Not Keeping Up with the Joneses

I’ve had my head buried in lots of books lately and I just finished Slow, by Brooke Mcalary. It was an inspiring read about Slow living, with some great personal stories and practicalities about living life Slow. In the book, Brooke talked about ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, which is an expression for wanting to keep up with what everyone else is doing, accumulating more stuff, buying the next thing and appearing to be socially important and all together.

It made me think a lot about my upbringing, how there was an underlying pressure to keep up with the family friends and what other people around us was doing. There just appeared to be a benchmark that had to be reached, to look like we had it all together. Even though family life was a loving environment, I felt it. Maybe that is why I became the rebel, always doing something a little outrageous, out of the box (and occasionally naughty).

Keeping up the Joneses is very much alive and kicking today. If not more prevalent, now with the invasion of social media, digital marketing and reality TV. There is the subconscious message “when I have this or do this, everything will be ok”. I still catch myself comparing myself to, other people, other mothers, other businesses, other wives. I’ve wished for a house, a car, shoes and coffee machine and then all will be ok when I get it. But alas! It’s not. This kind of mindset can really rob us of one much needed thing in our lives and that’s JOY.

Now don’t get me wrong, setting goals is amazing and having a vision and a plan for our lives is important. But if we’re chasing for something that we feel will somehow bring us the peace and contentment we’re craving, then there will be disappointment. We all want less disappointment and more joy, right? The question I’m asking myself (and you) is what needs to change internally and can we still be goal setting, vision focussed and driven to make our dream life happen?

Absolutely we can! The thing we need to tackle is the conscious and subconscious beliefs of comparing ourselves to others and trying to keep up. So, that may mean remaining laser focused on our individual paths (in a lovingly ruthless way!) and putting a stop to the thoughts that you “should” be in a better, higher, wealthier, healthier and happier place right now. Trying not to focus on what you don’t have (yet), but what you have accomplished so far and what is right in front of you. I bet you are amazing by the way. We need to trust the process in the beauty and the brokenness. The journey, the timing. Remind yourself daily, that you are on the perfect path and there are opportunities coming to you, that are uniquely yours.

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