Prompted, by The Redhead: 75 words or more on "someone else's shoes".
It’s a favourite of those Facebook friends you were at primary school with and have no real idea why you’re still connected with given their over-fondness for “u ok hun?”, or Pinterest where the text is displayed on a background of trees and road, or wibbly blue lines.
At first glance, it’s not necessarily the worst adage: “Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes.” It’s not a bad thing to try and understand someone, their view of the world, the pressures they’re under and why they think and act like they do. The world probably could do with people being more open-minded, and less, you know, Daily Maily. We’d probably all be happier if everyone tried it.
One thing my new(ish) job has taught me is the importance of negotiation. It’s critical when you’re negotiating to really understand the opposing side’s position: what they say they want and how that can be completely different from the reality, the stresses they’re under from external forces, what they need out of the situation. To walk in their shoes.
But something else I’ve learnt is that, regardless of how well you understand the other side, you’re the one who can fight for you. If you’re lucky, you have a team rooting for you, but you’re its centre. You’re best situated to know what you’ve been through, the forces you’re acting under, what your position is, what you need.
By all means, go the extra mile to understand someone else. Be gracious. Absolutely be kind - the world gets grotty when we’re not. But don’t do it at your own expense, don’t be naive enough to expect the other side, with their own issues and desires and concerns to put themselves at a disadvantage.
Walk a mile in someone’s shoes. But take them off before they give you blisters. Finish the journey in your own.
6 hours ago