On a beautiful rainy morning, I went to the park for a jog. The light drizzle and cool breeze made for a refreshing run. I stretched my muscles, checked the time and started running. Somewhere in the second kilometre, I noticed one of my shoelaces had come undone. I stopped to tie it again.

About half a kilometre later, I realised the same shoelace had come undone again, dancing like a drunkard to the rhythm of my run.

‘Damn! I’ll tie it really tight this time,’ I thought and sat on a bench nearby.

Mightily, I pulled on the ends of the lace, so that the shoe hugged my foot really tight. Then I tied the laces as tightly as I could to keep it secure for the length of my run and started running again.

To my horror, a few meters later, the same shoelace came undone once again.

‘What is happening? How am I supposed to run this way?’ I thought, obviously annoyed. As I sat to tie the shoelace once again, I realised something. Maybe I should not tie the lace too tight. If it’s a little loose, it will give the foot some space and not exert too much pressure on the knot during movement. I did just that and managed to finish my run without any more interruptions.

‘This is such an invaluable life lesson,’ I thought when I reached home and started to untie my shoes. Just like tying the shoelaces too tightly, we sometimes hold onto things, people and relationships too tightly. When we do that, we suffocate – sometimes ourselves and sometimes others involved. We must realise that a little breathing space is of utmost importance!

When we hold onto things, we become materialistic. We must always remember to not get too attached to material things. Things are to be used, people are to be loved, but we often do the other way around. When we hold too tightly to people, we suffocate them. No matter how much you love someone or care about someone, you need to give them their personal space. Get too tight and you risk losing them. In relationships, this breathing space is of utmost importance. Whether it’s a personal relationship or a professional one, hold on too tight and you risk it turning sour.

So, the next time you realise you are getting too attached to a thing, too possessive about a person or too constrictive in a relationship, remember to loosen the shoelaces a little!

Zeyd Ladha