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?

Well, I find really difficult to stay silent about discrimination, and doing something against it helps me to channel my energy into something helpful, while maintaining some kind of mental balance.

The way I see it, there is an obvious lack of knowledge and understanding of the world we live in behind discrimination. I do believe that our education should never ever stop and that the education system has never been enough, it clearly fails at educating us in many ways, mostly when it comes to our emotional world, and knowing and understanding more can only help and will never harm. So I guess that's it, deep down, I just want to help people to understand more about others while I try and understand more about them, by listening to people's experiences, beliefs, issues, ...

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 the people 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 a lot 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, question them and publish what they say so others can read them. By reading how they feel and perceive things, I believe that the readers can develop more empathy and understanding of others.

The other thing I love about this idea is that, for those who will contribute by sharing their experiences, talking openly about ourselves in the most vulnerable way, while knowing that others will read what we feel, 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?

The Myers-Briggs personality test says I'm an advocate. Ah! What else... 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 and listening to our/people's emotions. Apart from that, I'm just some guy, really...

Would you like to participate?

I would like to hear from all kinds 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 millionaires, feminists and sexists, people of any race and ethnies and racists and xenophobes, 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 in the world (if that really is a thing?), who lived in many different countries with 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, gang members, 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 contribution

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. Overall, take a minute before you start to try to structure what you want to write, so it will be easier for your readers to understand what happened to you, how you felt, your needs, ...

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 contribution. 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 contribution 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 contribution to be published in your book (if there's one someday)
I consent for my contribution to be published on the social media accounts of the project (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 contribution 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, your shoes, ...)

Read the contributions

I publish the contributions 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 contributions here on the website.

How can you help?

By sharing this project!

That would truly be the most helpful thing, if you can share it on social media, send it to a friend or someone you know who might be interested in reading or participating in it, if you can write an article about it on your own website or anything... that would all be so helpful and encouraging! 😊

How to follow the project?

You can follow the project on Instagram and read the contributions while I'm gathering them and be informed when/if the book will be out. 😊

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