“We can build our house on sand or we can build it on rock.”
To me, this is the quintessential learning lesson to living one’s life. We can buy the newest car, biggest house, most expensive clothes and make-up. We can graduate from the Ivy Leagues, become the CEO, and own ten properties with 2.5 kids and a golden retriever. We can build an image that everyone wants; we can be the best on paper. But, without the roots, the foundation, that internal purpose we have, it means nothing. It’s worth nothing.
I struggle with this a lot. This constant push and pull between my exterior presence and interior self-worth, that thing that clicks.
You can see it all the time with guys. Haven’t you met one that you know is perfect. Perfect job, personality, face. The perfect height and weight of wallet. You look at him and know that on paper, he’s the one. But, for some reason, something’s just not doing it for you. There’s a gut-wrenching feeling that you can’t quite put your finger on that says, “run,” “something’s not right.” There’s no explanation. But, there’s “that feeling.” That’s what building your house on sand or rock comes down to. You can have it all: the “sturdiest” house. But, if you don’t know your worth or you don’t have a soulful purpose or humble personality. If you don’t have substance to your life or feel fulfilled without “things,” it’s off. It doesn’t quite fit. The foundation is cracked; it’s broken. Real, authentic, makes your belly flip upside down joy in life doesn’t have strings attached; it merely is. Joy just exists.
“When our house is built on sand, then the winds and rain can tear it down…When our house is built on rock, then it is sturdy and strong and the storms can’t destroy it.”
Now, when this is referenced in A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, she’s talking about God. That our stability must rest on God (”something permanent and strong”).
But, language is relative, it’s all semantics. Replace God with whatever you may choose. But, here, I think of inner self—your real self. You may think that’s a little woo-woo, but follow me for a second.
I think of all the things I can have, that I know I could have. I know that my education can get me a good paying job, that my image can get me a nice looking guy, that my work ethics could get me a promotion leading to a higher paying job leading to a nice house in the suburbs with the fence, driveway, yard, and dog. But, all of that can be taken out in a blink of the eye, by a strong enough storm, and then what? If that’s not what I really want. If that’s not what makes me feel alive, makes me tick, makes me feel like my life is really worthy…to me…then why waste time trying to get it? Why waste time spending hours applying for a job that merely looks good or, in another case, spending hours trying to make that relationship work that you know doesn’t just to keep others from gossiping?
Storms come and go, just like people, just like the latest fashion trends. What it comes down to is if you’re happy with yourself. I mean, really happy. Not just an upturned mouth, showing some teeth, some laugh lines at your eyes that indicate a smile. I mean, a joy that stems from within.
I think about everything I can do, but I equally ask myself if I’m about to build all of that on sand or rock. Am I about to build, create, do something that is built on something wobbly or something I feel confident about. In a way, it’s the one thing that every person on this planet questions on a daily basis. Does this xyz decision stem from my authenticity or from the pressure of what I think I should do?
We all have choices to make. We all are different. We have different perceptions, different opinions, different tastes and standards. Yet somehow we all have some type of pressure whether from media, family, friends, or your own ego trying to sway us in a different direction. Maybe someone is born within a hippie, frugal lifestyle who is taught that striving for material items is bad when secretly he or she wants to be a lawyer who has nice things. Or, opposite view, a person is brought up in a mansion who is expected to be a doctor but really wants to pursue music.
We all have different dreams, and we all have different pressures. But, what truly matters, the whole point, is that we listen to ourselves. No one else. We have a little voice deep down that screams in a whisper our truth. But, so many times it’s covered up by the manipulative whispers that scream the opposite of what we truly desire. What we need to remember is that everyone feels this way. We may feel this way about different things, but we each feel (on some level) a pressure or standard we have to uphold and then the way we truly want to live. At the end of the day, all that matters is you. And, that’s not selfish. It’s self-care, self-preservation. If you’re not happy with what you’ve accomplished —whether tangible or intangible, whether material or immaterial—then what’s the point? We get one life. Live it how you want to, not for someone or something else. Believe that when you follow your deepest dreams, everything will work out. It may not work out how you think it will, but it will work. Because when you live within your authentic self, you can’t be wrong. Maybe others won’t agree. But, that’s on them. What’s on you, is living up to the best you that you want to be.
Jordan Nicholson graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied innovative coaching methods, over 100 dietary theories, and practical lifestyle management techniques. She also is a certified yoga instructor (200 hr RYT) and has a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Anthropology from University of Iowa.