Jealousy, envy, longing, keeping up with the Jonses’ or general dissatisfaction. Whatever you like to call it. Comparing stuff, status and our lives with others only leads to excessive consumption and unhappiness. Do we buy things because they are actually what we want? Or is it because we want others to perceive us in a particular way?
Do you feel the need to buy new shoes because you actually need them? Or are they simply a status symbol to impress others? Is it all just for show? Nevertheless, it is so unbelievably easy to look at what others have and want that too. Even if it’s only for a fleeting second before reality kicks back in. It’s easy to look at someone’s flashy car, fancy house, designer handbag or even just a new dress and feel a split moment of envy.
No matter how minimalist most of us are or how much we strive towards ‘wanting less’ very few of us can say we never have those passing feelings of jealousy. One thing I find very important to remember is that we all have moments of weakness, but it’s also important to remember that we only see what’s on the surface. We see these items, but we don’t see the story behind them.
We see the flash and glamour but we don’t see the debt, the saving ,the struggle, the interest repayments, the sacrifice or the hard work. These are the things that generally aren’t visible, that people don’t talk about. So, when all said and done, do you want what others have? Do you want the big mortgage or the large credit card debt? Wouldn’t you rather have a smaller more affordable house and travel the world and experience life? A smaller, more cost effective car still gets you from A to B for a lot less money and a great deal less financial stress. Sure, you many not look as successful to the naked eye, but what does it matter if others view you as successful or not? You don’t know what other people think and there’s no point in wasting time trying to guess. Success is a very subjective term and I don’t think it’s defined by a big house or a luxury car. I would personally perceive someone to be successful if they were able to live modestly and retire early in life, therefore leaving time for personal activities and pursuits.
We don’t see the struggle behind the extravagance of the lives of our friends and family. You don’t know what sacrifices were made to purchase big ticket items. And unless you know the full story, it’s probably best not to keep up with the Jones’ but rather, keep up with you own personal hopes and dreams.