Toolbox – Put Yourself in Their Shoes

November 7, 2018 ,
This has been by far the hardest exercise I have done, from an emotional perspective. It is much easier to look at things in black and white, to see people as good or evil. It is much harder to really make the effort to empathise and understand the perspective of others, especially if you don’t have the best relationship with them. But give it a try! It might make you a better, more compassionate person.

This was a small exercise that I found on the gratitude app that I mentioned in another post, Gratitude Garden. It was something that was written one day, on the screen of my phone and I immediately took a screenshot of it. After trying it for the first time, I should repeat it every day. And it has helped me so much!

Having multiple relationships can be quite challenging and sometimes you may find that the needs of multiple people can not be equally satisfied. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly or that your needs get neglected, it is only human to become negative and bitter. It’s easy to see the people you blame for your unhappiness as bad folks with evil intentions. The exercise of putting yourself in their shoes is meant to get you out of that negative frame of mind and really connecting to people in your life.

The exercise is quite simple. As you wake up in the morning and go through your routine, take a few minutes to imagine yourself as this other person you have trouble feeling good about. Visualise them waking up in the morning, putting on their clothes to go to work and try to think of their lives. What might this other person be thinking about, early in the morning? What do they worry about? What are they insecure or fearful of? Have they suffered any setbacks or pain lately? Maybe they feel lonely. Could they be thinking about you in the exact same way that you are thinking about them?

You will be tempted to quit pretty quickly and go back to judging this person, but keep at it. Remember that the goal is to try to understand their perspective better. In time, I promise that it will help you become kinder and more understanding. And, in turn, this will make you feel better about yourself and the things that happen to you, good or bad. I really hope this exercise helps and don’t forget to try the Gratitude Garden app, as keeping a Gratitude Journal has been awesome in my journey and I have no doubt it can be useful!

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