The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Stepping into someone else’s shoes

While coaching in the marketing seminar I could see how the participants found the different lessons on empathy challenging. They all had different reasons to find them difficult. One question seemed to be particularly difficult, it asked participants to imagine how a person having a view opposed to theirs could be right.

It’s a challenging task inviting to let go of one’s own view and to try to take up someone else’s view. It’s more complicated than to step into someone else’s shoes.

Our view is the one we’ve been living with and found convenient. Letting it go, even temporarily, then feels like standing naked somewhere. It’s uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Taking on another view, however, may even feel threatening. What if that view was right? What if we’d have to review our existing view?

It’s not entirely a question of being open and interested. Very often it is a question of having been wrong. And in an environment where being right is important, being wrong is threatening.

But there is an additional reason making that lesson so complicated.

People who have a view opposed to our own very often remind us of a wrong that we feel has been done to us. It adds an emotional hurdle that can’t be dealt with when approaching the situation with logic. It’s a hurdle that asks us to forgive or let go of the feeling of having been wronged.


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