“First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get a long a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Atticus Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite novel. I have read it 3 times: once while I was in high school, and twice when I taught high school. I always notice different aspects each time I read it; however, what has always resonated with me the most is Atticus’ quote about empathy….
I have blogged, FB posted, and FB Lived a lot about the importance of pursing your dreams and surrounding yourself with people who support your choices.
But, I haven’t written about the flip side: the importance of respecting others’ life choices.
In a world where we are all “experts,” there is a temptation to criticize the choices of others. Some may feel that I think I’m an expert because I’ve chosen to write this blog. I assure you, nothing can be further from the truth. This blog is our pursuit to live healthy, intentional lives. Since we embarked on this journey a year and a half ago, we have learned there’s a huge learning curve when it comes to “intentional living” LOL…
So, I’m going to do my best to be intentional here:
*I have been guilty of criticizing others’ choices. I have said things to people’s faces that I shouldn’t have said. I’ve said things behind people’s backs that I had no right to say. I understand how very wrong that is to do.
*My current position on this subject is this: if I hear someone I know has made a choice that I don’t understand or agree with, I need to STOP, THINK, and PRAY.
*I need to reflect upon what I know about the person, yet acknowledge that I do not know everything that is going on in their life. (EMPATHY)
* Unless, I’ve been asked by that person for my opinion about their choice, I need to be very careful about approaching them…
*Should I decide to approach them, it should be from a place of love, concern—WITH NO ULTERIOR MOTIVES. There is no place for judgement, shame, and manipulation.
However, with that said, I do feel there are exceptions if you feel that someone is making harmful choices that impact them self and/or their loved ones. Then by all means, have the “come to Jesus talk”…
My primary focus here isn’t about unhealthy, damaging choices others make. I’m referring to the basic, “run of a mill” life choices.
Two more important reminders for us:
When you criticize someone to their face or behind their back…
We can improve ALL our relationships if we choose to follow Atticus’ advice: climb into the skin of others, walk around, and see things from their perspective. We may just change our perspective…You never know! At the very least, it will help us understand each other-better.