Criticism and shoes

There’s a saying in English that goes something like this: “don’t criticise someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”. A corollary that’s sometimes added is: “If they don’t like your criticism, you’ll be a mile away and you’ll have their shoes”.

Aislinn Thomas, whose blog, In Your shoes, describes how she puts this saying into practice by actually wearing other people’s shoes for a day, is looking for equivalents of this phrase in other languages. Can you help?

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This entry was posted in Language, Translation, Words and phrases.

5 Responses to Criticism and shoes

  1. anònim says:

    In Catalan: «posar-se en la pell de l’altre», literally «putting yourself into someone else’s skin».

  2. In Italian it is mettersi nei panni di un altro (lit. “to put oneself in someone else’s clothes”).

    Example: che faresti nei miei panni? which means “what would you do if you were in my shoes?”.

  3. BG says:

    This reminds me of a book I read in sixth grade called “Walk Two Moons” which contains the quote: “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” This seems very similar to “don’t criticise someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” This was a pretty moving book.

  4. Hebrew seems less picturesque in this matter: the commonly used equivalent is ‘al tadún et xaverxá ad še tagía li mkomó’ (אל תדון את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו): don’t judge your friend until you will stand (lit. ‘reach-’) in his place.

  5. I also read Walk Two Moons a number of years ago and was really touched by it. Another phrase in that book that was really lovely was, “you can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.”
    Thank you for all the related proverbs! I’ve been very curious about this subject.