We live in a culture of comparison. Sometimes that can be a bad thing. Women get on Instagram and see how immaculate another woman’s house is and feel bad. But not all of us are equally gifted in all areas, and what matters is that your home is clean and homey – not stock photo material. And besides, you don’t know how many piles of junk have been pushed just out of the frame.
We compare weight, wealth, and style. It starts young. Yesterday our family was in the car and our daughter said that someday she wanted an expensive house so people would know her house is expensive. Where does a 5 year old get that idea? At a young age we feel compelled to outdo one another, and not in kindness. I asked her why she would care if other people think her house is expensive. She said she wants to be pretty.
Of course my husband and I had a corrective talk with her. If she does end up with wealth, and we hope she marries well, she should not flaunt it. Furthermore, having an expensive house won’t make her prettier than anyone else.
From very early on in life we figure out what the world values and we try to be and acquire those things. I honestly think that although much of it stems from pride and competitiveness, which I am guilty of, some of it grows from fear. We believe people will be nicer to us if we have an impressive house, designer clothing, trim waists, and big vacations. Honestly, we are right. The world at large is kinder and kinder, even idolizing, those who are most extreme in these trappings of societal gold. There will always be a certain percentage of people, especially women I think, that will treat you differently if you are slim and rich. Some hope the cache of these things will rub off on them by association. Still others may be riven with jealousy, but interested to watch a life they perceive as better than theirs. We revere what we value.
Some of it is plain insecurity. We want people to at bare minimum not be mean to us. I think my daughter perceives, young as she is, that people will have a better initial impression of her if she has a big house – and that therefore people will be kinder.
I have found this to be true in my own life. In middle school, living in apartments and with few outfits and no handbags, I was an outsider to the girls around me. I was treated differently. Yet I don’t want my daughter to grow up fearing that. I want her to draw her self esteem from God, and rest secure in His love. She has nothing to prove to other people, no one to impress. She needs to please her savior. Friends can help get us through this life, but the right ones will genuinely like you. Your house will not need a marble foyer for them to want to come over.
I hope my daughter has a gorgeous home. I want her to be well traveled. But I do not want these things to be what she derives her self worth from. These things are also not a guarantee in life, and I want her to have a firmer foundation on which to rest her identity.
Our worth is derived from God. Enjoy your blessings, but never be prideful. Even if they are hard earned, they are undeserved gifts. I want my daughter to remember that