There is nothing more powerful in sustaining a relationship then to acknowledge the other person’s feelings. A relationship does not necessarily mean a relationship between lovers; a relationship can happen any time that you are engaging in any kind of communication with someone else. Even a small conversation with a clerk at a grocery store is a relationship and this relationship can greatly benefit by having you acknowledge the other persons feelings and subjective state.

In an earlier article I discussed the importance of empathy. I told you there that empathy can actually be a very powerful way to become more flexible and dynamic yourself. If you have read this article, “Empathy, the most important skill of the 21st century“, and you would like to know the benefits of this ability in a more concrete fashion, then you might be interested in contemplating the points below. Through empathy you will be able to subjectively feel and understand the other persons reality. You will be able to feel their feelings and you will be able to understand some of their thought process. This can be a great advantage for you if there is something that you want from the other person.

It is the case that any relationship involves the desire or the need to get something from the other individual. You should not see this in any negative way, a politically correct establishment would have you believe that you should always do everything selflessly and that doing something because you want something is a type of the evil. But this is not how the world works. We are all here to help each other and every interaction, even the interaction with the environment around you, is an interaction of mutual cooperation. You cannot exist without the cooperation of everything and everyone around you, and they in turn cannot exist without your help.

Those that do not believe in this cooperative interrelation, believe themselves to be lone individuals apart from all others, struggling to survive in infinitely competitive environment. This is not the case, if it were the case then this world would be a hell that would be impossible to maintain. Our world is maintained, created and supported because of the constant cooperation between every single individual part of it. A relationship is based on mutual cooperation whether this mutual cooperation is perceived or not. When you interact with anyone, you want something from them and they want something from you. A politically correct world would tell you that this is mutual selfishness but this is actually group cooperation at its best. The failure is one of perception, where people are able to, for the most part, only see their own perspective and nothing else.

If you can realize that you are in a cooperative environment, that it is good and natural for you to want something because in this way you are helping yourself and the other person at the same time, then you will be able to participate in mutual cooperation in a more natural and less guilt driven way. By developing your empathy, you will be able to discover what you want and what the other person wants from any mutual interaction, and in this way easily come up with a solution that is of benefit to you both.

When you can truly empathize with the other person, make sure that you acknowledge the other person’s feelings. By doing so you will let the other person know that you understand where they are coming from. That you understand what they are feeling and wanting from this situation. You will let the other person know, by acknowledging their feelings, that you see him or her as a real person that deserves your respect. By acknowledging the other person’s feelings you create a sense of mutual respect which will make mutual cooperation easy and inevitable.

As you acknowledge the other person’s feelings, express your own feelings and desires as well. You can do this verbally or through body language, just make sure that the other person understands where you are coming from yourself. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings and express your own, and then go about finding a solution that is beneficial to both of you. There is no need to pretend to feel something that you do not in order to try and get your way. Through honest empathic engagement, you can begin to experience a relationship with others that will be far more beneficial to you both in every way.