People have come up with a lot of things, platitudes, if you will, that are supposed to help us coexist in a more peaceable manner. I don’t agree with some of these sayings, like, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” (Seriously, if you have cake, you can totally eat it.)
However, I have to admit that there is one particular saying that I’ve grown more and more fond of over the years:
Put yourself in another person’s shoes.
I’m only human. There have been plenty of times when a person’s idiocy irritates the heck out of me. A person cuts me off on the road, putting their and my safety at risk, and I want to scream curses at them. I peek at the comments section of a social media post and catch a glimpse of the horrendous display of intolerance anonymous persons spew out, and I want to smack them all upside the head. An incredibly hurtful comment is casually thrust my way, and I want to gnash my teeth and bawl about how shitty and insensitive some people can be.
It’s going to sound corny and lame, but when I find myself angry at someone, I really try to put myself in their shoes.
It sounds lame. I know.
But it does, on occasion, work.
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, trying to see things from their point of view, helps you understand what it feels like to be in another person’s life (to a small degree).
It helps you ask yourself if you would behave any differently were you faced with the same situation.
If there is even the slightest possibility that you would react or function in the same manner as the person whose shoes you are figuratively wearing, then that’s a good time to start treating that person with compassion.
(In case you were wondering what my Hogwarts House is, I’m a Hufflepuff.)
No one is perfect (there’s another saying we hear all the time), least of all ourselves. We know, better than anyone, what our flaws are.
The man who cut me off on the road, maybe he was in a hurry because he really had to go to the bathroom. When those poops want to come, they want to come. Or maybe he was feeling rushed and under pressure. I’ve felt both of those feelings.
Bet you anything people are gonna call me naive or stupid or a pushover for this public service announcement.
But if I put myself in their shoes, I feel like their lives must be really sad if they feel the need to make comments like that on my below average blog.
See? it’s a tried and true method.