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Put Yourself In Other People's Shoes

/put-yourself-in-other-peoples-shoes

With empathy we can learn to better understand others and think less from our own point of view.

tldr;

Struggle over none

What

Develop your capacity for empathy, as well as self-introspection.

How

By observing others.

When

While in public.

Duration

A few minutes at a time.

2019-03-18

Context

This exercise can be inherently difficult.

In large part because it demands you to think consciously beyond which you may feel comfortable.

In fact, half the reason why you’re addicted to porn is because of all the subconscious behaviours you’ve been constructing over the years, in order to deal with your own feelings of inadequacy etc.

Which meant putting your conscious awareness aside, which has now grown weak and must be retrained again from scratch.

With this exercise what we’re going to attempt to do is to try and understand what it’s like to be in the shoes of others.

And this kind of empathy is most prominent when we’re watching documentaries based on humanitarian crisis or exploitation, where we get to see people struggle first-hand.

Certainly part of the reason why this is easy, as opposed to what you’ll be attempting to do, is because you get to hear the stories of those people first-hand.

Instead of these people however, I want you to try and understand the people around you, whether that be your own friends and family, or even random strangers in public.

At the very least, to observe your own feelings of how you perceive others.

Now, although this may seem like an opportunity to judge, mock and possibly even condemn others, this truly isn’t the purpose of the exercise.

Essentially, it comes down to two different thing:

How you genuinely feel about others from their own individual point of view.

Observing and questioning the validity of those feelings.

And the benefits of this exercise are numerous.

Most prominently, attempting to try and understand others is an excellent way to uncover the extent to which we misunderstand ourselves.

Because if you’re feeling particularly negative about someone (or possibly positive) then that usually reflects in how we see ourselves.

Which is to say that our empathy is often a reflection of our ability to judge and self-criticise.


Instructions


For this exercise what we want to do is try and imagine what it’s like to be others from their point of view.

This exercise works best when you’re in public, usually sitting on public transport where you and the other person are both present.

Obviously, don’t go crazy and stare at the other person, but I’m sure you get the idea.

What can really help with this exercise is to first put all of your feelings and emotions aside, and just imagine a neutral version of yourself.

Then with this neutral version, imagine the other person being the same as well.

Starting with this blank slate can help immensely, because there’s no point jumping to conclusions straight away.

Then once you’re in that neutral mindset, you can begin to observe.

Does the other person look tense, or perhaps is it you who’s actually tense?

Are they happy, sad or entirely neutral? Does it look like their mind is pre-occupied? How can you possibly know?

How do you personally feel doing this exercise? Do you find it difficult or easy?

In addition, also realise the extent to which you simply cannot be empathetic.

What aspects of a person can you not feel? Is it because they’re aspects which you struggle to feel yourself?

Certainly, you may be surprised with what you discover.

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