Perspective – Do You Walk in Others Shoes?


Perspective is a funny thing.  Two people can look at the very same situation and have two completely different understandings, views or perspectives.

This isn’t something new.  But how often does this play into an ordinary day?

Have you ever been frustrated driving behind someone that is going slower than you’d like?  Of course.  But have you ever considered that perhaps that person had recently been in an auto accident and is nervous about being back on the road again?  Or perhaps they’re a fairly new driver or elderly driver and need to take extra precautions to be safe.  Perhaps they have a new baby on board and are driving super conservative.  Point being, we don’t know what’s going on with the person in the other car.  Chances are, if we did, we might be a little more patient and understanding.

Here is something my husband and I experienced recently.  After a wonderful hike in the Arizona desert, we approached our car to encounter a man having a tantrum.  Apparently, we parked “too close” to his new vehicle and he was outraged.  So he yelled and demanded our insurance information in case there was a scratch.  (Literally, we took pictures and there was no evidence of any scratches.)  We politely apologized and gave him our insurance information.  So who was right?  Had we parked too close?  We didn’t think so.  He did.

I thought about his behavior afterward.  What would have prompted his outburst?  Maybe he just had a huge argument with his wife.  Maybe he just lost his job.  I really had no concept of why he was so outraged.  I will never know.   But if you try and put it in a category of “we just don’t know what this person is going through” it becomes easier to move on.  It becomes easier to deal with frustrating situations.  It helps us to not allow events or situations to ruin moments, ruin our mood or ruin our days.

The point is that we are all going through things.  Sometimes we are in a great place of happiness.  Sometimes we are going through struggles and what feels like the worst time of our lives.  Others just don’t know it.

So, if we are distracted during the bad times, or act out-of-character, hope that others will try and be compassionate.  Don’t be quick to judge or quick to react.  Give others the benefit of the doubt.  And know that you have no idea of what is happening in their world at that moment. 

It will help you let go of frustrating situations.  And it may help them hearing a kind word, or seeing a kind action from you.

Remember, often there is no right or wrong.  There is only different perspectives.