Yeah, I know that feeling. You are definitely not alone. Let me share with you a Universal Truth (for realz – a Universal Truth!) that will chance your whole perspective about this whole worrying-when-life-is-awesome thing.
But first – what the hell does that phrase mean anyway? Did shoes used to drop out of the sky for no reason when you were happy?
I actually looked it up. It seems to stem from a very old story about a traveler who would drop his shoe loudly on the floor when taking it off, thus waking the person sleeping in the room below him. Then, the person below would lie away annoyed and waiting for the other shoe to drop so he could release his anxiety and fall back asleep. Apparently the traveler was not so nice and would lay the second shoe down gently knowing it would keep the other guy awake as he waited for the other shoe to drop. How sinister!
In any event, the point is we have a tendency to think something bad will happen when things are going really well. You’re in love, you are enjoying your job, you are feeling healthy and fit, you look freakin’ awesome in those new jeans, and you think, “Shit, I’m feeling so good. But this isn’t going to last…”
And you’re probably right about that.
I say this NOT to buzzkill you, but to remind you of the truth that the only constant in this world is CHANGE! Nothing stays the same. When you feel blissed-out like, “Wow today was AMAZEBALLS!,” you will eventually have a day where you feel more like, “Eh, today was just alright.”
The cool thing is the converse is also true. When you feel awful, the world does light up again. Nothing EVER stays the same. EVER.
Ultimately, I think we feel this “waiting for the other shoe to drop thing” because we know the Truth of the Universe – that things are constantly changing – yet we get attached to wanting them NOT to change.
That’s where the suffering starts. When we get attached to what’s going on expecting it not to change.
The suffering that comes along with attachment and thinking it is possible for things to never change happens in regards to good feeling and bad feelings.
It happens when we are in the depths of despair and get even more depressed thinking that we may always feel this way and can’t find a way out.
It also happens when we are attached to feeling good, hoping it will never end – and then get even more bummed when it does.
Here’s the thing – even though things change, we don’t have to get all nihilistic about it. This is not a reason to say to yourself, “Ah what the hell. Why bother enjoying this awesomeness? It’s not going to last.” Nor is it a reason to perseverate on when things are going to change.
The solution to this issue of waiting for the other shoe to drop is to be in the present moment. To stay in the now. When you start worrying about when the bad thing is going to happen, tell yourself, “Whoa, Nellie! Is there a shoe on my head? No! So I am going to stay fully present in this moment and enjoy it. Enjoy it fully!”
Ask yourself, “What is going on RIGHT NOW?” Oh! Check it out! I’m feeling good!
The more you are able to be fully present with yummy juicy feelings, the more you are able to stretch them out in time, perceive them as lasting longer in that Einsteinian-time-warping kind of way. And who knows – it may be a REALLY long time before that feeling changes, so there’s no need to brush it aside with worry. If things are bound to change, you might as well have an awesome time while they are amazeballs, RIGHT?
And if you’re feeling down, know that this too will change. ‘Tis the law of the Universe, yo!
Please do share below about your experiences with the fear that shoes will start falling when you’re happy. I always read and respond! And I want my tribe to get REALLY good at enjoying life’s juiciness when it’s going on;)