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How to Avoid the Other Shoe Syndrome


We all know about the “other shoe” and how we’re supposed to wait for it to drop.

But what’s that about? Why are we waiting? And what does the Other Shoe Syndrome say about our lives? Is there another way to see things?

First, some history.

As it turns out, the expression “waiting for the other shoe to drop” stems from New York City, aka the Big Apple. (Or, as I like to call it, the Huge Fruit.)

photo: Maria Keays on flickr

photo: Maria Keays on flickr

Back in the late 19th and early 20th Century, the Huge Fruit was bustling with activity. The manufacturing boom was in full force and tons of people had moved to the Fruit to get jobs in factories.

To make room for all these folks, apartments were built to accommodate them. Much like a factory assembly line, the apartments were mechanical in design – each one exactly the same.

This meant that if you lived on a lower floor, someone above you had their bedroom in exactly the same place. It was a common occurrence to hear your neighbor coming home from work and removing their shoes. First one, and then . . .

wait for it. . .

the other.

Thus the Other Shoe Syndrome was born.

photo: JD Hancock on flickr

photo: JD Hancock on flickr

There are two basic assumptions in this expression. The first is that the drop of the second shoe is inevitable.

The other assumption is that the drop of the second shoe is usually something bad.

The other day, I was meditating. At the end of my meditation, all blissed out from alignment with the Divine, I thought about the fact that my life keeps getting better and better.

The minute I thought this, a little fear crept into my awareness.

You guessed it.

Fear of the “other shoe” had come to call.

photo: I_Believe_ on flickr

photo: I_Believe_ on flickr

I was afraid that acknowledging how great things were was going to somehow ruin everything.

Luckily I was in Bliss Land, which gave me access to another perspective. Immediately after the “other shoe” made its appearance, another thought rose to the surface.

Things keep getting better and better because you’re getting better and better at aligning with your true nature, which is the Divine.

The Divine is awesome. It doesn’t get any better than that. So don’t fear, my friend. You’re safe. The only “other shoe” that’s going to drop is the Tap Dance of the Divine, celebrating life in all its glory.

photo: Jim, the Photographer on flickr

photo: Jim, the Photographer on flickr

Take that, Other Shoe Syndrome!

Yes, there are certain things that do follow a predictable order. The sun rises. And then it sets. We wake up. And then we go to sleep. Summer comes. And Fall comes after it.

But this notion that something good is bound to be followed by something bad is made up. Made up by minds that like to create mischief. Minds that have a hard time letting in how great things can be.

I’m not saying “bad” things never happen. We all have challenges. But to say that these challenges must follow anything good is simply not true.

So how do we handle our mischief-making minds? How do we learn to receive good things, especially if we’re not used to it?

To counteract the Other Shoe Syndrome, I recommend one of my favorite practices:


photo: Texas A&M on flickr

photo: Texas A&M on flickr

When other-shoe-itis makes its appearance, you don’t need to minimize how great things are in an effort to hold off anything bad. Instead, you can bask in all the good things in your life. Celebrate the wonderful things that surround you.

The gratitude vibe makes you available to more of the same – which is to say, the Tap Dance of the Divine!

Actually, anything that puts you in greater alignment with the Divine is a great anecdote to the Other Shoe Syndrome.

Like taking a walk. Or going to a movie. Or hanging out with your best friend. Or tap dancing! Whatever makes you feel part of the Life Force, relaxing into the positive flow of existence.

So the next time the Other Shoe Syndrome comes to call, change your focus. Find something to be grateful for.

Then put on your tap shoes and celebrate!

photo: Jim, the Photographer on flickr

photo: Jim, the Photographer on flickr

How do you counteract the Other Shoe Syndrome? Share your comments below!

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20 Responses to How to Avoid the Other Shoe Syndrome

  1. Barbara March 4, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    Thanks Z for this. I sometimes get fearful when things are going well. The old notion that it will not last creeps in. Sometimes accompanied by anxiousness. I first catch myself and breath. This gives me time to stop and think. Then I start to re beer that I have a choice in this and can change my thoughts and this usually does the trick.

    • Z Egloff March 4, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Hi Barbara,

      Wonderful that you can stop and breathe and regroup. Also, you said “re beer” and I think you meant “remember.” But you also might have an advanced technique that I don’t know about! 😉

      Great to hear from you, as always.


      • Barbara March 5, 2014 at 6:31 am #

        Z, a total slip of the finger and the loss if control to my computer on the “re beer”. But now that it’s out there, I may have to explore this more. Love that you share. Barbara

        • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:51 am #

          Just sayin. I think you’re on to a whole new transformational process. 😉

  2. Donna March 4, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Good Morning Z! Your blog this morning was especially excellent. My life has changed since I started being grateful. It began when I got into recovery, and my sponsor had me write 30 things I was grateful for, every day. Your could count things like your Higher Power, your family and recovery every day, but basically it was new things each day. I did this for approx three years, until I no longer needed to write them and and gratitude was an everyday part of my life. A friend of mine once stated (after I had said I was grateful for something), “Your are always grateful for something.” This has lead to a much more positive life.
    Grateful for Z’s blogs,
    Love and blessings,

    • Z Egloff March 4, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Hi Donna,

      Wow – what an excellent practice. 30 things a day is like a gratitude saturation. And what a great thing to be saturated with. I love that you say that this practice resulted in having gratitude just being part of who you are. And how wonderful to have friends to reflect the practice back to you. I am grateful for you!! :)


  3. Aloha Lani March 4, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Thank you, Z, for a great post!

    It’s been a while since I’ve checked in…
    So grateful to receive your emails.

    When I read 1st part of the title, what came to mind was “Now the shoe is on the other foot.” (i.e. When one experiences what one did to another, now being done by a new person to oneself. Hmmmn. Was that clear?)

    e.g. When I was in college in a relationship, I wanted to be with my beloved 24/7. Call it infatuation, obsession – at that time, I had no idea of the Divine within me. May the Divine bless him, it drove him nuts that I wanted to be with him so much! (I was so needy, & thought he was the cause of my feeling good. I had no clue that it was my own perceptions that created my experience.)

    Anyway, years later, I got involved with someone who now wants 24/7 from me! I tried explaining how as I live alone, I am used to spending a lot of time alone, & that I don’t do well 24/7. On the one hand, I believed people could be together for long periods of time & do well. On the other, I was really accustomed to not having to interact with another that much.

    Against my better judgment, I let myself get involved anyway. We enjoyed a strong spiritual connection, seemed to share values, had good chemistry, & even liked the same foods! (And love will conquer all, right? Well, unconditional Love does…).

    I allowed his need to have me prove my commitment overrun my common sense, & let him move in. I didn’t do well in my small studio apartment with him with me 24/7 (he worked from home), with only the bathroom to go to for time alone. (I had a badly sprained ankle, was on crutches, so drives & walks weren’t an option.)

    I didn’t understand how to kindly set limits (tough to do, since I hadn’t followed my gut in the beginning – sort of like back-pedaling!) It got ugly… painful reactions by both, plus he realized he wanted me to convert, which I was unwilling to do. For me, that was the last straw. While I respect differing beliefs, I learned I want to be with someone with whom I do share spiritual values & perspective. We decided to part.

    So, that was my lesson in paying attention to early signals, not giving in to placate, practicing better self-care, focusing on the Divine 1st (versus putting attention on the relationship 1st) & a host of other goodies.

    Shoe on the other foot…

    Now, about your post! Thank you!
    I appreciated hearing where the expression came from.

    I grew up believing in it so strongly, that to alleviate the anxiety about when the other shoe would finally drop, I came to realize that I myself caused things to happen!

    Weirdness of the mind… Trying to control something that the ego had created in the 1st place!

    I love that you questioned the thought.
    And I love the image of basking in good! Like a cat, basking in the sunshine, taking a nap… or leisurely stretching…

    I will be asking for Divine Intervention in helping me stop the self-sabotage, to bask in receiving more & more good…

    And I totally agree that Gratitude is the attitude!

    Thanks again for a thought-provoking, funny & inspiring message!


    • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      Hi Lani!

      Great to hear from you again. :)

      I love that you have reminded us of that other shoe expression – I might have to do a blog post about that one now. And thank you for sharing your story about the “other foot”!

      Asking for Help is so powerful, isn’t it?! What a great thing to ask for Help with – letting go of self-sabotage and the Other Shoe Syndrome! I will have to do the same.


  4. Jo Lauer March 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Thanks for this one, Z. When I first became aware that I was “holding my breath” waiting for the other shoe to drop, I started noticing actual shoes… abandoned, left on roads, in puddles, in the middle of a field, on a railroad track, etc. Always though, only one, never two or a pair. Made me think that maybe the other shoe wasn’t really going to drop after all. Or, maybe this WAS the other shoe, and if so, it wasn’t all that bad (just a little lonely, there in the middle of a puddle). The worry factor reduced tremendously. And I’m grateful for that.

    • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      Hi Jo,

      Wow, what a beautiful and haunting and amazing image – all those “other shoes,” alone in puddles and fields and roads. This is certainly a completely different way to hold the “other shoe” expression. It does, as you say, take all the fear out of it. It’s just a little shoe in the middle of a field – nothing to worry about at all. Thank you for this! 😉


  5. Sauda March 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    I thank you sooo much for this! I am putting this into practice right away and every time I think about it I will stop and take two minutes and be sure to implement this at least every hour. Awesome! YOU ROCK Z!

    • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      Hi Sauda!!

      Yay!! You came to visit the blog!! :)

      I’m glad you enjoyed this idea. Have fun with it – I know you will!

      Stop by again any time!


  6. Dinna March 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Hi Z!
    Loved this one….actually, I like everything you write, but don’t always take time to comment! For some reason it reminded me of another saying for some reason “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Just like waiting for the other shoe to drop…..it’s tapping into (and I don’t mean tap shoes!) that negativity thing that always seems to be hangn’ around. I’m practicing pressing pause whenever that aspect creeps in and then come up with a more positive thought. Sometimes it takes longer than other times, but it’s a work in progress. Thanks for your insights!

    • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:46 am #

      Hi Dinna,

      Yes – “If it’s too good to be true. . .” is totally the same kind of thinking. I like when you say “practicing pressing pause” (say that 3 times fast!). This is such a powerful process – to stop and pause and find a more positive view. It really pays off, doesn’t it?!

      Thanks for stopping by and making your presence known! :)


  7. Jackie March 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Z – having just gone thru what could have been described as ‘something bad’, I have several times gone to oh no and what if land. While it could be difficult to be grateful with a purple forehead I have done just that. I am so blessed to be up and walking around and having a great visit with my sister. Plus, I have the added joy of looking forward to getting a new car. So, right now both shoes are on the ground firmly planted in gratitude, joy and love.
    Thanks for the great reminders. Hugs.

    • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      Hi Jackie!

      I’m glad that you are in recovery mode – I saw the pictures on FB. I love that you have found all the positive aspects of the situation – including getting a new car. Whoo Hoo!!! Sending lots of love to you and your sister.


  8. Karen March 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Love your wit and wisdom, as always, Z, and the lovely comments here.

    Yes, we can counteract the other shoe syndrome by anything that feels good to us, especially gratitude/appreciation, as you mention.

    It’s such balderdash that if we get too happy, life will slam us — or at least drop a big shoe on our head. The opposite is actually true, as we now know — happiness summons more things to be happy about, courtesy of Law of Attraction.

    Thanks for exposing this myth for what it is — not even worth a footnote in the annals of truth. :)

    • Z Egloff March 5, 2014 at 8:50 am #

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for using the word balderdash in your comment. That just made my day! :)

      Yes – as you point out, the truth is actually the opposite of the Other Shoe Syndrome. The better it gets, the better it gets! Perhaps it’s time to start making up new myths of our own. Hmmm. I’m sensing another blog post coming. . .

      Thanks for your comment! :)


  9. Jenny March 5, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Z!!!!! I love you! I am so grateful for your words! And all the insightful comments! I SO needed to hear them today! I couldn’t get to my email yesterday, and I have to admit, I was NOT grateful for that! So thank you for helping me to turn my day around–I need BIG reminders, and I get them every time you write.

    love, Jenny

    • Z Egloff March 6, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Hi Jenny!!

      So great to hear from you. I’m glad that you were finally able to get to your email! VERY important!

      I’m grateful for your comment!! :)


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