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5 Keys to Developing Empathy and Emotional Attunement

Emotional attunement

In the previous blog, we defined and discussed empathy and emotional attunement. Check it out here.

If you struggle with empathy and emotional attunement, give yourself some grace.

You and I are both working on it.

Throughout the Bible, Jesus gives multiple examples of empathy and emotional attunement.

I hope you’ll read these accounts and look at how Jesus dealt with each person. Use these questions to dive deeper into each passage.

    • What emotions did Jesus display?
    • What emotions did the other person exhibit?
    • How did Jesus practice empathy and emotional attunement?

How can you practice empathy and emotional attunement when in betrayal recovery?

1. Read repeatedly the Psalms or your favorite book of the Bible.

During the first year of recovery, I read the Psalms repeatedly. Throughout the Psalms, you read real emotions, struggles, worship, and praise. David, who wrote many of them, poured everything out to God. Reading his words expressing anger, pain, confusion, hurt, desire, praise, wonder, and joy unlocks your ability to pray these words back to God.

Emotional health comes from grounding yourself in God’s word, the Bible. Plenty of people have opinions about what’s happening in your life, but only God gets to the heart and soul. His healing provides hope because that hope is based on the person of Jesus.

2. Journal your emotions.

I love this practice. As someone who was not emotionally attuned to herself or anyone else, using my journal to pour out my emotions created a safe outlet. I’ve read those posts. Every time, I’m amazed to see how I progress from hurt to praise.

Through journaling, you find healthy ways to become emotionally attuned with yourself. You cannot understand and relate to another’s emotions when you don’t recognize yours.

3. Write a lament.

When you aren’t emotionally attuned to yourself, you don’t grasp the power of lament. Lament is both a noun and a verb. It is the expression of grief or sorrow, often through song or poetry (noun), and it is the deep emotional expression about something or someone (verb).

Part of healthy betrayal recovery involves lament. Many of my journal entries through the years involve lament.

4. Listen actively.

The Bible tells us, “ My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” This sounds like practicing empathy and emotional attunement. As a coach, my goal is to hear the words not being said. Often, how we say something or what we don’t say indicates the struggle or emotion. Active listening helps you and me attune to each other.

5. Connect with others.

Learning to connect with your husband after betrayal helps build trust. As you work to understand what triggered his betrayal and even his ongoing triggers, practice asking open-ended questions. Risk telling him your emotions in ways that invite him into a relationship with you rather than heaping guilt and shame. Be honest about the damage done but seek ways to heal from the damage

You might benefit from working with a coach or counselor. When our grandchild was stillborn, I needed professional help to process the grief. I made many relational and emotional mistakes during that time, which increased my grief. But I also became more emotionally attuned to myself and others. You might also connect with your sister-friend.

Learning empathy and emotional attunement benefits you and every relationship.

It will take time and practice. During betrayal recovery, pay attention to your attempts. Celebrate them as you learn more about yourself and how to relate to others well.

Here’s a link to a short video about connection and empathy.

Study Jesus’ life and interactions. He’s your best example.

Please reach out if you need help. You aren’t alone. You can learn this valuable skill. I believe in you.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.