The Shoes Don’t Matter

Last week a group of dance friends was talking about the weekend’s upcoming Fall Ball, the big dance event of the season, held in a lovely grand ballroom with a wonderful and rare large dance floor.  One friend really wanted to go, but said she really wasn’t sure she would.  Her reason was a broken toe, and actually not so much the toe – it was healing really well and she could dance. The problem was she couldn’t put on a pair of shoes that didn’t put pressure on just the wrong spot.  So she could go and dance, but she couldn’t wear shoes.
In her mind, the venue and the event had a measure of decorum, certain expectations of behavior and dress, which of course included wearing shoes. She was concerned -“What will people think?”  Of course, all her friends jumped in and told her it didn’t matter. Several offered her helpful solutions and disguises, but in the end – she still wouldn’t be wearing shoes.
And yes, some people would notice. Some would think it was inappropriate and some may even chatter about it. What about you - have you ever hesitated to do something because of what others might think?  Put it into perspective.
When you think about your life, what will you regret more, the things you didn’t do or the things you did, but that someone might have criticized?
Life’s too short for that! You’ve got one life, live it the way you want to – with shoes or not!
And if you find yourself sometimes on the other side of that story – maybe mumbling some snarky comment when you see someone “not wearing shoes,” I’d like to share a story I heard several years ago that was really transformational for me.   
The story goes something like this:
There was a man on the subway with four young children.  He was sitting numb-like while his children were misbehaving and acting out.  A fellow rider was disgusted and said to him “Can’t you control them?”  The dejected father apologized for his children’s behavior and felt he needed further explanation, telling his fellow passenger that they were coming from the hospital where his wife had just died. They hadn’t had much sleep, the kids really didn’t understand what had happened….
I’m sure I need not say more. That story really struck me and stuck with me. When I think about questioning or criticizing another, it often pops into my mind. Yes, this story is extreme, but the reality is we don’t know all that’s going on in someone else’s life, whether it’s a broken toe or a deceased spouse. 
So instead of judging, let’s try some compassion.  There are lots of benefits – we live the way we want to and let others do the same. 
Wishing you compassion,