Saturday, February 16, 2013

Until You've Walked in Their Shoes

I was in the process of writing a post with an entirely different angle, when I had an enlightening conversation with a friend. I saved what I was writing as a draft and started a fresh page. I was inspired to go in a different direction. Our conversation brought us closer together, as we found we are more alike than we thought. There's something about finding a unique thread of commonality that changes everything you previously thought about someone.  I loved her before, but even more so now.

Which makes me wonder, am I judgmental even with my friends?  Do I forget to look deeper than the surface of relationships?

This conversation was very thought provoking. It made me think about my approach to people. Are there friends in my life that I could grow to know on a deeper level if I open myself up a little more? Am I still letting fear creep in? I think I might be, and in giving this further thought I am probably holding people at arms length because I don't want to risk getting hurt.  I've been hurt recently by letting people in, and letting my guard down. Being hurt deeply in recent months forced my defense mechanisms to kick in and subsequently I raised my guard back up.

But isn't that being judgmental? If I resist closeness to avoid getting hurt, I am prejudging the relationship. And the last time I checked, I was not psychic. Closing myself off based on past hurt is ludicrous. And I'm not going to go there. It's a dark place, and I enjoy the light too much.

The word judgmental sounds so harsh. And in reality it is. Who am I to judge if I haven't walked in the other person's shoes?  Judgement of others can not have a place in my life if I am truly letting go of fear and trying to be the best person I can be.

If I judge someone on how they appear, how they come across by the first impression, or what I assume our relationship will be... how much am I missing? In a word, everything.  As children we are told to not judge a book by it's cover and this is as true in adulthood.

Being vulnerable is frightening. But without vulnerability I could be shutting the door to some pretty amazing people, before even giving them a chance. So to hell with having my guard up, and here's to being my true self. I am not going to fall prey to stagnation and fear.

So thank you my friend, you know who you are. Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart.  Our simple conversation this evening went much deeper than you know. My heart has softened just in the amount of time it took for me to write this post.

I wonder what opportunities will present themselves to me tomorrow with clear eyes and an open mind? The possibilities are endless.



  1. A thought provoking post. And we will never know how hard the shoe pinches the other one.

  2. True Michelle. One should not be judgmental. But at some point or the other in our life, we do judge people, and it cannot be avoided. The reason behind it is, they hurt us repeatedly, or we disagree with each others repeatedly!! And everytime it becomes difficult not to make an opinion about them.

  3. Greetings Michelle,
    A heartfelt post!

    We'll always make judgement calls on appearance, if we have no background. If I had the misfortune to be blind, that 1st judgement would probably be on voice alone. I'm not sure we'll ever get over that limitation; so by inference, I believe there's no problem with being initially a little wary.

    There always have been those that hurt, & those that are hurt; the murky reality being that most of fall into both those groups.

    It is true though - from my perspective - that people need to be given time to open up. Why not protect yourself while you give people time?

    Most of my most valued relationships/friendships have taken a little time to work out. To add to that, maybe the most interesting people also, take a little time to get it together.

    Hang in there!

  4. Very thoughtful post, Michelle. Good questions I have asked myself at times too. As open as I can be generally, I am wary of others getting too close. Too much hurt in the past can cause one to keep a distance and perhaps not get to know others as well as we could. I like your line, "So to hell with having my guard up." I think I’ll follow suit and to hell with having my guard up too. Well, at least I’ll try. :) Excellent post.