It seems as a people we have become impatient, judgmental, and are quicker than ever to make assumptions, especially regarding others. My question is, if you have never walked in their shoes, if you have never lives their life, than how can you assume you understand? We can’t judge someone else’s life story on the chapter that we happen to walk in on. Just like you aren’t walking in anyone else’s shoes, no one else is walking in yours. Your feelings, your experiences, your story is yours. Now imagine someone trying to invalidate those feelings, invalidate a situation or event that you experienced. Imagine also being told what really happened, how you should really feel, how you should react – or worse, that it doesn’t matter and to get over it or move on. Perhaps you are sitting there thinking to yourself how upset and outraged you would be, how disrespected and invalidated you may feel, perhaps other feelings and emotions come to mind. Anger, fear, resentment, shame, guilt, sadness, grief. None of these feelings would be wrong, your feelings are valid, just as valid as anyone else’s. We only own our feelings, we can only control our actions and reactions. So often we are so quick to make an assumption about a person, situation, something we know next to nothing about.
We can never really understand one another unless we are willing to see things from their point of view, until we are open and ready to listen and hear what someone else has to say. Here’s the thing, you can be right about something, but it doesn’t mean the other person is wrong, you can both be right. You can both have valid reasons that have made you think, feel, and believe what you do. You have never walked in their shoes, nor they in yours. This is where empathy plays a pivotal role, being able to truly and also figuratively of course, step into the shoes of another, understanding their perspectives, their feelings, and allowing that to be guide that leads you to your own actions and reactions. Everyone has been through something, and many if not most have experienced times of hardship, distress, sadness, hurt, dread, anxiety, fear, and possibly trauma at one point or another in their lives. No one gets through life without having a bump or two in the road. These are the things that help us learn and grow, or the things that we can allow to be barriers to not only a better life, but to being a better person all around.
It is important that before you start spreading hate, making assumptions, accusations, or invalidating someone else’s thoughts, feelings, or beliefs, you check in with yourself. You never know what someone else is going through, or what they have lives through already. Stop judging, stop mocking others, stop being overly critical, and be more mindful and empathetic towards others. Everyone is fighting their own unique war, just like everyone has their own battle scars. Maybe, just maybe, if we could be more understanding, compassionate, open and willing to learn about other’s challenges, we may be able to treat one another with more tolerance, more love, be a little kinder and more compassionate, love more, and be a more caring and compassionate people. We have the ability to make positive changes, to ensure that the younger generations and generations to come live in a world with less hate and destruction and more peace and love. Let’s work together to make this world a more compassionate, loving, empathetic, caring, connected, and safe place for everyone. United to stand, divided we fall.