In order to communicate effectively, we have to speak the same language — talk the talk, However, real listening means understanding who the other person is, what their position is, and how they feel.

When two or more people interact based on this kind of understanding, the potential for teamwork and accomplishment is greatly enhanced.

Empathy is a tool which can help achieve enlightened interaction. Meaning “feeling with”, empathy refers to the ability to experience another person’s feelings.

Empathy requires the active use of imagination — to put oneself in another person’s place, listen to what he/she has described and imagine being in exactly the same position with the same sensitivities, pressures, limitations and outside influences.

“How would I feel if I were she (or he)?” is the key question. This method fosters understanding, cooperation, teamwork, and closeness.

Of course, there is an opposite extreme from enmeshment that also can cause paralysis in a system or organization. If people see themselves as so different that they always need to be oppositional, and have no common language, then there can be no agreeing and no decision-making. Often, ironically, it can be the consequence of parents’ attempts to achieve enmeshment.