When I was a child whenever I would come home from school with stories about my fellow students that were judgmental or harsh my mother would remind me to “walk a mile in their shoes”. Good advice I still try to live by, but it is not easy sometimes. It takes a lot of imagination to put yourself in the shoes of another. And sometimes I just cannot seem to get there. Still, it’s good to try and if I cannot succeed entirely I can at least remove the judge’s robes I sometimes don. After all nobody likes being judged. I know I don’t. Yet we all do it. We can only view life through our own lens of perception – and at times our perception is way off base. It’s like the lens through which we are peering are faulty or completely scratched, cracked, or broken, making our viewpoint narrow, or, at worst, skewered completely. At times like these it’s good to ask the other person to help us understand.
I may not agree with a viewpoint that is the polar opposite of my own, but I hope I will be respectful enough to realize that I may be wrong. It is differences that make our world so varied and so interesting. And so I endeavor to celebrate all the differences, all the viewpoints, all the challenges that help me grow as a person.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde