The (Unnecessary) Agony of the Feet

03/20/2015 11:26 am ET | Updated May 20, 2015

It's nearly spring, and like the New Hampshire landscape, my favorite wool clogs have gotten pretty ragged.

After wearing the same shoes for four winters in a row, I finally developed a hole in one.

Which is awesome for golf.

But not so much for shoes.

So I went and did my least favorite kind of shopping: shoe shopping.

It's not that I don't like shoes. Actually I love shoes. And there are, like, a million cute pairs out there that I'd love to take home.

But inevitably, I leave the shoe store feeling frustrated and frumpy...

Because nothing's comfortable anymore, and nothing seems to fit. Nothing except for super blocky shoes, thongs, or those heavy Danskos that weigh 10 pounds each.

So back to my recent footwear expedition...

I'd tried on a dozen pair of shoes, all of them tight and pinchy, when I happened upon a little section of clearance items...

Odd-colored shoes. Weird designs. Very large and very small sizes. And four boxes of shoes labeled "wide."


I slipped on a pair of wides. And although they were a half size too big, my feet almost cried tears of joy. Yes, my feet almost cried.


"Wide" was the missing piece.

No pinch. Plenty of room. These shoes felt almost like slippers, and they were neither blocky, nor thongy.

So of course I bought them.

Now I don't mean to say I had never considered wide shoes before...

But I hadn't really bought wide shoes before. Because the wide shoe selection is fairly limited in your typical shoe store.

For years, I'd been making do. Finding that occasional pair of shoes that didn't feel incredibly good, but that didn't kill my feet, either.

I accepted what I saw as my options, but somewhere along the line I started to believe something was wrong with ME. In fact, I'd just been putting on the wrong kind of shoes.

I'd been accepting the easy options -- the ones right in front of me -- telling myself that that was "all there was." Because I didn't want to spend the money to order shoes online. Because I didn't trust myself to the right pair from a website. Because I wanted to sulk about the fact that, "Shoes never fit me!"

Well guess what? No more.

I've reached my boiling point. I've wasted money on one too many pairs of shoes that could only be worn for an hour at a time, or only to some meeting where I'd mostly be sitting.

The truth? There's a world of cute shoes out there that aren't pinchy, blocky, or heavy... That are comfortable, and fit me perfectly.

And it's not even hard to find that world, to be honest. Zappos? They've got hundreds of choices that'll work. And that's just one place.

So here's the lesson...

Suffering, like pinchy shoes, is optional.

Solutions abound, if only we open our eyes and stretch just a bit beyond the status quo.

Spaciousness is possible where we feel constricted and pinched.
Joy and fun are possible where we feel heavy and tired.
Comfort is possible where we feel pain.

We just have to look a little deeper. Just a little. It's all there, waiting for us.

So will you take that step, and look a little farther?

Where can you love yourself more, and force yourself less?
Where can you stop squeezing yourself to fit, and finally just be?