When I was a little girl, I used to try on my mother’s shoes. I wanted to know what it felt like. To be honest, it never felt particularly good. Her shoes were always too big, too uncomfortable, too difficult to walk in. I came to the conclusion that it’s not easy to stand in someone else’s shoes. My shoes always felt best.
And then I grew up, and realized there was another meaning to being in someone else’s shoes. Not a literal one but a figurative one. But my conclusion was the same.
It’s not a comfortable place to be.
It’s not familiar, it hurts. It’s not supposed to feel comfortable. Even if we’ve been through something similar in our own lives, it’s never quite the same. Everyone’s experience is unique.
True empathy makes a huge difference.
It might not change a situation, mend a hurt, or even provide an answer but it makes all the difference to know that someone else is willing to go through the discomfort of being in your shoes so you don’t have to walk through the tough stuff alone.
There’s a saying that you shouldn’t judge or criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It’s a reminder that we can never really know exactly what someone else is going through. But, if we were able to make it even a fraction of a mile in someone else’s shoes, perhaps we’d begin to see things from their perspective. It doesn’t mean we’d always like it or agree with it or even fully understand it. But we’d see it through their eyes.
I like shoes. I like wearing my shoes. But, I want to be the person who is quick to step into someone else’s shoes, to see life from their perspective. Maybe even make a difference in the process.