Assisting in the cultivating of self-awareness can be akin to magic. And self-awareness is key to accessing empathy. And by key I mean everything. Self-awareness is everything. So I suppose that makes the Restore Us team members, magicians. No one wants to see their own "stuff". It can be challenging; really, really challenging. And those dang comfort zones, so comfy.
The Restore Us Program had the chance to put our skills to the test in the ring. The horse ring. We were lucky enough to pony up with Checkpoint One, a 33 acre horse farm offering equine assisted therapy. The horses are the therapists. And amazing therapists at that. By the end of a few of our workshops it was evident. There was no denying the truth. Horses are empathy police.
Putting yourself in someone else's shoes can be anything but comfy. It can stink and hurt and be frustrating, scary even. Imagine those shoes are a size 12 and you wear a 10. You might have to admit you need some extra socks, some layers to keep your foot from sliding around. And man, you don't want to trip so maybe you need to walk a little slower in those big shoes. You might even lag behind others, lose the race this time, be late. Or suppose the shoes are a 7 and you wear a 9. You would definitely want to take any extra layers off, reveal the true size of your foot. Gosh, what if you haven't exactly tended to those toenails of late. You might have to face the music about your unsightly feet. Expose them completely. And ouch, manipulating into a snug unfamiliar space can be painful and constricting. It can make some people panic, cry, flee. These are all realities, most of which cannot be avoided-if you're truly trying to put yourself in someone else's shoes, that is.