Feeling Held Back by Foot Pain or Problems? Deciphering the Message Behind the Discomfort and Getting Back to Your Life
By Jordana Van on October 09, 2012
Two weeks before I was to graduate from college, I tore one of the ligaments in my right foot. I was thoroughly attached to my exercise routine, so even though my cardio-sessions were becoming increasingly painful, I refused to acknowledge the issue until the foot was in such trauma that I could no longer walk on it, let alone run or jump. At last defeated, I went to a doctor who explained what had occurred and gave me an embarrassingly bulky, blue Velcro shoe to wear for the next eight weeks. The shoe would keep the ligaments in my foot from flexing, giving them a chance to heal. I was mortified, both by the hideous shoe and the fact that for eight weeks, I would have to rest.
Oh yes, and I would not be walking at my upcoming graduation ceremony. Which was fine. Really. After all, the people most important to me didn’t want to go, so hey, this kind of worked out. The ceremony didn’t mean anything anyway, right? I mean, it wasn’t even that formal—we would just be handing a piece of paper with our names to the announcer. No big deal. Really. No use getting worked up, especially now that I couldn’t walk anyway.
And I guess I wouldn’t be driving any time soon, at least not for long distances. I’d have to put off the lengthy car-trips to the mountains I’d planned in order to find a place to live next year. And I sure wouldn’t be going on any job interviews like this! For the time being, I guessed, I was just stuck. Poor me.
The self-pity lasted all of about a week. Over the past few years, I had begun exploring the links behind emotion and illness, and when I reluctantly consulted one of my favorite books on the subject with regard to my foot-issue, I was confronted with the beauty of my energetic handiwork in cruel black and white (actually cheery pink and purple, but you get the picture). There was no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I, myself, had caused my foot-trauma in response to my anger and fears. I wish I could say that my foot immediately healed with this revelation, but instead, I had a long, uncomfortable eight weeks in which to ponder what I had done, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. Which was probably the Universe’s intention.
In general, foot-troubles indicate that we are having difficulty moving forward in our lives. And while my experience does not demonstrate every possible reason we can create this kind of difficulty for ourselves, I did manage to hit three of the most frequent causal factors. I was always an over-achiever.
First and foremost, when you are experiencing a physical issue, ask yourself what possible purpose the trouble could serve, both literally and symbolically. My example had a very literal function in that I was upset that those closest to me had told me that my graduation was too much trouble for them to attend, indicating further that it was simply a formality and shouldn't matter to me. Rather than deal with the resulting feelings of hurt and anger, I created a situation in which the issue itself was entirely moot. People didn’t want to come see me walk? Well then, I just wouldn’t walk at all! But I couldn’t say that without sounding like a sulky child, so I tore a ligament and made it so I couldn’t physically do it, thus allowing me to save face. Too, it created the perfect excuse for not speaking with those people I loved about why they were so resistant to something so important to me, and it kept me from having to face the icky-feeling emotions I was experiencing.
Next time you get sick, ask yourself what that illness might be helping you to avoid. This will shed a whole new light on why you always get the flu when your dreaded in-laws are about to visit, or why your allergies only seem to flare up at work!
In addition to avoidance of a situation, foot-trouble can also indicate that we feel we are being held back, and that someone else is to blame for this. Remember that no one else is ever to blame for our circumstances; in all cases, they are reflecting an aspect of ourselves, or a lesson we are needing to learn. However, our perception of the situation can be very powerful. In my case, I had always felt that somehow, others were holding me back. It was rarely a focused belief; rather, it was a general sense that Someone or Something was preventing me from getting what I wanted. Now that I was about to head off into the big, scary grown-up world, it became quickly apparent that I hadn’t made sufficient plans for my future. To complicate things, I had never developed faith that I could take care of myself. About to graduate and really be on my own for the first time, it was much easier to lay the blame on some nebulous “they” than face my own flaws. It was their fault I was in such circumstances!
Recently, my right foot began acting up again, in precisely the same way that it had all those years ago. I realized immediately that I had blamed someone else in my life for preventing me from having what I wanted. They had promised to be there when I needed them, and yet they had abandoned me. Shocked and unable to see a way to muddle through on my own, I had dumped all my fears of the future on their doorstep, choosing to believe that if they had simply done as they had promised, I would be fine, and that without their help, I was lost. When I was able to let those feelings go, the foot-pain receded as well.
Are you blaming someone else for holding you back? Do you believe that an ill relative is preventing you from going out and having fun? Is the perceived need to stay in a crummy job to maintain the family’s finances keeping you from creating a career that you love? If your foot is hurting and you notice yourself blaming someone else, stop. Instead, look at what you can do to begin changing things right now. Even the tiniest of steps will bring you closer to your desire than you were before.
Which brings me to my next point—Why haven’t you started taking those steps before now? Whether or not you have realized it, your own fear has been holding you back. Fear is the most frequent reason we manifest foot trouble. We know what we want, but we are afraid we won’t be able to have it. We’ll end up alone, or broke. We’ll fail. We’ll disappoint ourselves or others. Sometimes, we aren’t sure what we want, and afraid that we won’t be able to figure it out, we resign ourselves to staying stuck in a situation we cannot stand. The devil we know, and all that.
In my case, I knew I did not want to use the degree I had just spent several arduous years earning. I had dreams of becoming a writer, or a musician. I knew that I would only be satisfied with a career that allowed me to live to my creative fullest every day, yet I couldn’t conceive of a method of getting there, nor could I face the idea of going back to school for something else. I had chosen the field I had because I had been too afraid to go after the one I really wanted, and a college-degree had not improved matters. At the end of the educational line, I still didn’t know how I was going to make a living, and I was petrified at the thought of moving forward into a future that seemed utterly devoid of joy. This is where the symbolic aspect of illness comes into play, as, because I was “petrified,” “afraid of “taking a leap of faith” and “walking a new path”, my body created a physical problem to mimic the symbolic issue. It froze me in place.
If this resonates with your own situation, or if you, yourself, are experiencing trouble with one or both of your feet and aren’t sure why this is happening to you, it doesn’t have to end with a blue Velcro shoe and eight weeks of mopey convalescence—or worse! Instead, you can listen to the message your body is attempting to deliver and get back to moving forward with joy!
Remember that there are more possible causes of foot-trouble than those described here, and that difficulty with our ankles, heels and/or toes adds an entirely new dimension to the interpretation. If none of the causal factors I’ve discussed seem to apply to you, your discomfort is likely being generated by a more intricate issue. For a personal examination of your problem, or to learn how I can help you heal the problem and get back to your life more quickly, please visit me at www.ravenlightholistichealing.com.