My Shoes, Your Shoes

If only life was so simple, so easy, that poor decisions which are made, for all the many myriad of reasons for which they are made, could be unmade with a snap of fingers. That nobody would need to remember those choices, or better yet, that those kinds of decisions were unnecessary or unnatural things that just didn’t take place. That we could all be undeniably innocent. It is so unfortunately true in life that everybody ends up making choices that injure others. Those other people have probably made choices that injure others, and those, and the cycle continues. Perhaps if we, as a species, were more selfless creatures, this would be a less common occurrence. However, that fact, whether true or not, is rather irrelevant. These things happen  in life, for as far back as one looks and probably as far into the future as one can imagine.

Some people just don’t give a fuck. They make those choices because they can, and some of them even enjoy it. Others do so because they feel they’ve been disappointed, others still from a lack of self control, some because they’ve only been given a choice between bad and worse, and the list goes on. But the betrayers have a story just as the betrayed do. Does it excuse the decision or mean that consequences should be set aside? No. But should the story still be heard? Yes. We each have been both the betrayer and the betrayed throughout the courses of our lives. There should still and always be an attempt to understand both sides of a story. There is rarely ever just one truth or one reality. When perception and perspective is what defines how we each see life, and everybody’s got a different point of view, should there not be at least a small effort to seek the other person’s shoes, to at least try and fathom the reasoning, or lack thereof, that went into what happened? I know it’s certainly not easy to be that person, the one who tries to rise above their emotions and seeks to understand why the betrayer acted how they did. The effort can be enormous, and you may not like the truths that you find. But if the truth is a necessity, should one not seek to understand all truths?

It’s so very easy to say that it’s easy for me to say this, that I must have done something despicable and want a chance to justify myself. Some will believe that no matter what I say. Keep in mind my earlier comment: I, like everyone else, have been both the betrayer and the betrayed, and know what it’s like to be on both sides of the coin flip. But really, I’m not trying to justify my actions and I’m not trying to convince anybody that any choices I’ve made should be acceptable because I may have had good reasons or because I felt a certain way at the time that may make it seem more acceptable. The truth is, the person(s) who I’ve injured will probably never even read this. It is likely that they will only ever have the trite and inadequate words that I gave them during what was possibly the only conversation we will ever have about it. I’m not even going to write about those things here. Really, I’m just writing this for myself. To express an opinion on the power of understanding, because I truly, passionately believe in it. That the world could be so much more harmonious, if only people would learn to be more understanding of each other. Obviously, putting people into boxes and molds has not been working very well up to this point. Naming names, pointing fingers, and placing blame have done little more than to escalate situations that were bad enough to begin with.

It is probably true that only I will ever know me, and only you will ever know you. That there is no true understanding, because everything is, in fact, based on perspective and perception, and it prevents anything from being objective enough for that. But there is still understanding to be had. Although perhaps meeting in the middle is all we can hope for, I must believe that what can be gained from the middle is better than not trying at all. Switching my shoes with your shoes every once in awhile, just to make sure we’ve got the gist of things. That in general, we get each other. Open-mindedness, in the sense that I am speaking of, is not an easy thing to achieve. But with it comes with a type of understanding, and with that understanding comes a realization of truths and of reality, and with that, a sense of peace which comes with knowledge gained. It should be worth it, in the end. Because you were the person that made that effort, because you walked away with more wisdom than you had before, and because you’ve shown somebody a kindness that is rarely, if ever, experienced, despite the fact that they may have hurt you. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody wishes at least once that they had done something differently. And most importantly, everybody has their own stories. Are you willing to hear one of yours from someone else’s point of view? At the very least, you’re listening then. And everybody wants to be heard, betrayer or betrayed. It makes no difference which you are. We are all only Human, in the end.


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