Getting to “The Bag” Is Making Me Sad: How to Overcome Comparison”

By: Phallon Foxworth, APC

We are living in a culture of girl bosses, black girls in luxury, and focusing on getting to “the bag.” We can easily find ourselves under strenuous amounts of pressure to reach certain goals. So many are trying to blend in with this particular facet of today’s culture. But what happens when we have a hard time getting there? Many of us may feel shame, disappointment, frustration, or depression because the lives we are currently living do not fit the lives we ideally want – or feel we should want because of what we see others experiencing.

The Truth About “The Bag”

The need or desire for “the bag” is a byproduct of centuries of oppression, lack of access to resources, and systemic structures that were put in place intentionally. While financial security can very well be a goal a person may have, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that in the face of increases in rent, gas prices, groceries, and essential medications being unaffordable for many people living in the United States, especially Black women who despite being the most educated in the country still only make 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes, having to take on multiple jobs or a job that is undesirable but higher-paying has become a necessity.

It is unfortunate and unacceptable.

But outside of this being a social justice issue. The drive to get the bag is also influenced by another truth.

Social Media

Social media has often been referred to as a “highlight reel.” The high moments (i.e. engagements, new cars, homes) and luxurious moments (i.e. unboxing videos, “get ready with me” videos) are often center-field. We underestimate how much even brief moments of scrolling can impact us.

One important thing to keep in mind is, the people we follow also live lives that are imperfect, no matter what they might present on their platform. And no matter what amount of money they


It can be helpful to curate your social media timeline to content that is more inspiring by following pages that post motivational messages, tips, and helpful information. Or follow content that you enjoy such as cooking videos if you like learning new recipes for example.

When you’re comparing where you are to where other people are, the disappointment from having a goal you haven’t achieved yet isn’t just about that. The pressure can also be coming from seeing someone else achieve a goal they set for themselves. Sometimes those aren’t even goals we want, but the simple fact that another person seems to be making progress is enough to amplify the pressure or disappointment. It’s unfair because you are comparing what you see as their success and progress to what you are experiencing.

The real question is: What do you want for your life?

Have patience.

Patience is the simplest form of faith. To have patience is to believe that you currently have or will have what is necessary to get you to where you need to be. We can become so wrapped up in the future that we forget the present. We forget about the things we once wanted being in our lives right now. We want to rush to the outcome without enjoying the process. When you plant a tree, do you tell it to grow faster?

One helpful perspective to remember is, “if you rush it, you’ll ruin it.”

Gratitude & Self-Compassion

Gratitude means to be thankful and appreciative.

When we are weighed down by the pressure of getting “the bag”, our focus lingers on what we do not have. If this sounds like you, I encourage you write down all of the things you are grateful for as a reminder. Self-compassion is being kind to yourself and extending yourself grace. There are plenty of people in the world who can choose to criticize us, don’t add yourself to that list.

It’s okay to want more.

However, it is important to examine the reasons why you want more. If those reasons are coming from a genuine internal desire then make the game plan! If the reasons are stemming from what others have or what others are doing, you may want to think further about that being your

motivation. Do great things because you want to do great things.

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