In the previous part I started writing a little story that I imagined one night while I was watching the stars. This short story is about the power of understanding. It is a way to see how different everything could be if we could be less judgmental and more understanding with each other. Hope you enjoy it!
He started seeing flashing images, they were passing quickly through his eyes like a movie. As the images were passing, he started to recognize the kid in the images, it was the life of this kid in little images. As they were passing, the little kid was getting older, and suddenly he recognized completely who it was: It was his neighbor, a shy and quiet boy of about 20 years of age. The man has always criticized and judged this boy, because he was different, he always referred him as the “suicide boy” because he was lonely and never smiled. The images keep passing through his eyes, until they stopped.
The man remained motionless for almost 15 minutes, and suddenly, he broke into tears. What he saw in those images was the 20 years of life of this boy. The magic about the shoes he tried was that not only made him see the life of the boy he always criticized but he could felt what he also felt in different moments of his life. He understood why he was the way he was. This boy has been through a lot of hardship in his short life. And in the present, he was taking care of her sick and drunk mother, because his father ran away when he was born. Suddenly, he realized that this boy, his neighbor, was worthy of being respected.
He tried the second pair first, and afterwards the third pair of shoes, both fit him perfectly. He saw the images that appeared. Those two pairs were the lives of two different people he knew. People who he always criticized most of the time. One was the life of the secretary of her boss. He always criticized her for the way she looked, the way she acted, the way she spoke, he always judged her because she was a very reserved and quiet girl, who looked like a nun. It turns out that this girl has suffered abuse from his father when she was a child, and she has been afraid of men ever since.
The third pair of shoes was the life of his father. He has always been very critic with him. His father was always a strict, cold and distant man. He didn’t know much about his father’s life, they never really had a relationship, and they haven’t talked in the last years. He always criticized his father for not being a good, loving and understanding father. But what he saw in those images broke his heart into pieces.
It turned out that his father has had a rough life. His grandfather, his father’s dad, was very severe with his son. He has been the only son out of 4 daughters, and his father was very hard on him, always receiving psychological and physical abuse from his part. “This will make you a man, and you are the only one, you must take care of your sisters”, he used to say. This man now understood that his father was the way he was because of his own father. He saw in the images that his father always took care of his 4 sisters after their father’s death, and he always took care of him. The man felt ashamed of himself for being so cruel with his father, because he was always distant and cold, but deep inside him he was good man. A father to be proud of.
The man feeling a mixed of emotions tried to find again an exit door, he also went to the front to see if he could open the door, but it was still locked. Tired and hopeless, he went back to the rear of the store. He realized that he hasn’t tried the fourth pair of shoes. Already feeling devastated he was afraid of what he could see in those last pair of shoes. His curiosity was stronger so he decided to try them on.
He started seeing the images passing through his eyes. Immediately he recognized the person in those images: It was himself, and those were his memories. He saw the person he was and he saw the person he has become. A selfish and judgmental person that has always been criticizing people without even knowing them. He started crying, he couldn’t recognize himself. “Who have I become?” He said with tears in his eyes. The images keep passing before his eyes. He couldn’t tolerate seeing himself in those images. He felt ashamed, and for a moment he even despised himself. “Please God I don’t want to be this person anymore, I can be better than this, I can change.” He cried out loud.
Suddenly, the images stopped. He took out the shoes. The lights went on, and he went to the front door. It was open. He went out the door and left the shop. He opened his eyes, he was lying on his bed, it was all a dream, a dream that came true. He wanted to change, God gave him hand. He reborn, he changed, he evolved, and his life was never the same again.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – John Watson
With this little story that I imagined in my mind, I could understand how different everything is when we get to know the story of a person. Once we know what they have been through, once we feel what they felt, everything changes. But do we need to go through that to be understanding and compassionate? The answer is no. We need to understand that everyone is fighting their own battler, becoming more understanding and less judgmental. We do not change people by criticizing them, nor we change our lives. We need less critics, and more people willing to become the best version of themselves so they can be ready to help others do the same. Together we can make this world a better place, it all starts with us and with the person we choose to be every single day of our lives.
The next time you criticize and judge others, try to put yourself in that person shoes first. Try to understand others as you would like them to understand you. Understanding is the key to a better world. Will you help create it?