Don’t be a bystander. Be involved, be engaged, be curious, make a difference.
— Howard Schultz

DO YOU EVER SIT BACK, think about all the problems in the world, and then think about how you're dedicating your life to ridding the world of said problems and making our blue dot a better place?

Yeah. Me neither.

...Because it's hard, you know? I like to cause a fuss on Facebook whenever I'm feeling outraged by the system (helloooo, sexism of election 2016), but is that doing much good? Maybe I've strengthened a few other females to be more confident in their own voices, but I doubt I've changed any minds.

But now I have these shoes.

They're from the progressive-minded folks at Common Ground, and the shoes stand for gender equality. The design is called "Pieces of Same." The right shoe is a woman; the left shoe is a man — and they're made of the same pieces, just arranged in different ways. There's also pairs that take a stand on gun violence, marriage equality, immigration, and just plain progress.

And they're comfy af. If I had to review them, it would go something like this:

"These shoes are bomb, and in a weird way make me feel good about myself. It feels as if using my voice. As if I'm actually standing up and saying something. I just wish they were louder. I want more people to ask when I'm chowing down on my tacos, biking down my local trail, or pounding keys at my coffee shop to say to me, "You're a feminist, aren't you? Me, too." Maybe given enough time, they'll start coming out in droves. But for now, it's mostly me interjecting into completely unrelated topics and saying to acquaintances, "HEY CHECK OUT MY SHOES." 

Something like that.

But let's get to what I love even more about this Portland-based company: how freaking on-point their messaging is. We all need to seek common ground — especially in today's political climate — and put ourselves in the other person's shoes. Don't get me started on the blissful ignorance that is (usually male, usually white) privilege. But how do we start making change?

Glad you (read: I) asked. Here's how:

Step one: COMMIT

Be willing to suspend judgment.
Let progress be more important than winning.
Take a stand to understand.

Step two: CONSIDER

Put yourself in the other person's shoes.
Understand their point of view.
How would they want to be treated?

Step three: CONNECT

Take initiative, start a conversation.
Work from a place of empathy and honesty.
Find common ground.

Now if that doesn't inspire you like no shoe has inspired you before, I don't know what will. 

So, in short, if you want a shoe that's comfy AF, that's versatile AF, that's good for hopping on a bike or just grabbing coffee, shoes that align with something bigger, something better — I suggest finding Common Ground.