Shoes that fit

My mother often said… ‘If the shoe fits, wear it’. She used it in a number of circumstances but importantly to highlight that if you choose shoes that don’t fit, you’re going to come to grief.

Consider: you borrow shoes or buy some that are not quite the right size. You might be able to fake it for a time and even look amazing but your discomfort will declare itself eventually.

As women we totally rock at trying to wear the wrong shoes. We habitually look at other women, some are strangers the street, some are in our friend group, some are family members or colleagues. We look at them and play the comparison game. It’s a deadly game of ‘how do I rate?’

You see, when we compare ourselves to other women, we come away feeling either pretty special or an epic disappointment. It depends on who we compare ourselves with as to how we rate. Playing the comparison game can have us feeling pretty smug because ‘at least we’re not like her’ or it can cause us no end of hurt because we’re punishing ourselves trying to be at least as good as ‘her’ if not better.

Having made those painful and often destructive and self deprecating  comparisons, we can find ourselves bemoaning  ‘ I should be more like her’. It’s just like putting on shoes that don’t fit. We try to walk someone else’s walk, walk in their shoes as it were, only to discover that after we’ve successfully faked it for a time, discomfort kicks in. Who are we hurting? Ourselves mainly.

We’re not doing our friends or children any favours either with our often harsh self appraisal that just screams, ‘I’m not good enough’. Be assured our daughters are watching us play this game and learning from us how it’s done.

There’s nothing wrong with making observation of how other women do things in their lives, how they parent, run a house, approach  conflict or stress, if we’re looking for inspiration or some wisdom from another’s experience. By all means take a leaf out of someone else’s book  and learn from them, particularly if they do something well. Just be aware of the trap of measuring yourself and your performance against that of others for the purpose of ranking yourself. It’s just destructive.

I once said to a leader, for whom I had great admiration, whose role I was about to take up… ‘I have big shoes to fill’. She wisely replied, “We wear the same size shoes Karen, they’re just different colours.”

Playing the comparison game leaves us assuming roles that aren’t for us, and trying to wear shoes that just don’t fit.

I counsel my teen daughters against exactly that – I really should listen to myself sometimes!

Karen Dickson
MOPS Chair

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