Thursday, January 28, 2016

In Another’s Shoes

We all know the saying about walking in another person’s shoes. The idea being that we really can’t know what another person is going through until we walk in their shoes, or experience life as if we were that person. And it’s true, more true than we might first see.

One unfortunate conclusion that could be drawn from the idiom about walking in another’s shoes, is that to really know what someone else is experiencing is impossible, or at least really difficult, so why bother.

We are capable of compassion however, and compassion makes us ignore any notion of something being impossible or difficult. Compassion can be lived out in simply being able to feel what someone else is feeling. Cringing when you see someone getting injured. Crying at an airport when you see two people you don’t know saying goodbye to one another. It can even be laughing just because everyone else is. Compassion is a normal and healthy aspect of being human.

There is an aspect of compassion that calls upon a higher level of our intelligence to fully experience. It is expressed in the well-known creed of compassion: The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t do unto others as you wouldn’t have them do to you. In other words, do good and don’t harm others.

We naturally have our own best interests at heart, but cultivating a culture of compassion in ourselves and our community means that we put another’s bests interests at heart. The benefit is that the world becomes a more pleasant place to be. There will still be griefs and sorrows, for sure, but we will walk with one another, more fully comfort one another, more fully love one another.

Imagine if the bottom line for business, governments, schools, religions was compassion… If profits were expressed on how much love we grew… If the Gross National Product was measured in love.

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