Well, that just sounds really bad when you put it right out there in the open, hey?
But it’s the painful truth, and I’ve become more and more aware of it since reading Beth Moore’s book, So Long, Insecurity.
People often think insecurity comes from a negative self-image, and being really down on yourself all the time. But Beth Moore suggests that often, the root of insecurity is not low self-esteem, but rather…pride.
Once again, I was surprised by what I learned, and even more surprised by what I uncovered in my own life. I had never recognized the pride in me that was feeding my feelings of insecurity. I had bought into that whole “I need to love myself, and accept myself. I need to feel special, and that’s how I will overcome insecurity.”
Being the poor “victim” in need of love sounds much less sinful than being prideful, doesn’t it?
Here’s how this whole thing works:
We see someone who is very gifted and talented, or fantastic with people, or model-beautiful, and we start feeling insignificant or awkward or ugly or whatever other undesirable feelings that might arise. We realize we are not the best in the whole comparison game. And that can hurt a person’s pride.
I hate to admit it, but how often do I long to be the best? How often do I secretly wish to be the smartest, the best-dressed, the best parent, of the best kids, the most talented, the funniest, the most spiritual…
The list could go on so long, it’s embarrassing.
That kind of thinking turns life into a competition. It means that every time I am in the presence of other women, I am “ranking” myself.
Beth Moore writes,
Most of us aren’t in a public place for five minutes before we peruse the female players in the room and judge where we rank.(p. 279, So Long, Insecurity)
Apparently I’m not the only one who has thought that way, which is the only reason why I’m brave enough to admit it. I’m totally guilty of being in a room, checking out the other women and comparing myself to them, trying to figure out who’s the “best” and in what categories. If I don’t come out on top, who am I beneath? What is my “place” in the room?
Oh, that looks so ugly typed out on the screen. But can you relate?
I was curious about this. I’ve always felt yucky, alone, critical, and awful for thinking stuff like that, and to finally acknowledge it was happening in my life was very hard, but also a kind of relief.
I started wondering how common these thoughts were among females. So I spent some time with a fantastic group of girls, talking about this sense of competition.
And the result was absolutely amazing. Girls started opening up about their insecurities, the areas in which they felt most weak and undesirable. They shared the strengths they took pride in, and we could all relate and laugh together, instead of compete against each other. It was the best experience I’ve ever had in an all-female setting.
The goal in our female relationships should be to encourage one another’s security. (p. 279, So Long, Insecurity)
What holds us back from doing more of that? For me, it’s the simple, ugly fact that I don’t want to encourage the competition.
So now what?
I was at such a loss that I went to my mentor. I confessed all of those ugly, prideful thoughts to her, and asked her how in the world I could be free.
And she told me to start praying. She said that whenever jealousy reared it’s ugly head, I should start praying for the woman I felt jealous of. She said I should pray that God would richly bless that woman as she went about using her God-given abilities.
That is not an easy, natural response, but I have found that it does wonders. It takes my focus off me, my pride, and my silly sense of competition, and it gets the focus back on God and how much He loves each of these beautiful, wonderful women that I come in contact with.
What about you – can you relate too? Have you ever felt like you wanted to be the best?