Monday, March 14, 2016

You Haven't Walked a Mile in My Shoes

Do you ever look at the struggles and trials someone else is going through and think how awful their lot in life is? Or conversely, how it's not as bad as so-and-so's? Or not as bad as the person may be making it out to be?

Here's the thing: You don't and can't ever really know what another person is going through--even if you've experienced the same or similar trial.

Why? Because every person is different. We all have had a different life experience, unique feelings and emotions, and varying perspectives on situations. We are individuals who think, feel, and act in our own way, in our own time.

Recently, I had an experience with this, where someone was minimizing something I've been struggling with my whole life. I was told that my experience wasn't "as bad" as the similar situation of another person. While what I had gone through was hard, this other person's was worse because of XYZ and ABC and 123. Basically, my sorrow, pain, and healing process were somehow less significant. Less difficult. Not as big of a deal.

This left me feeling hurt. Mentally and emotionally weak compared to others since I was still struggling. And, as much as I would like to be done dealing with this problem, it's not that simple. No amount of mental fortitude can heal some things overnight, or even over years.

I guess my point is, since you truly don't really know what's going on with someone or what their different experiences in life are, you can't judge them and decide their life is far better/worse than another person's. Everyone's journey is unique. We all handle adversity and successes differently. We shouldn't judge someone's experience based on our own life.

You haven't walked a mile in my shoes, and not even close to the whole road. I may walk my miles differently than you do (or how you think I should), but at least I'm still walking.

The best route to take is to have more compassion and empathy for those around you. Try to understand how people feel in their individual circumstances. Don't make them feel worse by downplaying their situation or comparing it to someone else's. We all have strengths and weaknesses and some of us are better equipped to handle certain situations.

 Lift others, don't push them down. Love more, judge less.