your partner is feeling during a disagreement
  • Listen without interrupting and put yourself in their place
  • Show your partner your support




Compassion and empathy are often linked. To have compassion is to have empathy and take it a step further with the added element of having a desire to help alleviate one’s suffering.



Empathy is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and developed #LivingFitLifestyle Click To Tweet