Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do you remember the first pair of shoes that you selected? How much did the shoes cost you?

I can recall the first pair of shoes purchased with own money that I had saved money from working part-time at the local cafeteria. It seems liked so much money, earning thirty dollars or so each week. Yet, after taxes, it was far less than I had expected. Nonetheless, with a little discipline, I saved enough to buy a pair of the most popular style shoe, a suede loafer. The loafers looked like men's shoe: bulky, brown with a flat heal. The wide shoe style did not fit my narrow feet very well. But I had to have a pair. After all, all the cool kids were wearing them. My mother had refused to buy me a pair because they didn't fit my feet or look "becoming on a young lady." So, it was up to me, she said, if I wanted to waste my money on those "clown" shoes. Well, that's exactly what I did. As soon as I could, I bought a pair. I was so proud of myself. I did it, all on my own. I could hardly wait until the next day to wear them to school. However, due to the rain, I had to wait three days before I could safely show off my new suede shoes.

The day finally came, I was wearing my shoes! It was hard walking to school because the shoes kept slipping up and down my heal. By the time I arrive, a blister had started to form. I refused to give up the fight. I limped from class to class, smiling each time my classmates commented on my new shoes. All the while, I couldn't wait to take them off as I slid into my seat upon entering each class. The lunch time hour was the greatest challenge because the new shoes prevented me from joining in our usual game of tag. I just sat and watched. Then, the unthinkable happened, my hot dog with ketchup and mustard slipped out of my hands. Without a moments notice, my new shoes were stained. I could not believe it. My mother had warned me that suede was probably not the best texture for school shoes. At last, she was right! The mess got worst when I tried to wash them off in the girls bathroom. Once wet, the shoes became a dust and dirt magnet. With every step, the shoes became more and more filthy. By the end of the school day, I took the shoes off and walked home barefooted. I felt defeated! I had made not only a bad decision, but a costly choice, too. Too ashamed to admit to my mother that she was right and I was wrong, I hid those loafers in the back of my closet and never wore or spoke of the again (until now).

With every first time event a memory is etched into your long-term memory. The details of that event stick with you, even thirty five years later. As with the memory of the loafers. I can still smell the fresh suede, feel the softness of its texture and recall emotionally my excitement of the purchasing experience. However, I can equally remember the pain of that blister and the shame of not taking my mother's advice. The same is true of other first time events in our life, such as our first kiss, boyfriend, date, intimate relationship, and the first heartbreak. The moral of this story is we should be reminded that we always remember our first of everything. We should be advised to stop and think before we create memories that we don't want to recall later.

Ask yourself how this story can apply to your relationships. Do you sometimes date partners because it is the popular thing to do? Do you take all the factors into consideration before you make your selection? What do you do when you realise that you have made a poor decision? What do you do when a relationship hurts? After the relationship is over, what do you do with those feelings? Those memories? Do you grow from the lessons learned to build stronger relationships in the future?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why do I keep shoes that I won't wear?

Gazing at the bottom of my closet, again, it is obvious that I still have shoes that I haven't worn in years. I question, "Why do I continue to keep shoes that I can't or won't wear anymore?"

I keep some of them up front, so I can see them each day. I have hopes that today will be the day I start wearing them again. I tell myself, "these shoes were too expensive to just sit here in the closet." My favorite $500 pair of "Jimmy Choo's" shoes come to mind. They are beautiful to the eye. They are the perfect accessories to any dress. They are the kind of shoes that draw everyone's attention to my legs and feet. This is a desired effect when you are single with long, firm, brown legs (at any age). So, why don't I wear them more often? The truth is, the extreme arch that is created by the height of the narrow heal, which places all my weight on the balls of my feet, is excruciatingly painful after just 15 minutes of standing. Plainly put, these shoes are made for sitting only! Any other activity, beyond finding your seat, would result in the kind of despair that you can't hide. Consequently, the shoes rarely leave the my closet, and almost never leave out the front door.

Conversely, there are those shoes that I keep in the back of my closet. They are not so attractive, but oh so comfortable. These shoes are most likely to have an odd color or atypical texture. They only match one outfit, and sometimes you have to stretch to make them palatable with that one outfit. The heals are low, the toes are wide and the soles are thick. There is nothing sexy about these shoes. They just feel good. So, why don't I wear them more often? The answer is simple, I want to look as perky as possible. These shoes, conversely, are a dead give away that I am over forty (LOL). Besides, no one under that age was even around when they were for sale in the stores.

So, why can't I separate myself from these shoes? I need to let go of the past, in some cases. I need to come face to face with the fact that I made a poor choice (purchase), in other cases. Either way, I need to remove the clutter in my closet to make room for the new shoes to come. I need to learn from both the good and bad experiences with shoes. I don't need to stop wearing shoes. I just need to be more clear about my motives to buy shoes in the future. Lastly, I need to keep the comfort and the health of my feet at the forefront of all my footwear decisions. Specifically, I need to put my needs first! So, join me in a commitment to throw away all those shoes the you can't or won't wear anymore.

The same evaluation could be made regarding the partners in our lives. Why do we keep partners around that no longer fit our life style? Why can't we stop seeing those partners that hurt us emotionally or otherwise? Why do we keep some memories of past relationships at the forefront of our conversations? Why do we measure our worth based on the aesthetic value or status of our relationships? Why can't we just agree to become more educated shoppers in the future? Are we ready to let go of some of the clutter in our closet, yet?

Why do I have so many shoes?

Each morning I look into my closet and see so many shoes. I wonder where they all came from. Then I quickly remember, each shoe has attached to it a story, an outfit, an event or an emotion. This adds to the difficult choice of what shoe to wear for the day. If it is a fancy shoe, that will exclude it from all my casual outfits. If it is cold or rainy day weather shoe, that will eliminate it from being worn on sunny days. If it reminds me of a negative experience, I might try to avoid it when my spirits are high. On the contrary, I might cling to it, like a security blanket, when I want to feel sorry for myself. Then, there are those shoes, clearly outdated, that remind me of a time when I was young, carefree, and starry eyed. I can't wear them comfortably anymore, as my shoe size has changed with age. Besides, I am certain that the fashion police would surely arrest me before I made it half way down the block. So, I keep them in clear plastic shoe boxes and glaze up at them on the closet shelf from time to time. At last, after thirty minutes of this mental exercise, my watch beckons for a decision if I am going to make it to my next appointment on time. Oh boy...which shoe should I wear? And why do I have so many shoes, again? To tell you the truth, I am a little bit embarrassed to admit the actual number of shoes. Let's suffice it to say, I could go months without wearing the same shoe twice. Let me also admit, there a few shoes that I wish I had left behind in the store. You know what some say, "If the shoe fits, wear it!" While others claim, "I have never met a shoe that I didn't like!" I would like to add to the chorus, "Don't take home every shoe you try on."

Dating and relationships are kind of like the shoes in your closet. Can you identify with any of the "shoe" cliches above? Do you ever wonder where they all came from? Is it true that each relationship memory has attached to it a story, an outfit, an event or an emotion? If true, then how do you decide which relationship ought to be active or non-active in your day to day life? Do you make your decisions based on the weather, the upcoming events, or emotional context clues? Do you hold on too long to relationships that don't fit your current needs, desires, or stage in life? How much time do you spend thinking about your relationships: past, present and future? In which area of your relationship selection do you need guidance? Would you like a "do over" when it comes to your relationship selection history?