The Social Status Trap

Social Status is around us all the time.  It may be more subtle than it used to be, but it’s still there.  We feel the pressure to at least keep up with Joneses, if not to actually pass them up.  We all want the apparent ease and comfort that “success” brings.  And I agree, success does bring ease and comfort.

The challenge is in getting clear about what you want.  If you are expecting financial success to make you fee “whole”, like you have somehow “arrived”, you will never find a ladder high enough.

Many people get stuck in this trap.  “This next bigger, more expensive house will make me feel like I’ve made it, I’m just sure it will.  Ah, but then when they get there some intangible thing is still missing.  So the quest continues up another ladder to another level.  And it keeps continuing.

Here’s the real problem.  Money, wealth, houses, cars, arm candy… none of it is the answer.  We are trying to solve an internal quest with external symbols.  The symbols are informative.  The tell us important things about what we are seeking…BUT…they are still nothing but symbols, and not the end goals.

What kind of house do you want?  Make a list of the qualities, things, colors; all the elements.  Now look at your list from a different perspective.   What do all those things represent on a more internal level?  Are they about peace, or sharing, or beauty, or security?  List all the qualities you are seeking.

That’s what you really want, that second list.  You can have that list, and your dreams of success have been trying to tell you what’s on that list.  You’ve just gotten trapped into thinking it’s about the accoutrements on the first list, instead of the essence, your essence, your heart and soul..

And here’s the truth, you can have the core without the trappings, but you can’t get the core simply by amassing the trappings.  You have to do the inner work.  Maybe that will be easier than you think once you get clear on the actual goal?

One thought on “The Social Status Trap

  1. Arthur Breur

    What a great way to look at what we THINK we want, versus what is much more likely to provide satisfaction. I know may people who are climbing the ladder thinking that there’s a place where they’ll stop and find no more rungs above them, not realizing that no matter how high you are on the ladder, there’s almost certainly still going to be more ladder to climb. Thinking in terms of what we are looking to get FROM the things we seek makes so much more sense.

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