"Keeping up with the Joneses." It's a phrase we all know. Unfortunately, lately, I feel like I know it to well. Only it's a mind game with me... it's all in my head.
If you were to ask me if I cared what other people thought about me, I would tell you that I don't care. I would tell you that I live my life how I believe I should (morals, values, religion, how I was raised, how I was educated, and past experiences produce how I "believe" I should live). I would tell you that I am 100% happy with my life and I try not to compare my lives to others.
In all honesty, I know that's what I should say and I know that I shouldn't compare myself to others. I know that I need to appreciate what I have and even be thankful for things I don't have. (There are a lot of things to be thankful for that you DON'T have... like cancer and no family.) The problem is that I know how I should feel and I know what to say, but do I believe it?
I've been constantly comparing parts of my life to other peoples lives. I do it inside my head every day. My photography business is the biggest culprit. There are a million people who are professional photographers and there are millions of business. I could sit all day and compare photography skill, business practices, prices and even what they are shooting with. Quite frankly it drives me nuts. It's not good, not at all. Again, I KNOW that.
Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and all these social media outlets make me feel like I'm just checking in with the Joneses and comparing to see if what I'm doing that day is cooler than Mrs. Jones. Or if what I am making for dinner is healthier than what Mrs. Jones is doing... in her sparkling new kitchen, with her cute apron, her bleached white teeth, and the latest recipe from Sweet Paul magazine- in fact there is a photo of her on Instagram spreading a Demi-glaze on a succulent duck. Dang! I only made spaghetti. I loose.
I know I should be happy with my spaghetti. I used whole wheat pasta, venison Italian sausage that my husband made and store bought sauce. What's wrong with that? I know I should be happy that I have the funds to make spaghetti, I have the kitchen to cook it in and I even have a working digestive system to handle the load. I KNOW!
How do you go from simply knowing to actually believing? How do you let it all go? How do you allow yourself to seriously. not. care. and to seriously. stop. comparing. I feel like I have to live in a shack out in the middle of Montana with no TV or internet to get that feeling.
Don't even get me started on clothes. I am constantly checking out what other women are wearing. I keep thinking that I am out of style and my whole wardrobe needs to be burned. So I take mental notes of what I see... okay that girl is wearing a longer shirt with leggings, boots and a scarf around her neck. Easy enough. I try on the long shirt with leggings. Crap! It does not look the same. It looks like I have no figure and it's extremely frumpy on me. Maybe because that girl was 5 foot 9 and I'm... not! Scarfs? Ya I think they are really cute- too bad it makes me look like I'm missing a very important piece of my body, my neck.
It could be worse. I could be in complete denial and not be aware that I think this way. I could be completely obsessed and have a credit card debt filled with dollars signs from boutiques and markets and spas. I don't- Thank, God. So I don't have the actual issue of physically trying to keep up with the Joneses. It's just all in my head. I've been trying to figure out a way to empty those thoughts in the trash can and have the garbage man haul them away tomorrow. (How convenient that tomorrow is my trash day.) It's not happening though. The thoughts are simply staying around- no matter how much I tell them their dumb, go away.
So- I don't have a solution, or a game plan or a goal. I guess I simply wanted to write this out, acknowledge that I have a mental-Joneses-problem... and maybe, just maybe it will go away on it's own. Hmmm. Suggestions, anyone?
Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."