When I have some extra time, I often spend hours looking at quotes, which allow me to connect someone else’s thoughts to aspects of my own life. It’s so simple, but so satisfying to me; I enjoy being able to make that connection or know someone else has encountered the same thing as I.
One of my favorite statements was written by Harper Lee and appears in her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Atticus Finch offers ethical advice to his daughter, Scout, in the form of this quote: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Thought-provoking, isn’t it? From the time we are young, we always hear that we should “treat others how you would like to be treated.” However, we rarely consider what it would be like to be in that person’s shoes… or to climb in their skin.
If you were to climb in my skin, you would see the true me, who I am beneath the surface. Perhaps you would learn the struggles of a commuter; how I work multiple jobs to pay for my education, car, insurance, cell phone, etc.; I get involved to keep myself busy and meet new people; I work so hard and am on campus so often I rarely have time to spend with my family. Being in my shoes, you could feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted… but you would also feel encouraged, loved, and accomplished.
Along with Harper Lee, I strongly believe we must live with sympathy and understanding towards others. For many, this is not easy to comprehend; even Scout had trouble taking her father’s advice in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Although it may be tough, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You may not understand their thoughts, actions, anxieties, or inspirations; you may not delve deep below the surface either. However, you will learn to be more understanding and compassionate towards others.
Before passing judgment, consider what it would be like to be in someone else’s position. Considering things from their point of view only reaps the benefits, so don’t be afraid to climb around in someone else’s skin.