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What If I Were They?

What If I Were They? It sounds poetic, like a line from philosophy. It sounds elegant, yet simple. The words are almost laid out enough to give clarity to the ideas meaning. But not all the way, there is still room for misunderstandings based on the truths and facts that we individually hold.

Here is a simple breakdown to better understand this powerful and easy to use empathy tool.

...What If I

What if I were someone else. What if I was born in another part of my country, or even another part of the world. Exploring this idea is exploring the curiosity that we all have lingering inside us. This is an opportunity to put your self in some else's shoes, with meaning and understanding as the goal.

Many have heard the phrase but we may have never really done much with the guidance. To put ourselves in someone else's shoes can have a profound impact on our judgments and our ability to conjure empathy in times when the world needs it the most. We need to consider what happened to others and not pursue our judgments on behalf of their interactions or our perception of who they are.

...I

Looking inward is vital in understanding how our experiences and knowledge impact our view on incoming information. Keeping our biases in check and equally important our fears and anxieties assists us in clearing the clouds of false thoughts and their byproducts from our minds. Knowing who we are, prepares us in taking care of the current moment.

...Were They

They, the description of everyone. They is equal to everyone outside of yourself.

What if I were the angry driver who I met on my way to work.

What if I were my boss who yelled at me today.

What If I were a black man who was assaulted by the police.

What if I were an immigrant in a country who deemed my presence illegal?

The "what ifs" are endless, and they should be endless for you as well. The more that we know about other people and the adversity that they have experienced the better we will understand how their shoes fit and why their path looks the way it does.

It's a simple idea, with a powerful result. Giving everyone the opportunity to tell their story and breathe their views into the world gives us all a better understanding of how they...and how we got here.

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