THE JONESES SYNDROME: APPRECIATE YOURSELF AND CONQUER THE INADEQUACIES THAT MAKE YOU STRIVE TOO HARD TO BELONG.
The Joneses are those invisible yet visible, inexistent yet powerful families we all grew up and were taught to align our lives with and look up to. Many of our great grandparents, grand parents and parents were so imbibed with the fear of the Joneses that they transferred it through the generation down to us and some of us cannot help but live in that fear.
It is a fear that originates from a natural longing to be accepted, respected and loved in our community so much that it keeps one on one's toes unconsciously watching out for the things going on in the lives of neighbours and streamlining our lives to fit into theirs. It also comprises of the fear not to be looked down by the neighbours and so every steps taken, every move, everyday lives is dressed up and polished to look good to the neighbours.
This fear has affected and is still affecting us as it constitutes fifty percent of what motivates most of us. It is so unconsciously ingrained in us to the point that we are too busy being careful to fit in to live our lives as normal human beings with imperfections.
Exhale- Accept who you are
Yes! Go ahead, exhale and relax. You are beautifully and wonderfully made by God, do not let what the people around you think or accept make you forget that. Some of us have such low esteem of ourselves as a result of the colour or shape of the body and its parts deemed good and bad by their community that they go all out to have these parts mutilated, nipped and tucked to the accepted sizes.
A lady once confessed how she actually pours bleach (Sodium hypochlorite solution!) on her face to change the colour to a fairer skin tone so as to look as fair as other ladies that are considered more beautiful. My country once lost its first lady to her bid to cut and remake her body to a more accepted shape. Will you blame the poor woman who only wants to look presentable? The Joneses sure are more powerful than the presidents, the royalties, queens and kings little wonder everybody fears them, only last month a beauty queen died trying to shape and modify her buttocks of all places!
The eradication of the fear of the Joneses should begin in our minds, if we can look at ourselves in the mirror and accept us for what we are then we will be less fearful and not fall prey to this craze to conform to standards set by our society.
Don't let the Joneses drive you mad
Many people spurred on by the desire to show off wealth and rub shoulders with the Joneses get into big debts acquiring and amassing all kinds of gadgets: expensive toys, expensive cars, household equipments, iPods, expensive phones etc. This creates much unhappiness to them in the long run as they end up getting into financial troubles which may lead to depression, worries and even suicide and deaths.
Ninety percent of people incarcerated in prisons today were all motivated by the Joneses' syndrome, from the young man who robbed the bank to look rich to the banker who committed fraud to enrich himself. These people all allowed the fear of the Joneses drive them to the edge, and if you consider what they are going through locked up for years, deprived of freedom you will agree with me that this syndrome is eating deep into the fabric of our society.
In the world today, there are many cases of suicides that stem from shame and the inability of some to bear what the people around them will say concerning one problem or the other that they are going through. A little marital problem has driven some husbands to killing their wives and even themselves because they cannot bear to look the Joneses in the face when deserted by their spouses.
Remove the Joneses from all these equations and you will agree with me that some extremities people go to out of this fear will not have taken place, in order words our world is a better and safer place without this fear.
I once lived opposite a certain family in a neighbourhood for years before I set eyes on the first child of this family who happens to be a bit malformed, this poor child was actually locked up in the room away from the eyes of the Joneses all those years! Many young women who have had unwanted pregnancies are actually abandoned and thrown to the street by their own family who cannot afford to look the Joneses in the face when they see the bulging stomach. In a case like these a pregnant 20 years old has to go prostituting when kicked out by her family in a bid to survive and care for her child when it arrives. Now don't begin to blame her. The family is supposed to be the true friends that stand by one through thick and thin.
Some of us cannot bear to let their community have a glimpse of whatever is going on in their respective families for fear of being looked down upon or talked about. This goes to say that instead of living our lives well and good, we are allowing the Joneses take over every aspect of our lives. We should learn to live through the vagaries life presents and not allow this fear take away our happiness.
Let us accept our flaws, working hard with contentment while bearing whichever uncontrollable circumstances life throws us with equanimity. Is it not enough that we have that cross on our shoulder for us to begin to pile fears on top of it all? It gladdens my heart to see parents who square up their shoulder to come out on television shows like Oprah's and look the world in the face with such problems like taking care of a differently-abled child which some will rather lock up in rooms. In so doing they encourage others out there who might be going through the same.
The recession has gone a long way in helping lots of us overcome this syndrome for with the job losses in some countries of the world; many let down their guard and were unashamed to open up about what they are really going through. This somehow renewed the humane face of the world and has given birth to more sympathetic, understanding and closer-knitted communities as various individuals and organisations across the world really did their best and reached out in helping people in need which is how living should be; devoid of fears and pretences. If there is a benefit the world derived from this recent recession, it is this.
As we go through the ups and downs of life let us remember that none is without perfection. An author Lisa Smith once declared the Joneses broke, they are not only broke but have been dethroned, so go on, heave a sigh of relief and get on the throne. L-i-v-e, shed that fear, make a check for you may have no need of those stuffs you are striving too hard to get just because the Joneses had them neither do you need to be afraid of being looked down upon anymore now that you are the new Jones!
More by this Author
Cheating in a relationship occurs when either of the spouses strays away from his/her partner and begins to get intimate with other people. Most women dream of a happy life with their spouse without interference by...