It’s Saturday night, and after a long week of work I’m getting ready for a night on the town. I imagine my routine looks similar to most other women—the hair, makeup, that perfect outfit. And just like I’ve seen on TV a million times before, there comes that moment when our leading lady slips into their favorite heels to complete their outfit. I’m thinking, Yes! I’m thirty, I’m flirty; I can wear heels. …And then halfway through the night I have blisters on my ankles, my toes are squished, and I’m begging my strongest friend to carry me so I don’t have to walk anymore.
The honest truth is: I have never been able to wear heels. But to me, they aren’t just high heels; they are symbolic of the woman I could be: confident, assertive, adored, witty, sexy. All those things women typically desire—but I thought, without the heels, no one will notice me. They GIVE me the power. So I convinced myself that in order to be the woman I wanted to be, I would have to wear the heels, feet be damned.
But it’s not until I’ve walked what felt like miles and then the heel breaks and I’m floundering around, trying not to trip over my own feet that I suddenly realize I don’t feel confident, assertive, or sexy anymore. As I limped down the road to find a new, comfier pair of shoes (probably some flip flops that cost a hell of a lot less than those broken heels), I began to question the magic of those heels. How can I rely on something so easily broken to give me confidence? Is suffering through the painful reality of wearing heels to give me this intangible boost to my ego really worth it? I sat down and thought about it and realized:
I am already confident: I have colleagues and friends who regularly ask for my opinion because I have hard-earned knowledge, skills, and abilities that they admire.
I am already assertive: I always try to ask thought-provoking questions when I’m in meetings, and if I’m in a situation where I feel it’s important to express my view or feelings, I do so without hesitation.
I am already adored: I have a wide variety of friends, mentors, co-workers, teammates, and family members who appreciate me, support me, and love me for who I am (with or without the heels!).
I am already witty: I have a sense of humor and try to see the positive in most situations, and I know I can make people laugh.
I am already sexy: You better believe I can rock a good pair of flats any day!
I know, for me, I am usually my own worst critic. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly critical, I’ll seek out someone I trust and have an open conversation with them about my strengths and weaknesses. All too often I’ll realize I wasn’t giving myself enough credit. Here’s my advice: Start to adore yourself as others do, and remember that with self-reflection and some hard work, you can be whomever you want to be…wearing any kind of shoes!
So maybe I’ll never be able to really wear heels, but that’s okay, because I don’t need the “magic heels”. I can be whoever I want to be.