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Short and Sweet Summary: When you allow your life to be what it is instead of what you wish it could be, real happiness starts to shine through. Stop playing the comparison game by keeping up with the Joneses and let that shit go.
Do you do this, too?
Compare yourself or your progress to other people who may or may not be in similar circumstances?
When you’re navigating your grief journey, it’s far too easy to compare yourself to others. We sometimes get caught up in “keeping up with the Joneses.”
You think someone in your grief support group is moving through her grief process faster. You’re in the middle of a shit storm while everyone else seems to be living the perfect life with their perfect husbands and perfect families.
Why is everyone else buying new cars and taking exotic vacations while you’re still working out a budget and establishing an emergency fund? Why is the Universe conspiring against you?
In the name of EVERYTHING GOOD AND HOLY.
Do you intimately know someone else’s grief process? Do you know what goes on behind closed doors of the perfect family? Um…nope. Ya don’t.
You can’t assume someone’s wealth or financial status by their new cars or exotic vacations any more than you should judge a book by its cover.
Our human instinct is to compare ourselves to others but beware of keeping up with the Joneses. Outward appearances are rarely a good indication of something’s real value.
PERCEPTION ISN’T ALWAYS REALITY
I live in a comfortable neighborhood in a comfortable community. We are not the richy-riches of neighboring high-income communities nor are we the less fortunate on the other side of the tracks. We are smack-dab in the middle class. But with all the new cars, home renovations, vacations, private colleges and well-dressed kids milling about you’d think we were upper-upper middle class.
I mean, the Joneses? They’ve got it going on!
Or do they?
My kids ask me all the time why their friends can go on so many vacations or why so-and-so got a brand new car at age 16. They want to know if we can afford those things and, if so, why don’t we have the same things as the Joneses?
My answer has always been, “How do you know the Joneses can afford it?” I explain that just because they take vacations or buy new cars it doesn’t mean they actually have the money to pay for those things.
If the Joneses don’t have a six to nine-month emergency savings fund, don’t contribute the maximum to their retirement accounts, and spend more than they earn, they cannot afford those things. They can finance exotic vacations and fancy cars via credit cards or personal loans. Hell, any of us can do that. Credit is easier to get nowadays than ever.
But they can’t actually afford to live the lifestyle they so desperately want us to believe they can.
THE JONESES ARE PROBABLY BROKE
It’s impossible to know how much debt the Joneses are in or how much money they have in their savings/retirement accounts without looking at their bank and credit card statements. They can put on a good show and lead us to believe they are living the dream, but if they are one of the 7 in 10 Americans with less than $1000 in savings, they are flat broke.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to compare myself to a broke person. I don’t mind driving older cars or saving for a vacation so I can pay for it in cash. My lifestyle and budget suit me and my kids. I’ve never wanted what the Joneses have because it almost always seems excessive and wasteful.
If you are budgeting and putting money away in an emergency fund, you are better off than the majority of the Joneses. Maybe they should be comparing themselves to you!
THE JONESES MIGHT NOT LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER
If I had a dime for every time I heard someone tell a story about their perfect life, perfect marriage or perfect kids I could retire ten times over.
It’s an illusion, people. Ain’t no such thing as perfect. Anyone who tries so hard to portray herself as perfect probably has deeper, darker secrets than you could ever imagine.
All of the Facebook posts and Instagram filters in the world can’t help you when you’re trying to be something you’re not.
Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.
I think it’s easier to put my battles out there front and center. I don’t mind telling people when I’m suffering from intense grief or when my kids are making me crazy. It’s real. It’s life.
I’ve cut ties with anyone who can’t be real with me. If you tell me your teenager has never called you a jerk because you wouldn’t change the radio station, we can’t be friends. If you don’t admit that you flip your kids off behind their backs, I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with you.
Stop comparing yourself to the happy-go-lucky friend who shits rainbows and glitter. She’s not real.
And read Mark Manson’s take on why Happiness is Not Enough. It’s hilarious.
And so true.
WIDOW WRAP UP
Be Yourself – Every Other Jones is Taken
When you allow your life to be what it is instead of what you wish it could be, you allow real happiness to seep in one day at a time.
If you accept that everyone else struggles and has good days and bad days, you won’t compare yourself to the friend who shits rainbows anymore.
Without the worry about what others think or the expectation that you need to be like everyone else, you can focus on what’s important in your own world.
What’s necessary for YOUR health, wealth, or financial status.