“Comparison – a thief of pleasure.” – This sparkling truth from former US president Theodore Roosevelt is relevant even nowadays. Why do we constantly compare ourselves with others?
In the 50-s a psychologist Leon Festinger had been studying this question. He found out that comparing, we can feel ourselves on the top of success or crash down from a cliff of disappointment. The social environment constantly corrects us, we look at others and think, “Yeah, that’s how I should live, where I should go on vacation..” But we always forget that it is important to be ourselves and not to copy the invented by society ideal. Seriously, do you want to be “like others”?
The desire to compare catastrophically grows along with the development of social networks. With every minute of scrolling the newsfeed on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram a genius of self-jacking awakens in us. After all, someone right now is lying in sun in the CanaryIslands and is floating on a snow-white yacht in the turquoise waters of the ocean, and we’re sitting in the office or are busy with household chores. And it seems that the whole world is having fun while we quietly stand aside. But it is likely that it is not so. And now someone is looking at our lives in social networks with the same admiration as we look at our “perfect” friends.
Here’s an example of social networks impact. No one invited a girl to the party. She stayed at home alone. The next day her news feed on Facebook is full of photos of the party. Her mood was completely bad and self-esteem fell below zero. All these smiling faces of her nice girlfriends who have been dancing all night with their cool guys make her feel unattractive. Nobody told her that they have been dancing too damn bad. And it was not so perfect as she thought. Social networks are built on a play of our imagination. And it’s great, but the only question is, how does this affect our inner world.
Social psychologists conducted a study among 300 American students. For 14 days the students had to provide reports on how much time they spent in social networks and what symptoms of depression they had in those moments.
Results: the participants (of both sexes) who spent more time on Facebook, showed higher rates of depression, which was exacerbated by the constant social comparison.
It’s very sad, but we can not control the process of comparison, it is happening on an unconscious level. This problem becomes more complicated by the fact that people in social networks only show their positive side: embellish their stories, photos are filtered. And their profile becomes so attractive and eye-catching.
But we forget that this is just a picture, just a few frames of supposedly perfect life. The fact that our tape is not full of a bunch of photos of spas and selfies from the gym, does not mean that we are boring people who have absolutely nothing to tell others. We should keep something for ourselves, and not to put it on display for dozens of people who are not even our best friends. Being true for yourself and knowing that you’re probably better in something, what can be cooler?
Of course, we adon’t mean that Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are evil and aren’t worth going there. But if your mood gets worse after watching all those happy couples, exotic travels, cute babies and beautiful girls and guys, then you always have the option to turn off the computer and to go for a walk. After all, as Remarque said, “No matter what happens – do not take it seriously. A few things in the world can be important. ”