Keeping Up

For years, Keeping Up with the Kardashians has aired on TV. It’s consistently been renewed for 11 seasons, with viewers clamoring for the next episode. The show presents these wealthy, princess-type women in situations showing their personal lives and trials and tribulations. It’s hard to take their conflicts and struggles seriously given the resources they have. Unfortunately, the show has bolstered the concept of consumerism and aspirational living to the Nth degree.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians isn’t the only way we’re encouraged pressured to keep up. I’ve been doing this blogging challenge for the month of April and, to be honest, it’s tough. Each day when I write a new post, I feel satisfaction for a split second, until I realize that I have to write another one for the next day! This challenge is reminding me of the years I devoted to my college and graduate school studies, always having an assignment and never being able to catch up.

Keeping up feels like a combination of peer or societal pressure, self-fulfillment, and status. I remember times in my mid-twenties when I so desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted to achieve certain metrics (like a building with a doorman) only to prove to my so-called friends that I was advancing in my career. They all lived in DC and NYC so it was common to have a doorman, but in LA, it’s not customary. Still, I wanted that. Or, when I was in high school and wished to get out of my small town and go to boarding school. I researched tons of uppity boarding schools that allowed horses in Santa Barbara and Connecticut, only to be refused by my parents. (I’ve never owned a horse, nor am I a horsey person!)

There’s nothing inherently wrong with aspirational living or goal setting. I make vision boards and hold onto accountability practices, and actually encourage my clients to do the same. However, trying to keep up becomes a problem when we lose ourselves in favor of someone else’s dreams.

Keeping up has lots in common with trying to fit in. There’s the sense of being normal and wanting to match with peers. On the other hand, there’s a superiority to having better things or being above the crowd. It can breed an unhealthy competition among friends and neighbors that’s often unmanageable. Sometimes you might want to lead the crowd and have them keep up with you. Keeping up might also be in our minds, and nobody really cares. Yesterday, I wrote about your mind being imprisoned, and I wonder if the keeping up concept is a real problem or a figment of your thoughts.

Sometimes keeping up is a major struggle, and we need extra help in order to make ends meet. Asking for help can be tough on our pride, but when trying to keep up with schoolwork or job responsibilities, it usually pays off.

The issue of keeping up starts when you lose awareness of your why. 

Ask yourself:

  • Are you trying to keep up to prove a point (to yourself)?
  • Does keeping up indicate that you’ve arrived or made it?
  • In your effort to keep up, are you forgoing basic needs?
  • Have you stopped having fun while you’re dead set on keeping up?
  • Do you need some extra help?

Please visit my coaching website, Coaching By Nina Rubin.

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Twitter: @ninarubin1

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Photography and graphics by Z Penguin Designs. Thank you!

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