When we walk in another’s shoes, we then not only know what that person is experiencing, we are able “to communicate that understanding” with sensitivity to the individual. This is also called empathy. As with self-appreciation, empathy for another is made easier when we learn to tune into our own feelings, accurately label them and identify the reason underlying the emotion.

What matters then is — do I want to understand and do I want to be understood? Both require effort. I must be willing to stretch and make the effort to understand and be understood.

In early January, there was a BBC news report of a German billionaire ending his life because of losses incurred in the global financial crises.  When I read it, I thought if I were a billionaire taking my own life would be the last thing on my mind.  But, I suppose we never know until we have walked in another’s shoes.