I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘Keeping up with the Joneses,’ but just in case you haven’t, it’s a somewhat negative expression that means ensuring that ‘the Joneses’ - whoever they may be, are not outdoing you in any way. The expression implies a need to compete - that in ‘keeping up’ with others (doing or having the same or better than them) you prove your worth.
Now, it’s a good thing to pick someone you admire and whose life or lifestyle is an inspiration to you, and use their success as motivation. It’s good for us to have role models to aspire to and to remind us that we can have a life of quality, but at the same time we need to be careful not to compromise our principles in order to be accepted.
When our aspirations start looking more like envy or jealousy of others, we need to stop and take a step back. We need to ask ourselves whether we are using the other person as inspiration or whether we are trying to ‘become’ them.
I had a friend several years ago who started liking the same things I did, listening to the same music, reading the same books and so on; and while I was flattered on the one hand, it was also a little unsettling. Rather than consider it a compliment, I felt a bit sad for this person that they felt the need to copy someone else instead of developing their own likes and dislikes.
So go ahead and admire the Joneses new house, car, holiday or CD collection; but don’t let them dictate who you are. Become a unique individual in your own right, and you just might end up being the 'Jones' that inspires others!
Here’s a final thought: Consider the things you do or like or own. Do you like them because your neighbour or friend or colleague does? Do you maintain a certain lifestyle so that you will be more acceptable to your peers? Do you ever compromise your quirky uniqueness to ‘fit in’ and impress others? Hard questions but well worth considering.