Put Yourself In Their Shoes

This week has been full of conflict for someone close to me. In our discussion of how best to deal with the situation, this simple reminder keeps coming up:

Put yourself in their shoes.

When you’re having conflict with someone, it’s easy to forget to try and look at it from their perspective, especially if you’re emotions are running high and you’re all riled up.

Why is this person disagreeing with you? Consider their motivation, goals, emotional state, etc. What have they been dealing with in their own life? What do they want from you? Do they have ulterior motives? Are they emotionally unstable? Is it an ego issue?

This isn’t to say that you should just forgive someone you’re in conflict with, but you may be able to better deal with the situation if you can try to understand your “opponent.”

So the next time you find yourself worrying about something like this, stop, step away, and focus on the situation. Put yourself in their shoes. And don’t forget to examine yourself!


2 Replies to “Put Yourself In Their Shoes”

  1. I think that this is really, truly excellent advice. However, I don’t think you can possible stress this “Do they have ulterior motives? Are they emotionally unstable? Is it an ego issue?” too much. If you can determine that the answer is yes to any of these, I think you have to be prepared for a knock-down, drag-out, dirty fight. When those things are at stake, all shots often seem like legitimate from the person with those motivations/circumstances. If the answer to those are yes, I’ve recently figured out that the question you often need to answer is “Is this worth it?” Sometimes it’s time to merely walk away.

    1. ¬†@ElizabethStoops¬†Very true, Beth. I think the main problem is that often the person you’re dealing with is a co-worker, a family member, a close friend, or someone who is hard to just walk away from. Or someone who just makes you feel bad and you need to figure out how to deal with them.
      Too often, we let other people fill us with anxiety, anger, sadness, whatever. When you’re in the swing of your own emotions, it’s tough to find clarity. Hopefully, if you can manage to find it, then decide if you need to adjust your relationship with the person, or if there is a better way to deal with them (and maybe resolve your differences).

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