Walking A Mile In Their Shoes

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life,Perception,Self-Development  

brown sandal red toenail grass

“Never judge a person
until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”


What exactly does “walk a mile in their shoes” mean?

In the book, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch says something similar, but more explanatory than the previous quote. He said,

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Of course, “walking in their shoes” and “climb into his skin and walk around in it” are meant to be figurative and not literal.

I was thinking about personal blogs and specifically my blog in relation to these quotes. I write about very personal struggles and experiences so that you can understand and feel as if you are “walking in my shoes.” By having the experience of seeing something through another person’s perspective, you can gain insight into their thoughts, emotions, pain, hopes and dreams.

By having a different view, hopefully it helps us to appreciate our own life and make needed changes. The whole concept of having a broader perspective is to gain knowledge without learning the lessons first hand. I also think it can help to give the person more compassion, empathy and understanding. Therefore, we would have the tendency to judge each other less often and not so harshly.

I used to believe that “ignorance is bliss,” however, I now am a firm believer that “knowledge is power” because with knowledge, wisdom is born.

We can never know exactly how another person feels or what they think even if they eloquently describe it to us at length. However, it is possible to gain respect and feel empathy by understanding the situation. For example, by sharing my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) healing journey, many people now better understand the Hell this affliction can cause in a person’s life. I’ve also been able to connect with other people who have PTSD and I know that they have felt or currently feel the same gamut of emotional upheaval that I have felt and feel. In turn, those connections have helped me to feel not as alone, thus assisting in the healing process. It is one big circle of knowledge, emotion and support.

This whole journey with PTSD has taught me so many things that I’m not sure I would have learned otherwise. I see my experience in life and living totally different. I also am able to see how other people are caught in the web of their own lives and self-defeating behaviors. I have compassion for everyone, but after experiencing all the trauma in my own life, I don’t believe that anyone has to remain unhappy. One choice always offers a better long term solution and more happiness. Getting to that happiness may be a struggle, but in the end, the effort is worth it.

I also find it nearly impossible to keep my mouth shut when someone is trying to convince me of the lies that they tell themself. I really see people, their struggles and life totally different than I did pre-PTSD. It is now abundantly clear that most people are unwilling to break out of their cycle of pain mostly because their fear is greater than the pain. That is why we all need to have compassion. It is hard being ruled by fear and I speak from experience.

Is it impossible to break the cycle of fear and pain? No way. Anything is possible. I’m living proof that the impossible is possible.

Take the time to walk in someone’s shoes today. You’ll be surprised how much you learn and can then apply to your own life. Aren’t the possibilities in living a full life exciting?

brown sandal red toenail pavement

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Sherry Riter, also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Spenser June 3, 2013 at 6:24 am

“Knowledge is power because, with knowledge, wisdom is born.”

Wise words.

Walk a mile in your shoes? Well, those leather sandals are quite pretty, but the red nail polish would look foolish on me. Sexy on you, though.

Reply

Sherry Riter June 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Thank you, Peter.

Are you sure you don’t want to try the brown sandals with the red nail polish? LOL

Reply

Peter Spenser June 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Actually pearlescent pink is my thing. Woof!

Reply

Sherry Riter June 6, 2013 at 8:24 am

LOLOLOLOL Too funny Peter!

Reply

teresa vett June 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Great post Sherry, love that lil foot, uh big foot,lol. I kissed those toes when they were the size of green peas. Time sure has flown.

I do not believe anyone can ever know what another feels like even if they experience the exact same situation. So one can never walk in another’s shoes. We are created unique by God the Father and we will not respond the same in any given experience, even the happy ones. We each have to find our own way, in our own time and our own importance. If we could learn from another person, we would all be cloned like a robot. It would defeat the Father’s plan to come to earth and work out our own salvation in our own way. Now, we can learn from other’s courage and their examples in all they do and experience. I learn from all four of you (2 daughters, 2 grand daughters) all the time; some are positive and others are negatives for me. Our shoes all fit differently. The style of shoe we buy may fit thousands, but our spiritual shoes fits only two feet, ours.

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Sherry Riter June 3, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Mom.

Yes, we can all learn from other people’s experiences. :)

Reply

Skip_D June 5, 2013 at 7:12 am

to me, your key word here is ‘empathy’ – which to me is one of the most basic essentials of social beings, & one which is common to many species, not just humans, not even just in our great ape cousins… empathy & its active counterpart, altruism, have been demonstrated in elephants, dolphins, dogs – yes, even in rats! the ability to ‘walk a mile in another’s shoes’ exists in all of us but those unfortunates who can be diagnosed as psychopaths… but sadly, too few people exercise that ability, & so they miss the great pleasure of mutual understanding & appreciation…

btw, nice sandals (& toes!) :D

Reply

Sherry Riter June 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I totally agree about the whole empathy thing. :)

Glad you like the sandals and toes LOL

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Olivia June 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I stumbled upon your blog by accident while researching PTSD–might I say that I have TRULY enjoyed a multitude of your blogs!

Reply

Sherry Riter June 28, 2013 at 6:53 am

Thank you so much Olivia! {{{hugsss}}}

Reply

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