Keeping up with the Jones

We spend a lifetime looking at what others have, instead of looking at what we have. We will also spend a lifetime looking over our shoulder, choosing to keep up with the Jones.

We spend a lifetime comparing and making comparisons, which begin to act as our benchmark for social class, feeling inferior and inviting jealousy in, through our need to want to acquire material goods. When we cannot compete, we become disillusioned and that encourages us to want and do more.

But perhaps there’s a scenario that says we shouldn’t have to compete or keep up with others. We should be our only comparisons. Unfortunately, when we try to keep up, we will always continue to strive to spend beyond our means, to keep up socially and financially with others, either in our social circle or our neighbourhood.

Of course, the problem won’t always stop there. We will spend money we don’t have, to buy the things we don’t need or want, just to keep up and will then become even more disillusioned and unhappy.


9 Feb, 2017

6 thoughts on “Keeping up with the Jones

  1. Yes, so many people worry far too much about what everyone else has and fails to appreciate what they already have.

    I had to laugh because it actually happened with our neighbors where my girlfriend bought a new vehicle and two of our neighbors had to get new ones, too similar to hers.

    They already had what looked to be decent cars, so it didn’t make a lot of sense other than that fact of trying to keep up with the Jones. I see it all the time, since I live in a more affluent community where more people are driving Mercedes and Range Rovers than just your regular cars.

    Even the kids from the local high school make it pretty obvious, seeing as they always have the latest ipads and smartphones. They are the same type of kids who made fun of me in school and treated me like poor white trash.

    I am thinking that is also why I have such a hard time feeling sorry for them, because I never had much of anything, let alone brand new or name brand. The problem was that my parents never showed us how to better our lives, so that we would be treated differently, which is what most people try to do.

    They seemed perfectly fine with accepting whatever scraps they could get and didn’t have a whole lot of shame. Nobody ever really explained to us that it was possible and even okay to have a better life where we could be happy.

    It shouldn’t matter who our family is or what our last name is, but the type of people we are. There are things we can change and things that are beyond our control, with the hard part being learning the difference. My biggest goal is just to be comfortable in my own skin.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes, families are usually the worst for outlining differences. I’m actually not sure why, considering we’re all family. We should in effect all work together to be supportive, but that’s not usually the case.

      Certain family members often think they are better than other family members, which is probably what your mother had to deal with, not an easy task. What you’re describing sounds like a class issue, made worse by society.

      All communities have it. But you’re right our biggest goal has to be just being comfortable in our own skin, regardless of what’s going on around us. I’m pleased that is your goal.

  2. You have to give some folks time to grow, time to tow themselves back to reality, before reality does.

    I’d say, the Jones aren’t genuine enough to face what they see in themselves.

    1. Thanks Tim. I am sure the Jones would unequivocally disagree. I am not sure they see in themselves what we perhaps see in them. I do believe though that if they were to step back and think about their own lives, they might begin to look at their values differently.

      It’s not that their values are altogether wrong, but they’re perhaps somewhat off the beaten track of what life is fundamentally about. There is a place for materialism as there is a place for other things, but materialism shouldn’t be at the top of anyone’s list.

      I think your first paragraph consolidates your response Tim beautifully. Personal, emotional and spiritual growth will always help us to remain focused on life and what life is fundamentally about.

  3. I’m sure we all know people who feel the need to keep up with the Jones, whereas the only people they should be looking at; is themselves.

    1. Thank you. Yes, the end of your paragraph sums up your response beautifully. Yes, the only people we should be looking at is ourselves. To compete doesn’t serve a purpose, it just makes us more miserable.

      Does being miserable really serve a purpose when we can’t compete?

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