What do you mean “Walk in their Shoes”?

Woman jeans and sneaker shoes

What do you mean “Walk in their Shoes”?

Contributed by
Robert Salazar

What do you mean walk in their shoes?

Here’s what I’ve noticed the few times I’ve actually walked in someone else’s shoes: we all walk different. You take a few steps and notice the sole and heel just feel out of wack. Everyone leans different. It’s not that surprising we all walk different, but I guess it’s notable I never really thought about it. Then again, there’s really so so much I never think about. The old line, “What you don’t know could fill a book,” right? Well, here’s a blog.

To walk in someone’s shoes—this time I mean metaphorically—means to think from their perspective. I do a lot of thinking from other people’s perspective as a writer and actor, but when I’m trying to create a character I recognize that it’s still coming from my own experience. When I’m trying to think like someone else, oftentimes it’s hard not to get in my own way. I get clouded by my own personality, and lose sight of how my own construction is wholly different from everyone else’s.

I have an actor friend that creates characters from the ground up. He always aims to find the source of someone’s personality, some moment or person in their life that was wholly responsible for helping them become who they are. It’s a good technique, but maybe a a stretch to imagine everything sprouts from one bean.

We end up who we are because of millions of moments all leading up to the now. I recently was discussing someone who wronged a friend of mine. In my grief, I said that I think they’re a bad person. The friend I was talking to had a patient response that I’m still mulling over. He said, “they’re not bad, they’re sick.” He then went on to discuss the root causes of this kind of behavior. I was a little embarrassed in retrospect that I had come to my own snub-nosed conclusion rather than find the sympathy that connects that enemy’s humanity to mine.

The theme of this month at Family Bridges has been gratitude. We’ve been switching roles with one another at the office where the community liaison manager switched with our creative writer and etc. With this exercise, we’re trying to gain newfound insight into our coworkers and just what makes their work so special and what makes them so special for their work. It’s been illuminating to learn just what other people go through on a day to day basis. It illuminates the struggles and deep thoughts that go into their own lives.

How can I walk in someone’s shoes without considering everything they’ve been through? There’s a million ways to shape a sole.

For more resources on personal and professional development,  you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

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