6 Suggestions for Overcoming the “Protecting Up with the Joneses” Mentality

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In case you dwell within the English-speaking West and particularly if you happen to’re from the US, it’s extremely like you’ll have come throughout the phrase, maintaining with the Joneses. For these unfamiliar with the idiom, it refers back to the method wherein folks use their neighbour’s materials possessions and existence because the benchmark for their very own ‘success’.

The phrase originated with the publication of an American cartoon of the identical identify created by Arthur R. “Pop” Momand in 1913 primarily based on the McGinis household, who struggled to “sustain” with the approach to life of their neighbours, the Joneses. Again then, and even at the moment, not with the ability to sustain with the Joneses is perceived as a failure, in a tradition pushed by materialism, standing and chock stuffed with social climbers. Society’s definition of ‘a great life’ centres round aspirational existence, designer purchases, unique holidays and bodily appearances – all one must do is scroll by Instagram and Fb to see the pursuit of those targets in motion.

6 Tips for Overcoming the "Keeping Up with the Joneses" Mentality
Instagram is stuffed with customers supposedly “dwelling their greatest life”. Photograph: Taryn Elliott.

Whereas people can’t assist being social creatures who’re influenced by the alternatives, opinions and existence of the folks they’re closest to, in addition to the society wherein they dwell, there are a number of downsides to creating decisions primarily based solely on a framework constructed by exterior influences.

These embody:

  • psychological well being points reminiscent of despair related to ‘comparinitis’ that may set off emotions of low self-worth;
  • enormous monetary debt which might trigger fear and pressure on romantic and household relationships;
  • well being points reminiscent of insomnia and coronary heart illness related to the work and monetary stress of sustaining and chasing a specific life-style;
  • envy and jealousy of others due to what they personal, the place they dwell, and the way they costume;
  • misplaced values wherein cash, materials items and the necessity for exterior validation turn into extra essential than household, relationships, ethics and noble pursuits;
  • emotions of disgrace related to dwelling past your means, being unable to service debt and fearing that you’ll be discovered;
  • substance abuse and habit because of making an attempt to deal with the monetary pressure; and
  • home violence and battle associated to spiralling debt and cash stress.

So if you happen to’re scuffling with “maintaining with the Joneses” and need to overcome its evaluate and competitors mindset, listed below are some suggestions that will help you do exactly that:

1. Know your values and what’s most essential to you.

When you turn into crystal clear about what it’s that you just worth, you might be much less more likely to flip life right into a contest and extra more likely to make decisions which can be consistent with your values, what’s most essential to you and what makes you really comfortable.

Unsure what you worth? Listed below are some questions to think about: Do you worth monetary freedom? What about high quality time along with your family members? Do you worth good well being and internal peace? How in regards to the setting?

If maintaining with the Joneses means you may have work at a job you hate, don’t get to spend time along with your companion or youngsters, pushes you to dwell paycheck to paycheck, don’t get any time without work since you’re too busy fixing and sustaining all of your possessions or requires you to take out extra debt to purchase extra stuff, you would possibly need to cease and ask your self– is it actually value it?

As minimalist advocate and blogger Joshua Becker places it: “Deep down, will we even need these issues? Can we even need to change our clothes kinds? Or purchase the brand new automotive… or boat… or larger home within the gated group? Or would we a lot choose our personal life and our personal decisions? Wouldn’t we a lot choose to pursue our personal values?”

Photograph: Katie Manning.

2. Bear in mind there is no such thing as a such factor as the proper particular person, good household or good life.

It was Pastor Steve Furtick who mentioned, “The explanation we wrestle with insecurity is as a result of we evaluate our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s spotlight reel”. How true that is within the digital age, the place a rising physique of analysis reveals that utilizing social media platforms can have a detrimental impact on the psychological well being of customers and that “social media envy can have an effect on the extent of tension and despair in people”.

In a fastidiously curated social media world the place we’re continually bombarded with standing updates and images that undertaking good relationships, good houses, good outfits and ideal lives, remembering that there is no such thing as a such factor as perfection will go a protracted solution to lowering the pangs of jealousy that will immediate you to check and compete. Bear in mind, simply because somebody’s life seems good on Instagram or Fb, doesn’t imply that it’s.

3. Unfollow overly materialistic influencers.

As outlined on this article 7 Inquiries to Ask Your self Earlier than Shopping for Something social media influencers are efficient in getting viewers and followers to half with their hard-earned {dollars} on stuff and selling an aspirational idea of “the nice life”. (In reality, influencers are such a cultural phenomenon that Netflix is making a docu-soap sequence on “scorching Instagrammers dwelling their greatest lives, being their greatest selves, creating one of the best drama content material” a lot to the dismay of Byron Bay locals).

Now in case your favorite influencers are solely ever targeted on selling materials items, costly holidays, unattainable existence, model sponsorships and #advertisements that create emotions of envy, FOMO, despair, anxiousness or stress, unfollowing their accounts to cease their fixed messaging will go a protracted solution to preserving your psychological well being and private funds.

After all it’s so much more durable to keep away from relations, work colleagues or neighbours who’re overly materialistic and set off the need to need issues, however being aware of when these emotions come up is an efficient first step in not succumbing to them.


4. Be taught to dwell inside your means and keep away from measuring self-worth with possessions.

That is laborious to do when companies and monetary establishments are tempting you to dwell past your means by making entry to bank cards, private loans and purchase now, pay later schemes reminiscent of Afterpay really easy. However keep in mind that a lot of “maintaining with the Joneses” is senseless spending and conspicuous consumption as a solution to rating social factors and measure self-worth. As a substitute, study to dwell inside your means and provides your self a pat on the again every time you make the acutely aware option to say no to purchasing one thing that on credit score or that received’t present long-term fulfilment or happiness.

5. Take away temptations that gasoline your need to buy.

In case you’re battling enormous quantities of private and bank card debt this is a crucial step to take – notably if you happen to’re already struggling making an attempt to repay the minimal month-to-month funds. Unsubscribe to model newsletters. Reduce up the bank card. Keep away from the buying centre. No matter you assume it’s important to do to take away buying temptations to assist maintain you targeted on the stuff you worth and make it easier to dwell inside your means. Create an setting the place you aren’t seduced to spend simply to maintain up with social appearances. This recommendation follows the same philosophy to level #3.

6. Simply cease giving a fuck.

One of many quickest methods to beat the evaluate and competitors mindset advocated by the remainder of society is to only cease giving a fuck about what different individuals are shopping for, what they’re doing and what they consider the alternatives you make. Embracing your individualism and refusing to adapt to different folks’s concepts of how you need to dwell your life is by far the best solution to cease enjoying the sport of one-upmanship referred to as “maintaining with the Joneses”. Overlook about what individuals are doing of their lives and give attention to what you’re doing in your individual.

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Cowl picture by Max Libertine.

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