Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

Kim - Bedford, New York
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

The brightness of her cheeks was something only I noticed. The dark scarlet red crept across her face while her once pale skin changed into a ripe cherry. As I walked with a group of friends, I saw a circle of kids gathered around laughing and pointing to some poor girl sitting on the ground in the middle of all the madness. Her face had a look that reminded me of a newly born kitten. Helpless, pleading, terror, and embarrassment all mixed into one expression that either only I could read, or no one took the time to care. Thinking back to that day, that moment, those few seconds where the only thing important to me was fitting in with the crowd and going on with my own life, but what I didn’t realize was that this day was the day I think I truly understood the significance of empathy.

I believe in looking through the eyes of others. Taking, a few steps in the shoes of people who you don’t even know. I believe in the saying, “when you point at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” What this saying means to me is that no one is perfect. It’s impossible to be! And when you point at someone to make fun of them, there are people who are pointing at you too.

A lot of times I like to think about how many people there are in the world. I like to think about how whatever you’re doing at whatever moment in time…someone, somewhere, in the world could be doing exactly what you’re doing. This also makes me think that there are billions of people at that same moment doing something completely different from you. With these thoughts lingering in my mind it brings me back to the idea of empathy because everyone in the world goes through obstacles and experiences that are different from you but some things may be the same. So I believe that no one has the right to judge, and no one has the right not to care. Perspective, understanding, and selflessness are key points to life that in this generation of individuals we sadly lack. Instead of perspective we stereotype, and instead of understanding we give every reason not to, and instead of selflessness we are careless.

Empathy makes me think of a natural disaster that occurred a few years back. Hurricane Katrina really spoke to me. It helped me think about how lucky I really am. My mom always says I complain about everything and I never stop to smell the roses. Hurricane Katrina made me think that she was right. I believed her now that you need to stop and appreciate what you have, because somewhere in the world someone has it much worse off then you.

All of these ideas bring me back to that one day where my friend was being the victim of taunting, mocking, and ridicule. Because I believe in empathy, I am proud to say that I grabbed her hand, pulled her up, and helped her out. Just like I hope that someday, someone will help me too.