In the shoes of others

For more empathy and less discrimination

Empathy /ˈɛmpəθi/ noun:
The ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation.
(Definition from the Cambridge Dictionary)

What would you like people to understand about you?

This is the question I want to ask people, and gather their answers for others to read them.

Why am I doing this?

For some of us, it's too difficult not to do or say anything about certain issues. To me, discrimination sounds like a lack of knowledge and understanding of the world that we live in. And the way I see things, our education should never ever stop. The education system isn't enough, and clearly fails at educating us in many ways anyway. Knowing more and understanding more can only help and will never harm. So I guess that's it, deep down, I just want to help.

Some time ago, I remembered an interview of a personality telling how society made him homophobic, until he discovered that his cousin was gay and that in short, because he was close to a person that suddenly he knew was gay, started to reconsider his beliefs. This might sound so simple and it is, a lot of discrimination happens because/when we don't know enough who we discriminate. And of course, the same applies with all forms of discrimination, whether it's based on race, gender, status, age, disability, ...

This is also inspired by a video of Byron Katie on terrorism. Byron Katie has developed an impressively efficient technique to deconstruct our judgments and beliefs. In this video, she helps a person who is angry at the terrorists of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris to see things from the point of view of the terrorists; the person realizes that the terrorists simply have a different and totally understandable idea of how to reach peace and starts to understand them and the actual facts with much more clarity.

Realistically, and despite the thousands of other humans we might meet during our lifetime, very few people will have the chance to meet and hear what an imam has to say, as well as a prisoner, a refugee, a porn actor and a military. I want to meet this whole range of beautiful humans and collect their stories so others can read them. By reading those stories, I believe that the readers can develop more empathy and understanding for others.

The other thing I love about this idea is that, for those who will contribute by sharing their story, talking openly about ourselves in the most vulnerable way, while knowing that others will read what we wrote, can actually be an incredibly efficient therapeutic/healing thing to do!

This is still a "work in progress" idea, it might evolve along the line, and I hope you will find it interesting too!

Who am I?

It would be fair to say that discrimination, even before I knew that an actual word for it existed, has always been something I've felt uncomfortable with. According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, I'm an advocate. You got the idea!

Sure thing, I've got a rare curiosity for a lot of very different things (including humans) as well as a genuine belief in the power of empathy. Apart from that, I'm just some guy really...

Would you like to participate?

You got it already, I would like to hear from all kind of people: activists of all types, people who have been rejected by their families and people with the most amazing and healthy family, refugees, priests, imams, sikhs and people who don't believe in any gods, sole mothers, therapists, people who experience paranoia, people with a very high IQ, world travelers and people who have never left their country, homeless people and billionaires, feminists and sexists, people of any race and ethnies and racists, polyamorous people, prisoners, yogis and buddhist monks who spent most of their lives meditating in a temple away from the modern world, sex workers, people with one or several mental/physical disabilities or disorders, new parents, vegans and pro-meat eaters, twins, psychopaths, incels, undertakers and people with addictions, very old people, workaholic, victims of sexism and racism and hate crimes and rapes, hippies, sailors, people who are part of the BDSM/kink scene, war veterans, extro/ambi/introverts, people with OCD, transgender, non-binary and agender or gender fluid people, homosexual and pan/bisexual people and homophobic ones, people who took drugs, who are bipolar or mute, the most normal person (if that really is a thing?) in the world, who lived in many different countries of very different cultures, blind and deaf people, dwarfs, autistic people, people who committed crimes, people with the most unusual professions, people who grew up with a single parent or parents of the same sex or have been adopted, artists who struggle or who are successful, punks and thugs, hikikomori, drag queens, people who experienced depression, who found love, people with ADHD or ADD, people who are very isolated, who grew up in a very toxic/broken environment, people with AIDS, people who lost their lovers or children, people suffering from anxiety or PTSD, people who cross-dress, people who meditate every day, people who practice tantric sex and people who struggle with their sexual life, fashion victims and people who don't care at all about how they look, astronauts, social workers, firefighters, people who are about to die or who almost died, ...

If you feel like sharing your experience, please feel free to! And/or if you know someone who you think could have something interesting to share, please help by sharing this page!

Share your story

Here is the form!

It can be intimidating to talk about ourselves and some of us might feel a bit stuck on how to start. Perhaps you want to try to use the WWWWH technique; think about the When, Where, Why, Who and How of the part of your experience that you would like to share.

If there are different aspects/experiences of your life that you would like to share, for instance if you want to talk about your experience as an adopted child as well as being allergic to flour and being polyamorous, please do!
Perhaps you want to separate these three topics and treat them one by one, even though one might be linked to another at some point. It's all up to you, no need to think too much about it.

I invite you to take all the time you need to write your story. Write it outside of this page first and take several days for it if you need to read yourself again before you publish it. Please make it meaningful for others by including any relevant information so the readers can understand the context (it can be your age, the environment you grew up in, where you live, ...) when reading your experience, and to maybe let aside what might be too irrelevant. Without exaggerating your feelings or what happened, please be vulnerable, open your heart and be the person you truly are, with the entirety of your very own feelings; you are perfectly fine just the way you are and the readers really want to understand the most genuine you! 🙂

Feeling ready for it? Here we go!

Your story can be as long as you want, whatever it fits in the half of a page or 20 pages. If you are unsure about anything, don't hesitate to use the form to just contact me and ask any question beforehand if you feel more comfortable this way, I will of course be very happy to answer you!

I consent for my story to be published in your book (if there's one someday)
I consent for a part of my story to be published on the social media accounts (if you want me to tag you on it when publishing, please let me know!)
Attach a picture of me with the part of my story published on social media (it can also be just a part of you such as your hand, one of your eyes, a picture of you from the back, ...)

Read the stories

I publish the stories I gather on Instagram, where I encourage you to follow the project to read them whenever I add some more. You can also read all the stories here on the website.

How to follow the project?

You can follow the project on the usual social media, Instagram being the most active one. There, you can read the stories while I'm gathering them and be informed if/when the book will be out. 😊

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