Single Steps Strategies Blog

The Purple Boot

By Carole Kunkle-Miller, Ph.D

I love skiing. For five years, I owned a purple ski boots that were very stylish. They matched my purple skis, my ski jacket, and my hat. I looked great–the only problem was the boot never fit quite right. It pinched in one part, so I tried everything to make it fit. I adjusted the buckles, had extra padding put in, and bought a heated liner to change the inside shape of the boot; the ski shop stretched the outside of the boot; I tried thin socks, thick socks.

Regardless of how hard I tried, my feet would be in extreme pain at the end of every run. Finally, I gave in and bought a new pair of boots. And guess what? I had no pain, no pinching, and I could ski better. But what amazed me was why I had put up with those purple boots that were not right for me. As I looked at it, I had paid good money for the boots and they matched everything. They were supposed to be a good brand and I went through a lot of work to attempt to make them fit.

How often do we experience this same dynamic in our relationships? We put up with a friend or a lover who clearly hurts us and is not right for us. Why? Because we have invested so much; because we are sure we can make it work.

Most people say, “ I think I can make him/her change.” That is the biggest error any of us can make–thinking we can create or force change in others. We really only have control over our own thoughts and behaviors. If we are clear about what we want and continually clarify and refine what makes our hearts sing, we will experience a good fit between what we want and what we eventually have. We can make relationships work well for us if we don’t “put up” with relationships that will never be a good fit, no matter how hard we try.  Once we learn to love ourselves, making the choices that serve us best is so much easier.   


Dr. Carole Kunkle-Miller is a psychologist, health coach and collaborative divorce coach with over 35 years of experience in the human effectiveness field. She directs Carole Kunkle-Miller, PhD and Associates, a group of psychologists and social workers with many years of experience and education. Connect with Carole at her website,

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