Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes
During my recent time in the hospital, I reconnected with an old friend from high school. Shawn visited just about every day. We reminisced about our time in high school. He remembered the times when I was belittled and sometimes bullied because of some of my challenges, from my speech that sometimes prevented me from getting the words out that I wanted to say to my appearance because of my scoliosis. Shawn wondered how I let that roll off my back and continued to smile through everything.
I explained to him my reasoning behind my personality.
Just think about what must be happening in THEIR lives, I said. They must have been bullied themselves, either at home or in school. I never took anything anyone did or said to me personally. I did my best and still do my best to see bullying and belittlement from another perspective. I put myself in their shoes. I feel bad for them, because just think about all that negative energy they carry around with them. It has to be released in some way. And unfortunately, many of us don’t have a constructive way to do so. To my advantage, I found my creative outlet.
I spent my nights after dinner while in school writing. That became my outlet. It was how I released my own negative energy. And it worked for me. If I hadn’t had that, who knows? I don’t think I’d have ever become a bully having experienced it myself all through grammar school and high school to a degree. I always had too much empathy to to consider belittling anyone.
I found it fascinating to talk to Shawn again after all the years that passed between us. He seemed to recall more examples of my being intimidated while in high school. Sometimes others see something happening when we don’t. I KNOW there were definitely times when I felt belittled, however I always felt more distress for those doing the intimidating. I kept thinking about their lives. What must they be going through?
That probably won’t work in today’s socially connected world where a single thought or post can be seen by your entire tribe, your friends, your frenemies and anyone else. I was also fortunate to have friends such as Shawn.
Jack Whaley was another such friend I made the first day in the eighth grade. People who took the time to get to know me beyond my outward challenges. I’m grateful for all my friends. But of all my high school friends, having Shawn visit me while I spent so much time in the hospital this winter really touched me. Listening to him relate some stories about his experience with seeing me be intimidated rocked my world because in some cases I don’t recall it happening. But once he’d leave, I would reflect on it and then I’d remember. Oh yeah, I’d think. That DID occur.
Bullying has taken on an entirely new dimension and we can no longer just turn to our friends to help and we can’t simply put ourselves in the bully’s shoes. There’s too much of it happening today. The connected world has made life easier and more challenging at the same time. It’s sad that people still feel the need to intimidate others. I still can’t help but think about the lives they have.
Being empathetic is who I am. And it’s how I made it through my school age years. Maybe if more people looked at life that way we wouldn’t have so much ugly threatening. Am I being too naive?
Be Happy! Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.
Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;
We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying. For there truly is no end.