Mockingbird: The Love Diary

First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (To Kill A Mocking Bird)

Atticus’ advice “to climb into someone’s skin and walk around in it” is a little more Silence of the Lambs than the typical advice to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, but the idea is the same: compassion is based on sympathy, on being able to put yourself in the other person’s place and understand why they act the way they do even if you don’t agree with it.

This morning I was reminded of understanding others’ perspectives, but there is a line. A line of sanity as well. For in reality, understanding others’ perspectives in love – isn’t about how much pain you can tolerate from the other but rather the act of compassion, compromise, and communication from both. When that subsides even on one side – love has existed the building. Relationship is over. After that you can try to climb into someone’s skin and walk around in it – but it is simply a meaningless waste of time and energy.

And as for those who exit a relationship on their own terms, a little bit of integrity perhaps? Less attention seeking and more independence? To look a little less pathetic if nothing else? So when you see your ex (one you broke up with, your choice) walking down the street on a sunny afternoon with her best friend – try not to cough to catch her attention as you bike by (pure narcissistic move), nor send back stuff (that has zero worth attached) to manipulate remembrance. Do some beer yoga and get over it.

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