Walk A Mile In Their Shoes

“Walk A Mile In My Shoes” by singer-songwriter Joe South (1970) encapsulates what it means to have empathy. It’s a tremendous song. Give it a listen Here. Lyrics reprinted below.

If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each others mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you’d be
I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind

Walk a mile in my shoes
Just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes

Now if we spend the day
Throwing stones at one another
Cause I don’t think, ’cause I don’t think
Or wear my hair the same way you do
Well, I may be common people
But I’m your brother
And when you strike out
You’re trying to hurt me
It’s hurting you, lord how mercy

Now there are people on reservations
And out in the ghetto
And brother there, but, for the grace of god
Go you and I,
If I only had wings of a little angel
Don’t you know, I’d fly
To the top of a mountain
And then I’d cry, cry, cry

A major reason we make and consume art is to engender empathy for the full human condition. What a privilege we have as actors (and writers) that our job allows us to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Let us learn from and become better people as a result of all those walks.

P.S. – Elvis Presley did a great cover of the song. Listen Here.

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