It is hard to make money. It some countries, it is not unusual for people to have second, third, and even fourth jobs. Everywhere we go, we can see that the average paycheck just cannot meet the rise in inflation. It does not matter if your a man or a woman, single or married — one thing is for sure you’ve got bills to pay. Every month, almost everybody needs to set aside some cash to settle the electricity and water bills, apartment rental, car loan, student loan, cable t.v. bills, telephone bills, school tuition for the kids, the daily parking ticket, groceries, and the list goes on.
No wonder, most are are trying to find new ways of making money. Not just to pay the bills, but so that they can have more money to buy things. Most people think that they are not making enough money to support their family. So after eight or nine hours at the office, they immediately rush to the next job or to a part-time business so that they can make ends meet, and hopefully, earn a few dollars more.
There are also people who still believe and run after the American Dream: a nice home in the suburbs… having two to three children that study in good private schools… a lasting marriage… a wife who does not need to work (but can work if the kids gets older)… a family station wagon for the weekends, and a dog. In their pursuit of the dream, the constant struggle they face is still about making enough money.
Then again, there are individuals who work hard and earn money not just for their own pleasure and satisfaction, but also to compete with their neighbors. “Keeping up with the Joneses” — has become their motto, motivation, and fear, all at the same time. They are always anxious about looking the part, or about fitting in, and of course, in being welcomed within a group that is considered well-off, elite, or privileged. Perhaps more that their desire to have money, they are driven by their need for a high social status.
Status anxiety is the emotional disturbance felt by people who desire to “climb the social ladder” and an exaggerated fear or focus on how they are perceived by others. Status anxiety is the feeling of discontent or insecurity of a person in terms of his or her economic standing or place in the social pecking order.
Climbing up the social ladder can be hard, especially if one cannot climb at all. It is impossible to reach a certain “higher” status without having faults, problems, and what we call “bumps along the roads”. In dealing with status anxiety, it somehow gives an idea of people to “climb” the social ladder and experience the anxieties that come from a focus on how one is perceived by others.
A lot of factors can cause a person to have status anxiety. High expectations, snobbery, lack of self-esteem, and materialism can lead to status anxiety. The ever-increasing demands from the family… having a feeling of always being the “outsider” in an exclusive group… and being looked down upon by others who see themselves as social and economic superiors — these can trigger status anxiety. Being overly dependent on the approval of others is also a cause of anxiety. The lack of self-esteem makes a person depend on others in order to have a sense of approval, worth, and accomplishment.
Coping with anxiety takes having an intimate knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know one’s limits in terms of finances and social standing. Coping with anxiety is all about believing in the value of one’s self and the value of others around you — and how every one needs another person to live a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.