Warmth, Empathy and Respect are so Important
Two weeks ago I headed over to Western Seminary, Sacramento where I interviewed two students in the marriage and family therapy masters degree program. These students shared what they were learning in the program and how they were impacted personally and professionally in very positive ways. I have a real heart and warmth for Western Seminary, having taught masters level marriage and family students there for 15 years.
One student, Nathaniel, shared how important it is that the therapist’s relationship with the client be based on warmth, empathy and respect. Research over the years shows that the degree of comfort and warmth you feel from your therapist impacts growth and change more so than what any information he/she shares with you.
You can see Nathan’s one minute video below
It was such a treat meeting with these two students and hearing about all they are learning.
Afterwards, I stayed to do a demonstration with their class of an actual counseling session. My client for this session, was Dr. Bev Wiens, the professor of the class who was sharing a real life struggle with me. Afterwards, the students asked me lots of questions, and shared that they felt themselves relax on the inside as I related to Bev with warmth, empathy and respect.
I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn, but to share with you that after this class, I thought about how powerful it is to not only relate to others with warmth, empathy and respect, but to relate to ourselves in these ways as well.
So ponder with me…what does it mean to relate to ourselves with warmth, empathy and respect?
When I relate to myself with warmth, I approach myself kindly and gently. I strive to be accepting and caring toward myself no matter what I’m going through, even if I am struggling and making poor decisions. Warmth communicates openness and lessens my defensiveness and helps me build a trusting relationship with myself.
When I am empathetic with myself I take time to understand my thoughts and feelings, as well as why I am struggling. When I make poor decisions, I take a look at what underlying pain or situation led to my actions. If I am going through a difficult time, I give myself the kindness and compassion I would give to a friend who is struggling.
When I have respect for myself, I try to treat myself with both grace and truth. I’m able to recognize where I am falling short without rejecting or being critical of myself. I see myself as a precious creation of God, who is having a hard time. I am genuinely interested in what I’m going through and use my energy to help and care for myself, as well as seek support from God and others.
I encourage you to take time to reflect on what I’ve shared because I believe learning to relate you yourself with warmth, empathy and respect will be life changing.
So what do you think? I would love to get your input…
When have you felt warmth, empathy and respect from another person? What difference has this made in your life? What is your response to treating yourself with warmth, empathy and respect? How can you relate to yourself in this way today?
Please leave your comments below and share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit!