As I continue to work on things away from this blog (which is a collection of Free-Time/Casual Online Writing, Remarks, And Notes By ME Whelan) and continue to figure out what goes and what stays of my existing online-writing, the de-emphasizing of one or another continues as well....

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Someone Else's Shoes

When I went to view someone else's FB page awhile ago there was a remark about people often not knowing what it's like to "walk in someone else's shoes". When it became clear to me that my own remark was going to take up more space than I thought would be appropriate on someone else's page, I figured I'd post my thoughts on my own page instead.

The thing about other people's shoes is often a) that they don't fit at all, b) that if someone else tries they hurt so badly the person can't even stand, let alone, walk in them, and c) that the person cannot truly understand what it's like until/unless s/he has the "opportunity" to at least try walking in those "other-people's-shoes" long enough to see how well they do in them.

Most of us, I think, walk in the shoes that fit us and fit anyone else who may wear our size. If we walk in them long enough we wear them out in a way that they eventually only fit us. We may buy new shoes and start again, or we may find that what works best for us at any given time (and for one reason or another) is to dig out those same old shoes that have come to fit us so well; because that's what works best for us at that "given time" (or for that "one reason or another").

Maybe our own shoes aren't ideal, and maybe they aren't even as comfortable as shoes ought to be. But, when we're tempted to think too much about how imperfect our "shoes" may be we may soon start to think about the person who has no shoes (and we all know that saying about, "....because I had no shoes until I met a man who....").

As this post started to take a turn toward "the religious" (with the "man who has no shoes" thing), and it also took a turn far too close to the other part of that "saying" (which meant it would cut far too personally for me and some people close in my life that while, on the one hand, it would have made a point about my own perspective on some things related to that FB post/discussion; it would also have taken this post down a road that I didn't want it to go).

So why even start this post at all, or at least why even take it in the direction of metaphorical shoes?    a) because it can seem as if far too many people these days (or maybe any days, for that matter; although I do think our more complex/"advanced" society has, in many ways, encouraged more skewed perspective) can be confused about "proper"/"appropriate" perspective; and b) it was that FB reference to someone else's shoes that got me thinking about them at all.

In any case, I started this post a few days ago but abruptly ended it when I noticed the direction it had started to take and was pretty much too tired to make my points with what I'd written AND write enough to take the post up and away from either the "religious slant" or "too-personal slant".   I put it on "save" and kind of thought I wouldn't even bother posting it (ever); but for all the stuff I have in my computer, with the fact that I'm not all that motivated to write too many of my "non-writing"/"notebook" posts, and the fact that I'd rather write about something/someone other than myself and/or my day-to-day "notes" (potentially useful for future writing as some of them may be); I'm not one to want to waste a mostly written post when I haven't written much in recent times.

So, the real points that I want to make about the metaphorical shoes  are as follows:

1)  There are some shoes that only fit people who wear that size shoe and/or only fit, say, men or women.

2)  Assuming the size (etc.) is correct, there are some shoes that are made or styled poorly and are going to hurt anyone who either tries them on, or else wears them for too long.

3)  Then, considering the above two points, there are those "shoes" that are  "someone else's"; and while they may comfortably or uncomfortably serve the purpose of that someone-else with regard to his aim to walk or run to, or from, whatever it is he's walking/running toward or away from; it can be truly crippling and shockingly painful for the person who tries walking in someone else's shoes because when it comes to metaphorical shoes people can become acutely uncomfortable when they discover that something that fueled their ego and/or sense of sureness/security (or even sense of superiority in one or more ways) changed or disappeared once they actually experienced the discomfort of that "someone-else's" shoes.

The problem with metaphorical shoes is pretty much that walking in them so often means nothing more than staying in one's own shoes and imagining walking in someone else's.  Far too often, that's just not good enough.

Metaphors are metaphors.  Reality it reality.    In reality, shoes are shoes.

The real point I'm trying to make here is that we shouldn't have to walk in someone else's shoes or even try to imagine what it must be like for him (or us) to walk in those shoes.  Imagining some things may serve a purpose, but when dealing with reality and metaphorical shoes imagining (even when a dose of compassion and/or attempted empathy)can be out-and-out destructive, even dangerous.

Asking someone else what it's like to be in his shoes and listening to him is good; but, really, maybe the more important thing is to just recognize that each and every person has his own pair of metaphorical shoes and most of the time wears them and walks in them as best he can.

I don't know....    It sure seems to me that some of the biggest problems we can have in life get their start not because someone else hasn't walked in our shoes, but because far too many people don't realize that other people  actually do, in fact, have their own shoes.

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