Will You Walk a Mile in My Shoes?
They say you can never truly understand someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes, but can you ever really do that?
I never knew what to say at a funeral wake until my mother died or what to do when someone loses a child. I know now. But I can only know from my own perspective and from my own experience with such loss. My experience of these things is likely completely different from another person’s experience of them. What gives another person comfort can be worlds away from what gave me comfort in the same situation.
We are so completely contained in our own experiences, existing in our own little bubbles often, despite our best intentions, completely oblivious to what is going on in another person’s world. I wonder if our desire for the deep connection that occurs (however rarely) in a true community stems from our aversion to feeling alone. We want to connect; to be seen, to be heard, to be understood.
Here we are; life coaches, counsellors, personal development bloggers, psychologists, spouses, parents and friends, doing the best we can to walk that mile for those we choose to serve and love. But can we really know what it’s like on the other side of an experience before it becomes ours too and even then; can we fully understand or do we only understand it from our own perspective?
Maybe if we listen well enough, we authentically say, “I know how you feel”. I don’t know.
Do you think it is possible to truly walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?
photo credit: woodleywonderwork