The wrong shoes.

Imagine you put on a pair of shoes.  They don’t fit quite right.  But you keep wearing them anyway, for whatever reason.  And after a while, your feet begin to hurt.

What do you do?

Maybe you say to yourself, “Huh, these are the wrong shoes.  I thought they were good for me, but I was wrong.  Or maybe I’ve just outgrown them.”

And then you take off the shoes and go barefoot for a while, and then try on other pairs until you find what feels right.

Or maybe. . . you say to yourself, “What’s wrong with me?  My feet are too big.  My arches are too flat.  Maybe if I just tried harder, I could make this work.”

And you wear those shoes for years, suffering.  There is the pain in your body, and the pain in your mind from beating up on yourself.  You feel trapped in those shoes.

Two ways to look at the same situation.

How you see the situation — your perception — informs your choice.

Your choice shapes your life.

For years, I wore the wrong shoes.  Metaphorically speaking.

Relationships that didn’t fit.  Jobs I outgrew or careers that didn’t quite fit.

And I tried really hard to make it work.

And I was the one who stayed, who complained, who created so much of my own suffering just because it did not occur to me to take off the shoes.

I was in a mind-spiral of “There’s something wrong with me,” instead of thinking, “I’m in the wrong shoes.  This isn’t the right situation for me.”

Sometimes it’s better to go barefoot for a while.  Let yourself heal, let your soul breathe.  Stretch out.  Learn to feel again.

There are different ways to get a fresh perspective.

Sometimes people will tell you that you can do better, that you should leave and try your luck elsewhere.  You might believe them.  You might not.

For me, having a meditation practice helped me to see my own ideas about my life situation — both in terms of dating, and career.

And as my perspective began to shift, I began to get this new idea:

Maybe the problem isn’t me.  Maybe I’m not broken or wrong.  Maybe I’m just in the wrong shoes.

It’s obvious, and it wasn’t obvious to me.  And, ok, it’s still kind of me because I’m the one choosing to stay in the shoes.  It’s my responsibility.

But when I realized that I had been choosing to stay, I realized that I could choose to leave.

And I did.

I left a lot of things.

And gained a lot of things.

It bears repeating:

There are different ways to look at the same situation.  Your perception informs your choice.  Your choice shapes your life.  Your power and freedom are in each choice.  What do you see?  What are you choosing?

This is how things can be better without being different.  Change the way you see your world, and your world changes.

One step at a time, friends.  One step.  At. A. Time.

Kim Nicol - meditation and mindfulness coaching

Barefoot on the sand. . . feeling free.

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