... average folks are constantly faced with images of people who seem to live lives that vastly surpass the quality of their own. These images are put in front of people in order to stoke the human being’s natural tendency to envy its fellow man, and it works. The goal is to get people to strive to meet the standards displayed in these images, and to spend accordingly to close the gap. The end result is a culture in which the image of an elite few has a tremendous impact on the way everyone else seeks to live their lives, as so many are willing to go to almost absurd lengths to close the perceived gap between themselves and the ideal individuals they see on television or on social media. Unfortunately, most fail to realize that the ideal lives they seek to mimic are mere facades, often generated at great personal cost to their owners. Too many are content with the mere appearance of success (tenuous as it may be) and too few are willing to take the time to ensure that solid, legitimate foundations underlie the image.
Emphasis mine. Via Why You Should Contain Your Envy.