Keeping up with those Joneses…. A culturally entrenched, almost obligatory, even venerated American pastime.
In our frantic pursuit to catch up to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, we perhaps fail to acknowledge how many others look at us as ‘the Joneses’, and are feverishly working to get to the ‘tree branch’ that we occupy.
Maybe we don’t bother noticing the latter individuals because they don’t matter.
Research invariably shows that when people make social comparisons they always look upward – never downward. And that’s exactly where the ‘problem’ with this perennial effort to catch up to those who have more lies. Since we always look upward, once we catch up to ‘these’ Joneses, a new ‘Jones family’ appears on the horizon for us to measure up to.
In this mode, since who the Joneses are is always changing, they will always have more. The nature of the game itself dictates that we can never catch up. Thus, we are always yearning, rather than feeling fulfilled. We crave and crave, thereby sabotaging our own happiness.
Quite a while back, Socrates declared: “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” It would make much sense to recognize such wisdom and leave the Joneses be.
Certified Life Coach
Olympus Life Coaching and Consulting