New Holiday: Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes Day

New Holiday: Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes Day
Image from Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts.

In September 2013, as part of my personal challenge to have 100 new experiences, I created a holiday, International Stay In Bed and Read a Book Day. As you can imagine, it’s become very popular and is celebrated worldwide.

Fourteen months later, I’ve decided that it’s time for another new holiday.

Therefore, I hereby declare the day before Thanksgiving to be Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes Day. It will be effective immediately, thus making tomorrow, Wednesday, November 26, 2014, the first Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes Day.

On this day, pick out someone you’ve judged or made assumptions about in the past. You might know the person, but you might also choose someone you’ve only met or seen once. Maybe it’s someone you saw in the grocery store buying “inappropriate foods” with their food stamps. Maybe it’s the homeless guy on the street you never make eye contact with because you just know he’s an addicted loser. Maybe it’s the woman you believe has it all together and lives a dream life. Maybe it’s a teacher you think has it easy because she only works 180 days a year and has a 3-month paid vacation in the summer. Maybe it’s the man who’s climbed the ladder quickly and everyone says is a huge kiss-ass. Maybe it’s someone of another race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Whomever you choose, it’s your job to get to really know that person and learn about his or her life. Ask open-ended questions and listen to the answers. You are not allowed to be thinking about your next question, while the other person is talking. Rather than judging and making assumptions about the other person’s life, be fully present and see things from someone else’s point of view, experience their hardships and victories, and generally understand what it’s like to be him or her.

Understand how and why he is where he is in life. Ask yourself, could her story be your story? Is there anything you’re doing to make that person’s journey more difficult? What can you do to help that person’s life be easier? What lessons can you learn about yourself?

We all wear a game face and expect others to do so as well, but those game faces cause us all to make incorrect assumptions. On Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes Day, you’ll get beyond the game faces of the people you meet. If you do it right, you’ll get to know the real person underneath and even learn a thing or two about yourself. You’ll learn how to not jump to quick conclusions about people you know and people you don’t know. The more you practice Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes, you’ll begin instantly seeing past the facade and connecting with the real person, if only for an instant.

Will you join me in celebrating Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes Day?

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This post is part of the monthly ChicagoNow Blogapalooz-Hour challenge where all CN bloggers have one hour to write about a topic our fearless leader, Jimmy Greenfield, assigns to the group. We learn of the topic via email at 9:00 p.m. and have to be done by 10:00 p.m.

Hey all,

Welcome to ChicagoNow’s Blogapalooz-Hour!

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to publish a post in one hour. Here is tonight’s challenge:

“Create a new holiday, or holidays, that you believe should exist.”

This can be about anything and take place anywhere, it can be another traditional holiday, a food holiday, Congressional gridlock holiday, metaphysical holiday, Bieber holiday, world holiday, whatever you can conceive. It can be one holiday that you go into a great amount of detail about, or a list of five to 10 holidays with briefer descriptions.

The point of this exercise is to do it no matter what so don’t bail. Be creative, enjoy the process. Use words, images or video. Whatever you need to tell your story.

Be aware of the time. No matter when you finish, please wait until 10 p.m. to publish. Above all, please respect the deadline.

You have one hour.

Go.

Want to read all the posts from November’s Blogapalooz-Hour? Check out the Storify.

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    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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