Metaphorical Shoes

Shoes are a great analogy tool for me. I love shoes. Change is like giving up a favorite pair of old worn out shoes – you just can’t seem to move them to the dumpster even though you know they no longer serve a purpose, they hurt your feet, or you’ve simply grown tired of them. One of the first things I do when going through my shoes is to recognize how many I have collected. My closet is a warehouse for shoes that I  have worn once with a particular outfit; comfy mom shoes that my children are embarrassed to have me wear; high heels that were long ago out of style; tie shoes, buckle shoes, slip-on shoes, and slides. Oh and then there are the boots -direct cousins to shoes in-so-much-as they are considered footwear. Why do I hold on to the orange pumps from 1999? or the Bass browns that have a big mayonnaise stain on them (different story)? or the god-awful red flats that shredded the skin on my feet the day I graduated?

The only answer I can give is that to eliminate a pair of those shoes is to experience change and I am constantly thinking that as soon as I let them go – I will want them back. Purging is good, change is good; but it is unknown. What if I can’t find another pair of orange pumps when I need them? Perhaps I should save the Bass browns for muddy yardwork…

It takes courage to create change in our life; let go of things that are comfortable to us (paradox to uncomfortable shoes) even though we know that we no longer like, need, want, experience joy from, feel good about, etc – that which we hold onto.

Many times our metaphorical shoes are thoughts. We hold onto thoughts that may have, at one time, served a purpose.

  • I have to try harder….
  • I have to save every penny…
  • I have to lie…
  • I can’t make a mistake…
  • I can’t fail…

Problem is, like the 1999 orange pumps, they no longer serve a purpose in my life. Perhaps you had to save every penny to accomplish a goal way back when and developed the ‘thought’ that is now only equivalent to your old gym shoes, just there because you haven’t taken the time to assess if you still need to think that way. Today, you have a good job, savings in the bank, you’re debt free, and contribute to a retirement account; you’re good! You can CHANGE that thought to: “I can budget some fun/vacation/play money into my finances” and then learn to ‘let go’ a little in terms of being tied to the thought “I have to save every penny.”

The same ideology can be applied to defensive thoughts:

  • I can’t trust anyone…
  • People leave me…
  • I’m always alone…

Is that thought that you adopted long ago still prevalent in your mind even though all the circumstances are different? Would those thoughts fit in nicely with the square toe, chunky heeled boots that sit in the back of my closet? Do they belong in the same box as my red graduation shoes; they were a one occasion wonder?

Do an assessment of the metaphorical shoes in your closet and write down the thoughts that need cleaning out because they are out-of-style, outgrown, out-of-date, worn out, uncomfortable, etc.  Then, one by one, be courageous enough to walk them to your metaphorical dumpster and THROW THEM OUT!  Let the Change Begin!

Photo credit: <a href=””>jef safi \ ‘pictosophizing</a> / <a href=””></a&gt; / <a href=””>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

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