Part of the American Dream is often driven by the “keep up with the Joneses” mentality. But who says that the Joneses are right to begin with? Most here know this already, but even though I am acutely aware of such, I still catching myself slipping and wanting this, that or the other THING. The deep rooted propensity is instilled in us by what sociologist call “socialization”.
This is defined as:
The process by which culture is learned. During socialization individuals internalize a culture’s social controls, along with values and norms about right and wrong.
We are socialized from day one, but this comes to no surprise when I realize I cut my hair and nails short, while my sister has long hair and has long manicured finger nails. The examples are endless and its hold on us is so deeply rooted it is hard to resist.
I found this post by simple organized life. Reposted simpleorganizedlife.com Feb 2009.
The only way to even begin to live a purposeful, simple life is to give up any notion that you are in competition with any other single person. Life is not a game, it’s not a test, it’s not a winner takes all experience. It’s just life – and what happens during your time here is up to you. If you spend your time comparing your belongings, lifestyle, job, family, etc. to anyone else, well…you are being set up for a very complicated existence. How can you learn to experience your life if you are so busy trying to either get outside approval or be like everyone else?
Simple living involves being secure with your choices and your direction in life, without fearing the judgment and influence of others. It’s tough to do, and believe me I struggle with it as well. But I am doing my best to keep what the “other” people are doing in check and instead focusing on my own life and surroundings. A few things I try to keep in mind that might be of help to those of you looking to live your own simple life with your own purpose, instead of that lead by an outsider, include:
1. You can only be in competition with yourself; no one else.
2. People think way less about you than you think they do. (I fight this one often)
3. “Stuff” cannot replace real emotions, feelings or experiences.
4. You only belittle your own self by trying to keep up with someone else.
5. You probably have more than that person you are comparing yourself to.
6. No one is perfect. No one. Even if you think someone is, they aren’t. Trust me.
7. Focus on what you have and not what you don’t have.
8. The world would be a pretty boring place if everyone was the same.
9. Everyone has a path. Follow the one that is yours and ignore those of others.
10. If you cannot stop the comparisons, stay away from big triggers like TV and celebrity magazines. Over time, you won’t even remember who is popular or cool!
By trying to keep some of these 10 things in mind while focusing on the good in your life, you can start living your own real life in your own real way. But by continuing to compare yourself to anyone else, you are limiting what kind of life you can lead – nevermind the fact that you may miss your life altogether. And that is NOT living simply!