Someone else’s shoes

What is it with shoes that they pop up in so many expressions in the English language – particularly someone else’s?

You don’t want to have to fill someone else’s shoes. Well, only those brimming with confidence and ready to dazzle do. Most of us would be daunted by the prospect of being compared to a much admired predecessor. The only thing worse is to have that someone else be your mum or dad. Things get really complicated then, a tangle of emotions: respect, independence, admiration, originality, loyalty, wanting to impress – who exactly?

You don’t wish for the shoe to be on the other foot either. You want things to go one way only: yours. That’s how it’s meant to be. The shoe fits, and you want to wear it.

You don’t very often put yourself in someone else’s shoes. But what if you did? You would see you through their eyes, seeing the benefits and pitfalls they are seeing, making it a whole lot easier to navigate the landscape that separates you. The different perspective could open whole new worlds. You would get much better results from your interactions with people. Sometimes a slightly different result than you had anticipated, but a good one that has also improved your relationship with that person. Of course there are those who play this as a game to outwit their opponent and win, but even facing those guys you are better off playing informed. 

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2 responses to “Someone else’s shoes”

  1. Fish & Bicycles says :

    Awesome exploration of these idioms that we so take for granted.

    I really enjoyed this!

    • kato writes says :

      You know, I spend so much of my time at work trying to make people see that all they should do is step into the other person’s shoes. It really is that simple. Sadly that was what prompted the post.

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