Not everyone can easily put him or herself in the shoes of others; or always consider other’s feelings, needs and thoughts before making decisions or taking actions. Some have it naturally, but for some, it’s a skill to be learnt and a new concept to be accepted, i.e. when two becomes one, it’s no longer just ‘self’, but ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’.
Think of one event currently is happening in your relationship: who is always expressing own opinions and thoughts, who is listening all the time? Do you or your partner take a moment to understand, discuss and agree on what the other is saying or trying to say? Are you really listening to what are being said and not said? How easy is it for you to be empathized about your partner and place yourself in your partner’s shoes? Or is it rather difficult?
Ever hear the story about three blind men trying to describe an elephant? One touches the leg and says an elephant is like a tall fat tree; one touches the nose and thinks it’s a tube shape animal; the one touches the skin and sure it’s a giant brush. What they describe is their partial understanding of an elephant; if they insist on own views only, they miss out the bigger picture, and the chance to really get to know what is an elephant, as well as the perspectives of learning something new together (with others’ input to see the full view).
In order to acquire this skill, you need respect and love. Respect: take the same importance and values of your partner’s saying and thoughts as your own, so that you will spend time to go through, analyze and fully understand. Be careful, EGO sometimes makes you to think less of your partner’s input. Love: share your partner’s feelings, care about how he or she reacts (so to adjust your chosen ways of communication) and keep mutual goals in mind. This allows a space for you and your views, your views and your partner’s views, as well as you and your partner, a space to get the best understanding of the subject matter, to discuss equally and an opportunity to unite and care for each other as a team while achieving common goals.
(This challenge is very stimulating for me, giving me goose pumps all over; because it is the area I want to improve on.)
Placing myself in my partner’s shoes, to respect and value his or her thoughts and feelings, to love and care for him or her by giving the space for us to process, discuss and decide as a united team.
For your actions:
(1) From scale 1(seldom)-10 (very often), how often are you in others’ shoes?
(2) Ask your partner to rate on the scale 1-10.
(3) List out at least 10 benefits for you and your relationship, if you are placing yourself in your partner’s shoes. Invite your partner to do the same.