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?