View this post on Instagram
“Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
How many of you can recall your parents telling you that?
I do. As a young girl, angrily sitting on my living room floor. I remember being upset because something didn’t go my way. I reacted rudely. I said things that, I would later see, I shouldn’t have.
“Put yourself in their shoes.” My mother said. “How would you feel if someone did that to you?”
So many times, I heard these words. So many times, I was sent to my room to think about it. I didn’t have a TV, phone, or computer to distract me. Just me, my stuffed animals, and my hamster—in an empty room, thinking outside of myself. This is where the growth happened. This is where I expanded and opened my closed mind.
Empathy and compassion are a growing thing of the past. We live in a self serving-society and judgements are easily passed around without a second thought.
How often do you consider the other side of the coin? How often do you think outside of yourself to find reason—to understand why someone does something? How often do you only see your side?
We often forget to see why someone acts a certain way or says certain things. We forget to consider what it’s like to be the person we are judging, condemning, and criticizing. We are not putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we are only seeing what we have the capacity to see and that often doesn’t extend further than the self’s own perception and experiences. But the self is not all that there is. It is only one part of the equation.
Empathy is a great way to begin conflict resolution. Conflicts and disagreements often require a level of forgiveness in order to properly put away and move on from an event or the feelings that an event has left you with—because forgiveness is where healing starts and peace is birthed. It is water to fire. When we aren’t used to empathizing or seeing a situation with compassion, it is easy for us to forget to consider this.
Reflect, consider, understand, forgive, move forward—steps one through five of addressing conflict resolution—to me, anyway.
“Put yourself in their shoes.”
This mentality keeps the petty away. It expands my ability to empathize with other humans. This gives me the ability to bring compassion into a situation and see outside of myself, which ultimately stops the metaphorical fire from continuing to burn.
I am not the only one who matters and my feelings are not the only feelings that exist.
My selfishness builds walls around me and hurts those who stand on the other side. It will disconnect me from others and leave me soaked in self-serving turmoil. What good does that really do?
While you may feel it is right in your moment of upset, what about the bigger picture? What bridges are you burning? What growth are you blocking? And how good does that really makes you feel?
When we learn how to empathize and are able to bring compassion to a situation, we stop the need to view conflicts as a personal attack and transform situations into a learning experience. We expand beyond our limited beliefs, we release egoic discomfort, and we open ourselves up to the possibility of peace.
It is only through open understanding that we are able to keep the wheels of conflict from turning.
Love encourages us to see outside of ourselves; it is not selfish. Empathy and compassion come from a place of love. And empathy and compassion, while oftentimes hard to experience or practice, lead to ultimate peace.
It all starts with you.
Can you see beyond yourself?
Can you stand in someone else’s shoes?