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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wortley

The Wrong Shoes

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Correctly fitting shoes have always been a must for me.

I have very little tolerance when it comes to ill-fitting shoes. Spending hours, maybe days wearing something that looks good but causes pain has never really been my thing. I guess I'm most definitely not a slave to fashion. Boots and trainers are my go to footwear with a decent pair of wellies thrown in to suit where I live.

How long can you bear a blister?

The only time I have endured blister upon blister was for charity. I was part of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer weekend that had walkers covering a distance of 60km over two days through London. I trained well and had broken in my trainers. I was ready for the big event, which at the time was yet another way of pushing myself out of my comfort zones. I was so hot that I don't think I noticed the first blisters forming. I was in a rhythm and happy to keep going. It was late on the first day when I noticed the pain in my left foot. I stopped at the next refreshment station and queued up to see the nurse. The longer I stood, the more I became aware of just how painful my feet were. Off came the trainers and I kid you not, the little toe on my left foot was a huge blister. The skin hadn't broken and there was a pocket of fluid surrounded my tiny nail. The nurse lanced the blisters and then dressed my toe after resting it in ice for a short while. Yowser, this little toe was sore. I did have a small blister on my other foot but a blister plaster covered that and kept it from getting worse.

I hobbled my way to the campsite and was very relieved to get my trainers off.

I walked over the finish line the next day in bare feet, having spent the majority of the walk with my trainers around my neck as anything touching my left foot was agony.

Someone else's shoes?

How would you get on wearing someone else's shoes? Imagine they were too big or too tight. Could you wear them for a day? Maybe a week? How about a whole year?

Imagine big shoes flopping around, tripping you up and rubbing your feet raw. Perhaps a pair so tight they almost turn your feet blue. They pinch and squish you toes together so that the toenails dig into your skin causing it to bleed. So if this were the case, how long would you keep these shoes on? Do you really need more than a few seconds to come to the conclusion that you wouldn't tolerate it for very long?

Just what did you expect?

Now we've established that you wouldn't tolerate the pain of ill-fitting shoes, may I ask why are you wearing the ill-fitting characteristics or expectations of other people?

Let me explain.

Some of us grow up wanting to please others, it's called people pleasing. Somewhere, along our life time, we came to believe that if we kept those around us happy they would stand by us and provide the love and support we desire. We may consciously try to be the kind of person that we believe will make them happy. We may take on their religious beliefs or follow the same eating habits. We may dress differently or change what we say around them, choosing to please them rather than voice our own opinion.

If these things are done as compromise and you are still free to be true to your own thoughts and behaviours then that's OK but if you are changing yourself to the point that the true you is rarely seen, then this is a problem.

Trying to be someone you are not is like wearing the wrong shoes. It causes friction which causes pain, emotional pain. When you try to be something your not, especially to please others or at the request of others, you will suffer. Often who you are becomes lost in the pretence and when asked what you really think, you feel unsure. You don't know what you think about this or that, you know only what someone else's opinion is. The more you try to please others the more your true self gets pushed aside and ignored however do not it expect to sit unheard for long. Just like the foot that is crammed into to a far smaller shoe, your true self will make itself noticed by bleeding out someway. You can try to block it out with drink, drugs etc but it WILL demand your attention and unfortunately it could well be in the form of ill mental health. For me, depression was caused by repression and anger whereas the anxiety came from trying to control everything including how other people saw me.

Being true to yourself.

So where do you go from here? Well, if you feel unheard, check in with yourself and see if there are things you do and say that don't really reflect the true you. Learn to speak up in a way that empowers you but is respectful to others. You don't need to tell them they are wrong for being the way they are because for all you know the may be wearing the right shoes for their feet. Be gentle with yourself because the chances are your behaviour is a coping mechanism that developed when you were vulnerable. Learning to trust that your true self is loveable and enough is no easy task but definitely worth doing. You are a valuable human being who deserves to be able to be your authentic self.

Treat your feet to the right shoes!

Much love


N.B being true to yourself is to be taken as someone not meaning harm to others in any way.

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