Ah, yes... that great temptation to compare one’s self to others. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we know that we all do it in some way or another. We compare our jobs, our homes, our education, our kids, our health, and really the list could go on. Today, I’m going to make myself vulnerable to you and tell you where my insecurity lies – what it is that I find myself comparing.
First off, I want to make it clear why I am referring to comparison as insecurity. I believe that if we were each thankful, comfortable, and confident in where we are at the moment, even if we do need to grow and change, that we wouldn’t feel the need to compare ourselves to others.
Comparison is simply a means of falsely lifting ourselves up to cover up our weaknesses or to pull ourselves down to keep our expectancies of ourselves low. Unless we are able to see ourselves for what we really are and only use it for building ourselves up and making ourselves better, comparison is a foolish waste of time and energy.
Although I am confident in our lifestyle, my personal insecurity lies in our home. Actually that’s only true sometimes.
Right now I am sitting at the dining table typing away on the laptop with a view of the mountain, which is playing peek-a-boo in the clouds. To my right there is a roaring fire in the wood stove that is taking the chill out of the air, first time we’ve need the woodstove in over a month, and behind me is the sound of the kids playing nicely in their rooms. I have a feeling of happy contentment. No insecurities. I’m in my home that I love. I can rock out to AC/DC while I’m heating water on the woodstove so I can do the dishes on the dining room table... and I’m content.
My insecurity sneaks in when I’m around other people and the subject of our home comes up, “a normal home” compared to our “off-grid home”. We’re still in the construction phase of our home, so we’re living a minimalist lifestyle. We don’t have a television but we do have a computer with internet; we have to heat the water on the stove to do the dishes (which are done by hand) or to take baths; air dry the wet hair instead of using a blow-dryer; go into town to do laundry; if we want electricity for anything, we have to go outside and turn on the generator. A washer & dryer, dishwasher, TV, painted walls with pictures on them, those things are in the plans for the future...just not the immediate future. We’re in the middle of building a house, it’s kind of like living through a mass home renovation. Instead of our dream home being completed in the 12-16 month timeframe that we were originally thinking, we have had to break it down into phases... and we’re still in Phase 1 – complete the house. It all comes down to re-evaluating what the word “need” really means. No we don’t “need” a TV, but it sure would be nice to watch a movie on something larger than a 15” screen.
My insecurity storms in when we have people up for the first time, they’ve heard stories but nothing compares to the real thing, so I find myself holding my breath waiting for that first comment, that first impression... “Oh wow! This is gorgeous! This place is going to be great when it’s done!”... “Oh...? This is where you live?”... “Hmm.”... “When can I move in!?!?”... “I can’t believe you live like this.”... “You like living like this?”... “Wow! When this place is done, it’s going to look like it came straight out of a magazine!”
Since the start of this project nearly 8 years ago, we have had to change course a few times, alter our expectations, deal with disappointment when we have let our hopes get a little too high... but, we are still working on our dream despite the occasional insecurities, lack of self confidence, disappointments, and frustrations. Each passing year, we stand a bit more humbled and wiser by our experiences; our insecurities lessen and our self confidence grows.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~ Steve Furtick