Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
You can’t really understand another person’s experiences until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It makes it clear how wrong it is to judge someone. We don’t know what they have experienced along their path in life. There are challenges we all must face, some more difficult than others. You never really know a person until you understand things from their point of view. We need to experience the world from another person’s perspective, to walk in their shoes, and to know what it feels like to be that person. Once we have faced the experience for ourselves, our opinion will probably change drastically. It will also change how we feel about that person.
We have all discovered that other people’s behavior can be irritating and hard to understand. Before judging a person, we should try to understand them. Once we see and feel life from somebody else’s point of view, we will realize that other people are just trying to be hapy in their own life, and in their own way. Most often, what annoys us in others is not at all about us. Life’s challenges confront us all.
It is human nature to believe our first impression of people who cross our paths daily. Every day, we smile or nod, and we avoid looking at them. Every day we speak to different people, but what do we really know about them. We make an instant assessment and move on. It takes effort to know another person, and most of us do not have the extra time. Instead we form a quick opinion and get on with our lives.
Every one of us experiences life’s challenges. We have burdens to bear but we carry on anyway. Let’s change our course of human encounter. We don’t need to know somebody’s life story. Let’s be compassionate, let’s be kind, let’s smile.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life ~