Do you know about the popular phrase, ‘keeping up with the Joneses?’ Many people may not know exactly what it means but it is something that is very common with us. Basically, it’s an idiom and generally refers to someone who is always trying to be like her rich neighbours. Most of our lives are spent trying to keep up with the Joneses? Some times we buy things we don’t need just because we want to measure up or rub shoulders with the people we believe are better than us. Sometimes we live our lives believing that we are not as good as some others and we keep trying to meet up, doing all sorts of things in the process and fueling our insecurity.
Linda says she can’t quite put her finger on the day she started trying to meet up with the Joneses because for as long as she can remember she has always wanted to seem ‘bigger’ than she really is. She comes from a comfortable home where she’s always had access to her basic needs. Linda’s mom used to buy her nice clothes at affordable prices and she could always remember dressing well to church on Sundays. However, at some point in her life, Linda started wanting more. She always felt her clothes were not up to current standards and compared with the rich girls in school she looked like a maid. So, she always fell short of her expectations in her own eyes.
One day, Linda’s issue became more complex than just a few thoughts. It was her first day in University. While trying to get a cold drink at a shop before concluding her registration, she saw two girls treating themselves to coke, away from the hot son. Linda may have spent a few seconds admiring their expensive looking clothes, the designer bags and shoes, the well manicured nails and their soft laughter over a joke from one of them. She got her drink and started looking for a place to sit. Somehow she caught one of the girls’ eyes and the girl offered Linda a seat. You can imagine her excitement. Linda soon found that she couldn’t flow with Shanty and Gillian much because they were talking about their last trip to Dubai and the latest designer clothes they just got. She felt so out of place but really wanted to be friends with them so she started pretending to know what they were talking about. She liked the way people were staring at them. When Linda got home, all she could think about was how to get designers clothes too. So she started making more demands on her parents, pretending they were asked to buy more textbooks. It wasn’t long before she started sleeping around and shoplifting. The funny thing is that no matter how much she tried she just couldn’t meet up. It was either Shanty’s dad just got her the latest phone or Gilly’s mom was taking her to France for the summer. Linda felt so miserable most of the time. Her self esteem went lower than ever. She felt like she belonged nowhere because she could never actually call them her friends and she couldn’t associate with her old friends anymore. She suffered in silence and often wished her life could be different.
Here’s the thing, it’s important for you to have a healthy self image. You should not need other people to affirm whether you’re good enough or not. It is something you must decide for yourself, bearing in mind your strengths and weaknesses. The story of the ten spies that were asked to spy on the land of Canaan before the Israelites could proceed, always amazes me (Numbers 13) eight of the men came back and said that the men in the land were like giants and they were like ants in their own eyes (vs. 33). Only two men – Caleb and Joshua had positive reports. In their own eyes? That means they hadn’t even heard the so-called giants refering to them as ants when they concluded that they were like ants. This made it impossible for them to enter the land. You see why self image is very important. From this story u can tell that only few people actually have healthy self image because the opinion of the majority was that of being inferior to the giants. One thing I realised is that when you have confidence and a healthy self image, you naturally attract people to yourself because you are a rare breed.
You don’t need to try to be like the Joneses. Those people you’re trying to be like also have people they want to be like. Nobody has it all together. You just have to be content with what you have and who you are. Stop trying to be like them. As a matter of fact, they should be trying to be like you.