I’m Jonesin’ for you, Cupcake! Stop being Jealous

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How to Stop Jonesin’ and Deal with Jealousy During the Holidays

What is Jonesin’?

When I was a young penniless college student, my best friend and I would drive in affluent neighborhoods during Christmas time and look at the decorations adorning magnificent homes and expansive yards. Sometimes there would be parties with valets, and luxury cars would add to the glowing lights and dreamy appeal. We would “ooh” and “ahh” and admire the things we didn’t have, and when we saw something we really liked, we would point and make the comment, “I’m Jonesin’ for that.” It was our way of acknowledging the abundance of others as we admitted our lack and our desire to be and keep up with the” Joneses” in a wealthy world in which we did not belong. We were dreamy-eyed and inspired by our jealousy to create more. We wanted those worlds.

Through the years, I have seen some strange ways that people live beyond their means as they try to “keep up with the Joneses” and live in that world. Jill has a huge, beautiful home devoid of furniture because she cannot afford anything more than the bare necessities. Jack has a luxury car that makes heads turn when he pulls into the parking lot, yet he lives in a rat-infested shack or apartment. Raggedy Anne wears an exquisite dress to a black tie affair, then replaces the price label and returns the dress for a full refund the next day.

 

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THE SCIENCE IN KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES

Are these people jealous, delusional, or are they the people that my younger self was Jonesin’ for as I aspired to become them? There is no easy answer to this.

Scientists have discovered that humans have been conditioned to desire things. When we accomplish something that we desire, our brain surges with and hormones such as serotonin and dopamine—in essence, our “happy” hormones. These same drugs are released when we feel “rewarded,” as it is a form of affirmation for our accomplishment. It is the reason we encourage others to celebrate the small successes in their lives, especially since these hormones have the same effect on our brain as cocaine.

The two hormones work together as they surge through the brain and body and transmit the feeling of accomplishment and the desire for repeated success. Dopamine is the hormone that motivates us to accomplish something, and it is the main hormone that maps the ways we have already succeeded so we may repeat our glorious achievement. Serotonin, the hormone that lights up our brains when we feel significant and important, triggers the dopamine to help us feel that way again. And so the pattern emerges.

Now, think of salespeople in places like Ferrari dealerships, Barney’s, Harry Winston’s or Tiffany’s. They work on commission; their job is to make us feel important and significant, and they claim we will feel more so when people see us in this beautiful car, dress, or earrings. Their job is to create a surge of serotonin, because our brains will then “realize” that to keep this feeling, we need to accomplish the goal of purchasing whatever it is we have in our hands at the moment, everything else be damned.

Buyer’s remorse may come later. How does one recover from buyer’s remorse? This thought alone triggers dopamine, along with the memory of how the last high was achieved (message: go buy something else). So, how does one accomplish this? Maybe Raggedy Anne maxes out credit cards. Perhaps Jill returns something in order to purchase something else. Jack eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Ramen noodles like a college kid or survives without air conditioning in order to pay for that sweet ride.

And all along, something inside whispers to us we are not like the Joneses. We are not really in the world of our wealthier neighbors. This may lead to resentment, jealousy, and more depression. And we are still Jonesin’, because we think we lack something. WE DON’T.

 

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5 WAYS TO STOP JONESIN’ FOR OTHER LIVES

  1. Reclaim your own name. When you meet a person for the first time and you part ways, what is the strongest memory you have of that person when you get home? Is this the kind of memory you want others to have of you? What legacy do you want to leave? What do you truly want others to remember about you when you leave a room, a party, or an interview? Click To Tweet THIS, my dear friend, is where you can concentrate your focus. This is where you reclaim and own your name.

 

  1. Remember your gifts. Hey, Cupcake! YOU are a wonderful gift to the world! Click To Tweet. If you can’t remember this, you can go to this blog or this blog for reminders. Forget the fancy packaging. What gift are you supposed to share with us? Is it truly a Tiffany’s watch? Can you honestly share a car with the world? I am not saying you should feel bad if you have these things (if they make you happy, rejoice!). I am saying that these things do not make you a better person. Remember your unique gifts, and remember to share with as many people as possible.

 

  1. Take stock of your wealth. Sometimes, we do not realize all the abundance around us, for two reasons: 1) it is such a part of us that we accept our prosperity just as we accept the oxygen we breathe; and 2) people have made us feel shame or guilt for having whatever we have. One day I realized I had the kind of life that some people would look at and say, “Oooh, I’m Jonesin’ for that.” Not that I want a life that people envy, but I understand that I do have an abundant life: I have great health, a car that is paid in full, and clothes for every season with cute shoes to match. My bet is that you have abundance in your life, too. You just have to pay attention to it. Where do you live? Do you have more than one pair of anything? Do you have abilities that people admire or appreciate? Do your skills give you success in more than one way? Be creative. Allow yourself to enjoy and appreciate what you have. You may not have untold fortunes, but you can allow yourself to feel happy for your fortunate blessings.

 

  1. Forget about the Joneses. Remember #1. This is about you, Cupcake. This is about what you have, what you want to share, and what gift and light you bring to the world. Appearances can be deceiving. You have no idea what is on the other side of the door of that mansion you covet; it may have faulty plumbing, black mold in the walls, or be completely barren of any comforts that make it a home. Ferraris are constantly in the shop (which may explain why Prince Charming lives in that ratty home). And someone may be mortgaged up to her eyeballs just to keep up her pretty appearances. You do not know Mrs. Jones’s situation behind closed doors. She may have an absolutely perfect life with an absolutely perfect family, and feel absolutely miserable (which means something is not perfect, after all). Or she may have everything, and be absolutely blissful. That is not a reason to hate or envy her; it is a reason to celebrate abundance.

 

  1. Treat yourself without spending a dime. This is something Rikka Zimmerman suggests every time she discusses handling finances. If you can spend money, try something new: go into a store, find something you like, and tell yourself, “I can buy that if I want to.” Imagine yourself owning this item, and allow yourself to feel the pleasure of this. Then, leave. Without spending a dime. If you think you may be tempted to purchase, leave your credit cards at home. Another suggestion: first, go to a place where you KNOW you can afford everything, and you have no real desire to purchase something. Studies have shown that truly knowing we can purchase something and not buying it triggers both the dopamine and serotonin, and we realize we do not have to buy something to be happy. Guess what? A NEW PATTERN EMERGES FOR THE BRAIN TO MAP! Do this as often as you like. As you get comfortable with this, go to slightly more expensive places and repeat. The more maps you can build, the stronger the connection, the more likely you are to start feeling abundant, and like attracts like.

 

  1. Be kind to yourself. Do not feel guilty for what you have; you deserve all good things in your life. Do not go Jonesin’ for things you don’t have. Repeat after me: I (the loudest word of all) I AM ABUNDANT. I AM WILLING TO BE PROSPEROUS. I GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO ACKNOWLEDGE MYSELF AND MY GIFTS. I GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO BE HAPPY. Say it loud and proud!

Then go do something nice for yourself. Meditate. Do your favorite workout or get a massage. Share a drink or a laugh with a pal. Cook your favorite dish and ask friends to bring some wine. Sit on the porch and watch a sunrise or sunset. Play with your kid. Play with your pet. Better yet, go take a nap with the fur face.

Let someone else start Jonesin’ for your life.

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So, Cupcake, what do you do when you find yourself Jonesin’ for something? How do you change your thought patterns? Feel free to share, as you are sending out a karmic boomerang!

 

As always, let me know how it’s going, and stay frosted!

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14 thoughts on “I’m Jonesin’ for you, Cupcake! Stop being Jealous

  1. Great article especially around the holidays. Somehow I was never afflicted with the Jonesin’, but did notice other lifestyles and I knew getting an education was my ticket out of a working class environment. all my high school buds got married soon after h.s. graduation & while I was getting my degree, they made babies. I wanted exposure to culture and a larger world.
    I can go to better stores to look & not buy & not feel badly because if I really wanted something I could plan for it.
    So much food for thought. Love this about your blogs & like the scientific reasons too.

  2. Part of our learning throughout our lives happens in biographical cycles. Who we are and what our lessons are in our teens and twenties, is so different than when we reach our 40’s and 50’s. We learn by mimicking others when we are young. Others mirror back to us through our entire lives.

    I remember being very envious of others and one of my own life goals was to be rich and famous by the time I was 35. I don’t think I was jealous, so much as saw much bigger and grander things for myself. Of course, the Universe often has much different plans for us. At least it did for me. To truly grow and mature, it is about acceptance of where we are at, while continuing to expand and grow. I think a life lived from the outside in will generate feelings of jealousy, especially when people compare themselves to others. Ultimately a life lived from the inside out, is what brings the riches to our life. It takes some years and many experiences to arrive at this place. Although I do see many of the younger generation much more giving spirited than I remember when I was their age. Perfect post for this time of year! There will always be someone who has more than you. And you will always have more than someone. Enjoy your holidays, Liz! xo

  3. I love the notion of going shopping and telling yourself “I can buy this if I want to” in order to remap your brain. Perfect! We so often forget about our own gifts because we’ve always had them; they are an integral part of who we are. It’s important stop and take stock of our own wealth every so often. We are better, stronger and smarter than we think we are. When I start Jonesin’ for something I don’t have — when I feel envy — I remind myself that all is not as it appears, as you point out so well in your examples. Then I reflect on what I do have, and top it of with, “I have everything I want.” Works wonders. Great post, as always.

  4. I was taught that happiness comes from within by my parents and yes, that I should not compare myself with others who seem to have it all because sometimes we don’t know the full story.

    I enjoy being myself and false opulence has never been my thing, Liz. Maybe that is why I’ve always managed to enjoy myself whether I was a student away from home who had a budget or when I became financially independent and could buy anything I wanted but never wanted more than what I really wanted. Does that make sense? 🙂

  5. I love this article, and it came at the perfect time! On my side of the family, we no longer exchange material gifts for the holidays. We feel we have enough stuff, but what we don’t have enough of is TIME together. So that is the gift we give one another. I’ve experienced that ‘high’ from purchasing and shopping…even if it is chemical, I’m certain the ads we see impact our perceived ‘need’ for things as well. As my husband turns to minimalism and we try to rid ourselves from managing too much stuff, we are trying to appreciate all the abundance we have. Thank you for such a well-written, heartfelt blog to remind me of what matters most. 🙂

  6. I can honestly say I’ve been there and I got over it. It’s Christmas and people go crazy to have ‘the best’.
    I wish people were happier with what they have.

  7. You picked a perfect time for this post didn’t you! Love it!!!

    I’ve never been one to play the game of keeping up with the Joneses. Joe and I are happy with what we have. Seems kinda fake to me when you have to have what Bill and Sue have. It’s like you’re always trying to top them to feel better about yourself.

    Nah… I don’t play that game and I’m ok with that.

  8. Jonesing mentality comes from a lack mentality. We think we lack something because we see someone else has it. But we didn’t even think about it until we saw it. It seems to stem from a deep longing to matter. But we do matter. To God.

  9. And THIS….. is where I struggle. I think we are always taught to dream big, want more, do more… and so… here I sit… doing that. I don’t wish for a mansion… though it would be cool, I don’t want one. I have a great job (duh) and have the money to do things with a man that loves me to the end of the earth, when he is home… so why is it that I am jonesing for a house that doesn’t suck (opposite of working), a man who is HOME more than he is away and for friends whom I can enjoy a rita with (without driving 4-5 hours or fly across the US to see). It’s the little things in life we don’t appreciate… well, I think it’s because I expect it.. you know? I expect my health.. because I ACTUALLY take care of it. I expect a roof over my head because I bust my ass to provide for my family….etc The things I want, I jones for… aren’t material. sigh

  10. Hi Liz:)
    Excellent post and awesome food for thought, especially this holiday season where we “think” we have to keep up with our wealthy neighbors or friends, when in reality all we need to do is take this awesome advice you have shared!

    Thanks for sharing these fantastic tips to just be who we are.

  11. Liz, Great article – it’s great to look at things from a perspective of abundance and not scarcity. I used to be that way and when I changed my way of seeing my universe, everything changed. I do acknowledge there are things I can’t afford … today. Though that thought rarely crosses my mind because, if I truly want it I can afford it – sometimes it just takes some planning! Thank you for sharing.

  12. Such a great article for this time of year, and it follows my thinking this morning. Many of circle keep upgrade and renovating their place and I haven’t. I’ve made other choice to support people and create memories then to have the an update kitchen. I can feel their ‘thoughts’ about it sometimes and I’ve come to realize that is their issue not mine. My kitchen functions, everything is is working order.

    Thanks for putting things in preceptive.

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