INSPIRATION

Would You Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes??

Lessons on Empathy, Happiness, and Living a Meaningful Life, By Mallory Brown

Mallory Brown joined us at SITE Global Conference 2022 in Dublin, where her Friday morning keynote was a clear audience favorite. Enjoy this introduction to Mallory and her work, if you were unable to join us in Dublin, or rediscover her three steps to embracing empathy by stepping into others’ shoes.

As a documentary filmmaker, I have had the honor of capturing stories of human kindness across our globe. In all my humanitarian efforts, I have been most deeply moved by the stories of impoverished women fighting for a better life. Perhaps it’s my own feminine instinct, but I see myself in each of their eyes. 

In parallel, I’m equally fascinated by human connection. I’ve spent my fair share of time in the self-help section of bookstores reading about mindset, fear, love, and abundance. I’ve spent countless hours over countless glasses of wine talking to friends about the isolation, loneliness, and dissatisfaction that seem to permeate throughout our society. 

Through all of my work, I’ve learned that empathy is the missing link in our world.

Empathy is the capacity to understand the feelings of another. It is most famously explained in the American proverb, “Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Following this theme of stepping into another’s shoes, I created a documentary series to explore the power of empathy.

“Walk A Mile” is a 26-part documentary series about women’s empowerment and empathy. In each episode, I personally walk with an impoverished woman who is trying to pull her family out of poverty. 26 miles. 26 women. 26 stories of strength. Every episode benefits a local charity that is working on a grassroots level to empower women.

Watch “Walk A Mile” here.

Walking one mile with each of these women is such a simple act but provides an incredible avenue for empathy. It breaks down barriers between cultures and joins people together based on our commonalities. This is a walk of compassion, understanding, and generosity.  

I have learned that living an empathetic life leads to happiness, fulfillment, and inner peace. The connectedness of people is what keeps us sane. In our current world, so many suffer from mental illness and depression. I would argue that in addition to meditation, exercise, and healthy habits, giving is a valid form of therapy. A small act of kindness will make your day (not to mention help someone else.)

After watching an episode of “Walk A Mile,” I hope that you feel a call to arms. I hope you sense an opportunity for human connection, for kindness, for philanthropy, and fulfillment. I hope you donate, even a small amount, to help a woman in need. And mostly, I hope that you discover your own journey of empathy.

Courtesy of Mallory Brown

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Here’s a simple process to help you step into someone else’s shoes:

  1. Burst your own bubble. The routine of daily life gets us caught up in our own bubble. It happens to everyone. The key is recognizing the bubble you live in and making a conscious effort to burst it. Break your routine. Get out of your comfort zone. See the world as it exists for others. 
  2. See the person, not the problem. When facing adversity, often we focus too much on the issue. The problem” grabs all our attention. Instead, if we search for the people involved (who is affected? who can help?), we’ll discover solutions rooted in kindness and humanity.
  3. Little by little, one travels far. Big change in the world comes in small steps. Often we set huge goals — to feed the hungry, to disrupt an industry, to save the planet. However, these are overwhelming. Instead, try to create change “one at a time”: one person at a time, one conversation at a time, one step at a time.

Who is one person you can help today? Go walk a mile in their shoes. Show empathy toward them. You will impact their life in a positive way and find a great sense of fulfillment in your own. I promise, it will be the walk of a lifetime.

To learn more about Mallory or Walk A Mile, visit www.TravelMal.com

Written by

SITE Staff

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