Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

It is so easy to be critical, from the outside looking in, towards someone from your point of view. We all have done it, and it is so easy to judge, not knowing the circumstances or the history or the emotions behind what we are witnessing. We make assumptions based on our past experiences and current moods, leaving compassion behind. This usually happens because we are in a hurry, and we are more worried about our schedule rather than feelings and people. We dont have time to waste on little inconveniences like people and the speed bumps they put before us.

Its easy to condemn when it is not uswhen it is someone else who is in the way. Sometimes we are not critical, but we just dont want to be bothered with theirbaggage. After all its not our problem! We are too concerned with whats going on in our lives to take the time and show mercy and grace toward another. Sound familiar?

The other evening I was driving my gigantic SUV while towing a trailer which was carrying a golf cart at night traveling 200+ miles (Are you still with me?). I feel like I am a good driver, and I can drive and park the heck out of my SUVand usually I have a pretty heavy foot. Well, I dont see very well at night, and for me to be towing something, which I have only done a few times in my life, made me very uncomfortableespecially when HUGE big rigs and motor homes were coming at me, separated by only a tiny white line. Now I know what white knuckling it means. One slip of the steering wheel or a slight serpentine of the trailer and it could have been disastrous!

I was not holding up traffic by any means and I actually passed a few cars. Yes, I was passed alsobut I was going above the speed limitjust safely and at the speed I felt comfortable going. So, I did not feel the added pressure of cars on my tail or being honked at or anything like that. But, if I had those extra stresses, I would have been a real ball of nerves!

Fast forward a few days. We are safely home from our vacation and we are headed to a function at a friends home. I am driving my huge SUV, and I am not pulling a trailerhenceI am comfortable, and my lead foot is in full swing. We were running a little bit late, so that only made me want to go even faster. Well, wouldnt you know: We were behind a truck pulling a trailer the whole 20 minutes to our destination! (It felt a lot longer than that.) While driving behind this truck and trailer I got to consciously make a choice: Did I want to be impatient and put more undue stress on the probably-already-nervous driver? Did I want to be uptight and get angry with the situation at hand even though it was something I couldnt control? Did I want to back off his tail and give him some space and alleviate his pressure to drive faster? Did I want to put myself in his shoes (as I was just there) and feel compassion and give him grace? I chose the last two.


You see, this is just a small example of how we can walk a mile in someones shoes. It was easier for me to relate to this because I had just been under the same stress only days earlier. But we have the opportunity each and every day to put ourselves in another persons shoes. We have the chance to see life as they do, to step into their journey and show compassion and patience, kindness, and love. I say this is a small example, because there are so many other greater examples of people suffering and going through tough times and not feeling accepted and complete and understoodthose are the opportunities for us to shine and show what it means to be real and humane.

Part of walking in another persons shoes is to show empathy, love, and compassion towards their situation. It doesnt mean that we can only relate if we have been through the same storm. It just means that mentally and emotionally we can sympathize, help, love, and not judge or condemn.

Take Action: This week, lets be aware when we are judging and condemning another person. Lets stop in our tracks and really try to walk a mile in their shoes. We never know what journey has led them to where they are, and we certainly dont know where they are goingbut sometimes a little love, grace, and kindness can make all the difference in the world!

Comments

  1. I just heard on KLOVE today while driving home, something profound… that ties in with the theme of your blog. I wish I could quote it exactly, but it went something like this: ‘Instead of thinking about how someone owes you an apology, you should consider what a privilege it is that you are able to forgive’ … it was powerful to hear. Thank you for you story.

  2. Thank you for the reminder…this is a good one for me!! 🙂

  3. Gigi Peterson says:

    Thank you for not only reminding us of this, but also being a person who truly tries to live out the advice you give to others. It makes your blogs mean so much more to know first hand that you are so genuine about what you write. Love you friend and thanks again!!

  4. Absolutely LOVE this one… so so true!!! What a solid reminder – thanks friend!

  5. Omigosh. I JUST experienced this yesterday in my 101 class. I had viewed a couple in a certain light just because they looked so “perfect”. They shared their struggles with the class and I was truly ashamed to admit to her how I had felt. She was kind and gracious. Thanks for the visual Deanna- great reminder.

  6. Great visual!! Good message!!! Now off to practice life! Thanks for the help. Love Aunt Judy

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