Getting dressed this morning was, in a word, annoying. Everything kept changing and nothing was right.
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The jeans I planned to wear were in the laundry, along with all the jeans I didn’t plan to wear. And all the tee-shirts. When I pulled on a sweater, I found a hole along the neckline. At that point, all you can do is make a noise like a strangled giraffe and move on. Annoying.
When I finally got out the door in other jeans, a different sweater, zero necklaces, and tall boots so you could not see that I was wearing two different socks inside the boots, I would have called this a win. I am a winner! And it’s not even noon.
But then, when I arrived at the gathering I had to get dressed for in the first place, I found myself talking with a group of women who did not look like they spent the morning tearing through outfits like Miss Piggy behind one of those dressing screens that no one owns in real life.
The other women were wearing shirts with zero play-dough stains (I don’t think I had any either, but it’s never a sure thing) and distressed-on-purpose jeans and lipstick and pretty earrings. So many pretty, dangling earrings! They were all casually glamorous next to my barely-got-out-the-door self. I mean, I’m not saying anyone decided to wear their earrings today just to draw attention to my mismatched socks that no one could see, but come on. It seems likely.
I stood listening to their stories about things that were not laundry, and I watched their pretty earrings sparkle, and I felt smaller and smaller in my boots until I honestly started to think: you know, pretty earrings could fix my whole wardrobe dilemma.
Running the washing machine would be another way to fix my wardrobe dilemma, and also, I do not wear earrings. But this is how the brain works.
The people with pretty earrings have it all together, and I do not, so probably earrings would help. I would at least LOOK like I had it all together.
Reading Joshua Becker’s The More of Less, I came across this line: “We’re buying too many things because we hope that they will make others accept us and that they will help us feel comfortable and ‘normal.’ ”
The culture around us whispers that if you aren’t perfect, you’re not good enough, as though perfect is perfectly normal.
We start to think that everyone else does it all, has it all together, and also wears pretty earrings the whole time. It’s just their normal. And we’d probably better catch up.
But those things are not true.
You don’t have to be perfect to be okay. You don’t have to be casually glamorous. You don’t even have to pretend to be casually glamorous.
Your identity, your sense of belonging, your belovedness: none of these come from the things you own (or don’t) or the things you do (or don’t do). They don’t depend on anyone else’s opinion of you, either.
You are you, regardless. You matter, no matter what.
We use surface things—our clothes, our activities, our cars, our job titles—to send messages about our selves, but we can send better messages by saying true things and listening well. We can connect with each other on a deeper level than shared accessories. Sending messages is not even what earrings are best at. That is why someone invented carrier pigeons.
My sense of okay-ness cannot come from a pair of earrings. It cannot even come from a whole pile of earrings. Besides, you only get a certain number of minutes for thinking every day. How many of them do you really want to devote to someone else’s ear decorations? (That is mostly a note-to-self kind of question.)
The real truth is that behind the earrings, every single one of those women is a whole person with all kinds of stuff going on in her life. That’s just part of being a person. Nobody has it all together, not all the time, not really. They’re perfectly normal.
And the idea that you have to be perfect to be normal? Well. You don’t have to buy that story any more.
Joshua’s new book, The More of Less, is out this week!
If you’re overwhelmed with stuff, with busy, or with figuring out what matters and what doesn’t, take a peek. It’s far and away his most comprehensive and engaging book yet. A few of my favorite moments:
“A busy life is an unreflective life.”
“There are more valuable pursuits available to us than the purchase and accumulation of material possessions.”
“When you’ve individualized your approach to simplifying your life… it frees you up to express yourself and become who you were meant to be.”
Yes and yes and yes. If that resonates for you, you can grab a copy here.