Spoiler Alert: It’s probably NOT a brand new pair of designer stilettos.
When we first started out on this journey to exploring and understanding the end-to-end value of style, image, and the way we view both ourselves and others, we knew we wanted to cover all angles of the body. Not in an intrusive “what’s your weight and size” way, but rather from the perspective of health and how our internal health can affect the way we look.
Mental health is of course a big part of this, and in our Exposé section of the website you will find a multitude of pieces which explore the different areas and elements of wellbeing and how we can use image to finetune the way we feel about ourselves.
But today we want to look a little more closely at the psychological importance of image – more specifically with our feet.
Building a life from the ground up
Your feet are the foundation of everything you do. In our Image lessons and Develograms we talk a lot about first impressions and how to shape the way others view you – and so much of this has to do with the way we stand, move, and react to others. All of this starts with your feet.
For example, if you walk briskly then you are considered busy and motivated. If you walk slowly or drag your feet, then you may be perceived as lazy or unprofessional. If you walk with a bounce in your step, you embody joy and optimism… and so on.
In her book ‘Your Body’s Telling you: Love Yourself!’ Lise Bourbeau says:
“The contribution that your feet make to the physical body is often underestimated […] You are receiving a message from your body that you must let go and move forward joyfully”.
Now, that’s all very well. But rightly so, many of you will be asking about all the ailments, aches and pains that run through our feet when we overwork them. How can we be expected to move forward joyfully when our feet ache from walking around all day? Doesn’t the very essence of reality and constant movement go against what Bourbeau is saying?
Well, that’s where shoes come in. We have said this before and will say it again – you don’t need heels to look good. They are often uncomfortable and cause more damage than you realize – begging the question of whether focussing on image is really important if it means jeopardizing your health.
But are your shoes really jeopardizing your health? Or are those shoes simply making you walk down paths that aren’t quite right for you? Lets’ look at this another way.
The importance of shoes
How many of you wear heels because they make you feel powerful?
How many of you buy expensive gym shoes and running trainers because you feel that if you have the best equipment, you will hit your targets and PB’s more quickly and easily?
More likely than not, you know that those stilettos aren’t helping your feet – but you allow the psychological feeling you get when you wear them, to outweigh the pain that comes at the end of the night. This is a conscious decision, whereby you are putting your emotional need for empowerment over your physical need for comfort.
So, is this behaviour empowering or damaging?
Bourbeau goes on to say that:
“Foot disorders indicate difficulty in finding the means to go forward in life. Either fear is stopping you, or you are feeling impeded by others.”
So, is the foot pain there or not? Do you really feel like taking your shoes off, or do you simply want to step out of the person you become when you wear those shoes?
It all comes back to psychology of image – one of the very first topics we touch on in our i-Image Consultant Develogram, and one of the most crucial lessons that we can teach you. Image will only take you so far, but beyond that you have to make a choice to embody the style that best serves you and your goals.
The longer you pretend to be someone you’re not, the more exhausted you will become – and according to Bourbeau, the more your feet will ache from walking around in the wrong shoes.
What SHOULD you be doing?
Society tells you that heels make you feel empowered. The media, advertising campaigns, and customer reviews will all tell you that ‘these shoes will make you look and feel 100x better’. But they won’t. Looking after your feet – and in turn, your most natural and comfortable style – is what will make you feel better.
If your feet are your foundation, then make shoes your confetti. Choose shoes which serve your goals, but which won’t cause you irreparable damage to your feet or your style in the future. Because once you damage the foundation, the whole thing comes crashing down.