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“She remembered how she was and the game changed.” ~ Lalah Delia

Do you wear a size six? I do. It’s one of the hardest shoe sizes to find, especially if I’m looking for a size six narrow, so my heel doesn’t slip out. Also, don’t let me have to wear a heel because then I push a 5 ½ depending on fit and style. The shoe shopping struggle is real and I hate when I love a shoe but it doesn’t come in my size. This results in me spending a long time (hours) shoe shopping. When I’m shopping for my shoes I first look at the style, second the size and then lastly, being able to walk in them.

After all the time and effort put into choosing the perfect pair, do you think I’ll let anyone else wear them? Umm… No, I don’t think so. The shoes will get many compliments and I’m happy to share where I bought them, but give away my personal pair, never. My sister likes to try on my shoes, but inevitably as she is a size eight, it doesn’t end well. She didn’t pick it out, try them on, and carefully maintain them afterward, I did.

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Now apply this shoe-picking method to you. The shoes we adore, we pick out with care and consideration. Just as no one can wear my shoes the way I do, no one can be me—better than me. Likewise, no one can do you like you. No one else lives your life, has your intentions, or literally walks in your shoes. You choose how you carry yourself and how you present yourself to the world. You develop your character and decide on your principles, standards, and values.

Many of us have people we look up to, celebrities or other individuals we idolize, but the reality is that we are not them, and they are not us. I cannot fit in Tyra Banks’ role, nor she in mine, though I can still admire her talent and the things she accomplished. It is great to respect others and want to follow their examples. They give us inspiration for the kind of person we want to be. Still, we have to stay genuine. How do we do that? Start by wearing your own shoes.

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Get comfortable with yourself

Walking around in shoes that don’t fit is painful! Not only does it doe do damage to your feet, but it can also affect your posture. The discomfort and lack of fit become obvious. That is why it is important to spend time trying on shoes and walking in them to make sure they’re comfortable. Similarly, spending some time with yourself is an excellent way to find out what works for you. This is where “me time” and time alone becomes invaluable.

Discover what you genuinely like and don’t like; what is important to you; what drives you. You’ll build up your confidence and self-esteem. Gone will be the days of looking for validation in negative places. The desire to copy or put on a guise will fade the more you become familiar with yourself. When you know who you are, no else can tell you who you are, or make you uncomfortable for not being like others.

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Know what works for you

Clearly, I would look really silly trying to walk around in a size 8 shoe. I might actually kill myself tripping over my own two feet. I also know that 5-inch high heels are not my style. 3-inches and under please with simple color and a little edge. This is what works for me with my shoe game, but for you, this may be different.

Likewise, what works for you in your life is personalized for your journey. We all have different destinations, timings, and modes of arrival. Trying things out is how we learn what works best for us and avoid getting pushed into undesirable situations. Know your potential, know your standards, and know your limits. We are most successful in the areas that light our passion.

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Stick to your choices (just not the bad ones though)

Sometimes we make bold and audacious choices. Just think about the painted neon pumps you’ve hidden in a back corner. It’s perfectly okay though. This choice reveals a little bit of the personality or character that does not get to come to the surface all the time and it’s still you.

Your being is the sum of choices that constantly develops what type of person you are and have yet to become. Embrace your decisions. Recognize your mistakes. Learn and grow from them. Your choices will, eventually, lead you to your destination, be it a dream, career aspiration, or new relationship.

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Be authentic.

I am a fan of tailored and handcrafted shoes. Boutique shops are some of my favorite places. Why? The items are not mass-produced and usually one-of-a-kind. Sure, it’s cool to follow trends, get on top of the latest social inquisition, fit in with the best cliché in school (at work), but there are telltale signs when someone’s heart is not there. Being someone you are not and masquerading with a fake identity does not last forever.

You are not a mass-produced item. You were individually created with a unique personality, purpose, and potential. Try as you may to do or be like everyone else. You may blend in and hide well, but will eventually get lost being fake. Try being you. Taking off the layers to discover what you fit in will be a sigh of relief.

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Wearing your own shoes distinguishes you from everyone else and it is just plain easier. People will recognize you for the characteristics and attributes that uniquely belong to you. It would be impossible to be compared to yourself—when being yourself. So go out, be you, and conquer the world.

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