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Empathy: Walking in the other person’s shoes.

This week's blog is a collaboration of a post from my personal blog, "Walk in my..." I wanted to share it with all of you because I think the topic is very relevant and important nowadays. I hope this reflection blesses all of you!


A quote of unknown origin says, "Be gentle walking in the lives of others; not all wounds are visible." I love this quote because it gives a powerful message of empathy and compassion. According to the dictionary, empathy is the ability to imagine oneself in the position of another. It is understanding or assuming the role of another person without losing one's objectivity. Empathy and compassion are abilities we learn when we see them in others. They are a fruit that arises from the gratefulness of having experienced them personally. As 1Corinthians 12:25-26 states - 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that the parts should have the same care for one another. 26 If one part suffers, all the members suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it. - God designed our bodies in a synchronized way that serves as a perfect example for understanding our lives together as a community. Every person depends on each other. If someone gets hurt, everyone gets involved in the healing process. If a person is happy and rejoices, every other person should rejoice with them.


We must put ourselves in the shoes of others and try to see things through their experiences and limitations. Each person is a collection of lived experiences and qualities that vary from person to person. We cannot measure ourselves with the same parameters because not all of us fit in the same way in this puzzle that is life. It is easy to attack or criticize someone from your comfort, but would you think the same if you were in their stormy waters? As a popular idiom in my country says, "Nadie sabe lo que hay en la olla más que aquel que la menea, "Nobody knows what is in the pot more than the one who mixes it." This idiom reveals an important truth; if you have not experienced the same problem or overcome the same situation as the other person, you should not criticize their actions because they are experiencing it firsthand. Understanding this helps us show empathy and be more compassionate.


We should understand that what may be insignificant and trivial for you is not necessarily the same for your neighbors, family members, and acquaintances. When we finally realize that we do not all react in the same way, are not equipped in the same way, and do not even see things in the same way, we will begin to show more empathy and not make judgments. Placing ourselves in the place of others sometimes opens the way to a certain degree of vulnerability, making us face our weaknesses. We resort to criticism as a defense mechanism. We do not take time to study the background behind the actions of others before making a judgment. We do not take into consideration that each person carries baggage, a burden.


For example, we often tell the child who cries a lot in class that he is a crybaby, but we never worry about what is causing him to act like that. Sometimes just asking and getting involved would make the difference and the starting point for a change. You may tell me, Sylvia, I do not have time for that, or I have too many complications to preoccupy with someone else problems. Wow, that's sad, but if you look around, that's what happens nowadays; we are so busy and so fixated on our burdens that we hardly notice others' needs.


Be honest, and make a fair analysis about your actions; have you looked at the needs of those around you? Have you analyzed why your colleagues from school or work react the way they do? Have you asked your partner what would make their day better? Have you offered to help someone today? Did you ask the restless kid in school if he rested well last night? Have you put yourself in someone else's shoes before judging them? Unfortunately, we live like zombies; we do not appreciate the beauty surrounding us or pay attention to others and their needs. We even talk without looking at each other's eyes or hide behind a cell phone or other electronic device. How are we going to get to know others if we do not communicate with each other?


Remember that even when you think you know everything about a person, you will never really know what that person is going through deep inside. Instead of attacking the fallen tree, we must be quick to imitate Christ and lift others. Let's be compassionate, love each other, and be supportive. Let's help everyone who needs it without having hidden agendas or prejudice.


Let's try to be more empathetic and put ourselves in the other person's shoes.