The other day, as I was walking into a shop in Saratoga Springs, a woman stopped me. We’d met about 5 years ago at a fund-raiser, and didn’t even know each other’s first names, but that day, she felt compelled to tell me a story and I’ve been thinking about it, and its powerful lesson, ever since.
Several years ago, her granddaughter (who was in college at the time) died suddenly in an accident. This woman (now well into her 80’s) didn’t really want to talk about her granddaughter, she was making another point, and although I was filled with emotion at her telling of the accident, she almost brushed me off saying, “It was a tragedy, but you know what was so strange…?”
She proceeded to tell me that a woman, whom she had known for over 20 years, and had a very unfriendly relationship with, became a totally different person towards her when she found out that her granddaughter had died. She said, “She went from being a real bitch to me, to suddenly wanting to give me a hug every time we ran into each other.” Then she shook her head and said, “It took death for her to be nice to me.” and with that she walked away, and I was left standing with my mouth (and heart) wide open.
So many times, when we don’t really care for someone, we think we have no choice. I’ve even said things like, “They just turn me off”, thinking that it is something in that person that is unappealing. What I have come to know is that it’s always the way that I am looking at them or thinking about them that “turns me off”….it is always a jugdgement (many times a moral one) that is making me think less of whoever it is that I find unappealing.
I admit that it is easier to be kind and understanding when we find out that someone has suffered a great deal but that is only because we now are subtly judging them worthy of our understanding and compassion. We always have a choice not to judge. We always have the option to refuse to let our minds tell a negative story about someone, even when we have no idea of what their lives have been like.
When I “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” I always end up feeling more compassion and love for them. But I can also take the short cut and just stop my judgements, and when I do, I now am meeting them at a higher level of being within myself; a place where no one is judged as “worthy” or “unworthy”…a place where everyone is worthy, infinitely worthy, of Love.
“The world cannot change until you change your conception of it. ‘As within so without.’ Nations as well as people are only what you believe them to be. No matter what the problem is, no matter where it is, no matter whom it concerns, you have no one to change but yourself…” Neville Goddard from, Feeling is the Secret, pubished in 1966