“Before you come to any conclusions,
try walking in my shoes.”
~ Depeche Mode
It’s easy to point the finger, become offended, or fly off the handle when you feel hurt by another person… especially when everyone around you says you’re justified in doing so. But next time steam begins to build behind your ears, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just for a moment… try walking in their shoes.
Momentarily placing your feet in the “shoes” of another person will generate compassion for their point of view. You don’t have to agree with their opinion or actions, but it will give you a new level of understanding as to why it is they think, do, or say whatever it is they do.
A good example of this is the classic, “bad childhood”. If your parents gave you a rough ride, join the club. But before you sink any deeper into victimization, take a moment to think about YOUR parents’ childhood. Is there any relevance between how they were raised and how they treated you?
When you can generate understanding and compassion for those who have mistreated you, you’ll see every relationship in a new light. The only reason anyone ever inflicts hurt or judgment upon another person is because they feel hurt and judged themselves. Again, this doesn’t justify their actions, but it might prevent you from perpetuating the never-ending cycle of victimization. A more conscious approach would be to ask yourself, “What is this situation here to teach me?” or “what qualities are seeking to emerge in me as a result of this experience?”
Courage, compassion, wisdom and patience are just a few of the qualities that arise out of difficulty; in fact, these qualities can’t be cultivated any other way. But they will only arrive when you decide to learn and grow from your relationships instead of victimizing yourself or blaming the other person.
Yes, there are times when we all wish for an easier ride. But the reality is that an easy, breezy life is not how we grow. Challenges always provide a door that when entered into consciously, will lead us onto the fast track of our own evolution.
If you find yourself in a difficult relationship this week, set an intention to mentally walk in the other person’s shoes. As my good friend Martin Gore once said, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble in their footsteps.