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Stepping Into Someone’s Shoes

You will know from the ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blogs that the series of questions usually invites readers to look at the conflict from the other person’s viewpoint, as well as their own. It is a typical approach for helping people understand the full picture of conflict situations, including their contribution to the dynamic.

The phrase stepping into someone’s shoes – the subject of this week’s blog – is commonly used to describe a way to envision the situation from the other person’s perspective. As one source said, “only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches”.

I have always liked the folk wisdom in the expression stepping into someone’s shoes. However, when I thought about it more, I smiled as I imagined myself stepping into fancy high heels (since I don’t usually wear them), or shoes too big for me, ones that are too small, styles that typically make me cringe or laugh, men’s footwear, and other sorts of shoes that you will not find me wearing!

This all became fodder for today’s blog that invites you to consider a conflict situation in which you may not have a full grasp of where the other person is coming from. Stepping into her or his shoes – and your own too – in a metaphoric way may be a fitting (excuse the pun) way to consider the dynamic.

  • Standing in your own shoes, what is your perspective on what happened in that situation you have in mind?
  • What, if anything, about your version are you most uncomfortable conveying? Why is that? What else does not fit exactly right? Why is that?
  • Standing in the other person’s shoes, how would she or he explain what happened?
  • What did the other person specifically say or do in the conflict that resulted in you feeling a pinch?
  • If you stepped into the other person’s shoes, what may you experience as a pinch as a result of what you said or did?
  • How do you describe the other person’s shoes as you attempt to step in them?
  • What fits about them? What doesn’t?
  • If you asked the other person to step into your shoes, what would you like her or him to feel?
  • What may fit well for her or him? What may not?
  • What is different about the other person’s shoes that you can accept anyway? What do you want her or him to accept about yours?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

This entry was posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Perceptions, Empathy, Metaphors. Bookmark the permalink.

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