Take A Walk In My Shoes

When you look at me what do you see?

You don’t know what I’m going through because I don’t show a lot of emotion. You don’t know how I feel because I won’t tell just anyone. You can’t even imagine the pain that I might be feeling because I smile through most everything. And yet, you think it’s completely okay for you to judge me.

Before you start pointing fingers at me, take a moment to think about what your hands have done. You know that your thoughts and actions have been flawed too, and you’ve probably made just as many mistakes in life as I have. But we’re all on different paths, struggling to make it through the world and trying to find that peace of mind we all crave.

If you walked in my shoes for a day, you might learn a little of the heartache that I deal with. We all have our own ways to cope, don’t ridicule mine. Those heartbreaking relationships and failed promises from the people I trusted were the very things that changed me. I can proudly say that I am much stronger now, and I don’t need your judgment, your opinion, or your sympathy. Just let me live and let me be happy.

I couldn’t possibly tell you how many times I have heard someone say to me, ”you don’t look like you have cancer” after learning of my condition. I don’t think people believe me or even take me seriously at times because I look so “normal” and healthy. Most people have the perception that someone with cancer will always look a certain way. But what I have learned and want to emphasize through this post is that cancer doesn’t look the same on everyone. It’s not a “one size fits all” disease. The common mis-perception is that people with cancer are all bald, and perhaps sickly looking. And while this may be true for a lot of cancer patients, it is not true for all.

Many things can only be understood by another woman who has walked in your shoes, before you. Our loved ones do their best, but it is important to find someone who has had breast cancer and is willing to encourage and talk with you. Caution: be sure this person is ready to focus on you and isn’t still in the throes of her own cancer.

You may think judging me reinforces your self-worth. It diminishes it because you establish yourself as a critic. The most influential people are connectors, leaders and influencers. Step off the judgement treadmill and channel your opinions toward something that serves others, instead of hinders them.

Mentoring is teaching what you have been taught so you can train others. God does not let things happen in our lives just for our own character building, even though that is an important part of it. He is going to out someone else in our path with a similar situation, and he asks us to reach out, step out, and speak out what we’ve been taught to help other sisters in need.

Mentoring is simply sharing those “been there…done that” experiences. With God’s help you made it through, and she can too!

As mom’s, wives, employees, housekeepers, cooks, and all the other many hats we twenty-first century women wear, we often think no one can replace us. Certainly, we are the ones who set the pace, run the home, finances and carpooling. Suddenly, both the family and you must adjust to you’re not doing what you have been capably did for years.

In the past if I was tired during the day or evening, I would just drink a cup of coffee and then plow through, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. With breast cancer, I tried my darnedest, but that all stopped. Now, when I’m tired my body literally shuts down…I have turn off the lights and just lay down. No one expects us to be superwoman through this, except ourselves. The more we physically and emotionally pamper ourselves, the more quickly our old self is going to return. Well, maybe not the same old self, but a newer version of us.

Let me give you some very sound advise…now is the time for everything to be about you. When you body says take a nap, don’t push through it. Stop and rest. Our bodies are designed to regulate us. God made little warning signs to alert us when it’s time to sleep, eat, exercise, recreate, be alone, or be with people.

I think sometimes we all avoid engaging in empathy for others who are suffering partially because taking on someone else’s burdens could be unpleasant. On the other hand, it seems a much better way to proceed is if it’s possible to show empathy simply by acknowledging another person’s feelings without it being aversive.

Don’t judge me to feel better about yourself while I’m forced to look inferior. I don’t want your judgement nor your sympathy.

If you can’t be considerate, hold your opinions to yourself. Better still, attend to that part of you that feels obliged to criticise me.

I am not one to keep my mouth shut if you decide to treat me like trash. I have been silenced most of my childhood through my young adult life. I will not allow anyone to treat me like that again. I was so used to just being seen and not heard, and if I was, all hell would break loose on me. Not anymore! I have a voice and I am not afraid to use it. I may be the kindest person you’ve ever met, but don’t take my kindness for granite or weakness.

Judging others creates distance between us, which leads to isolation. The world cries out for unity not separation. You are not perfect and neither am I.

Do not judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.

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