Quit Feeling Bad About Yourself

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When discussing social comparison, the book defines upward social comparison as though we compare ourselves with people who seem superior to us in some way. The book claims that when we engage in upward social comparison, we may feel better because we conclude "if he can achieve that, I bet I can achieve it too." I definitely find myself doing this, especially when it comes to school. I often times feel this way when I know that my friend did well in the course that I have to take next semester. For example, I have been trying to figure out which science class to take in the Fall. I have been asking numerous people what sciences they have taken. Multiple people have told me they easily succeeded in BIOL 1003, therefore I am seriously considering taking it. On the other hand, I can disagree with what the book has to say on upward social comparison. When I compare myself to someone superior, I sometimes find myself feeling bad about myself. I will find myself envying others for good traits they possess. I then point out the flaws in myself, convincing myself that my traits are not as good as that person's. I believe that society has taught us to think this way, especially when it comes to advertisements and celebrities. I always compare my appearance to people in the media, but I just need to remember that most of it is fake.


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This is a really important thing to consider. I feel as though we have been brought up with our parents telling us we can be whatever we want. While this seems ambitious, it often sets us up for disappointment. Furthermore, I think constantly being concerned about yourself can lead to being less considerate of others. Having worked in a kindergarten class, I have found that the phrase "you get what you get, and you don't have a fit" is a very good line to use to curb this behavior.

I agree with you that society has almost formed us to compare ourselves to others. This how we are graded, how we decide what is normal for us to do, and many other things that are involved in our daily lives. Comparing ourselves has been embedded in our brains as we are raised and learn new things.

this upward social comparison if used in positive way (if he can do it, so can I) is definitely a good strategy for boosting one's confidence. However, more times than not I find my self using it in a less positive light. This probably largely has to do with the fact that we are bombarded by advertisements of the ideal way to act, look, and think. This probably also has to do with my age. As a young person still defining myself, it is easy to use social comparison as a way of developing my identity. However this is not ideal because it causes us to try to fit into a certain mold. That being said, social comparison is not always negative and can be used in a positive way.

I agree with your idea. Even though upward social comparison can be used in a positive way, it hardly applies to me. I tend to be less optimistic when comparing myself with people better than me. Is it because of my personality or the social environment? I'm really not sure. I think it is not easy for me to simply believe that if one can do it,so can I, because a person's success often times is the outcome of complex factors that operates together such as one's personality, resources, personal skills, social connections, opportunities and so forth. Such success thus may be hard for others to replicate. Anyway, I think social comparison is quite helpful to us as it drives us to constantly improve ourselves and as a result we are more likely to make achievements.

I like you last point about "When I compare myself to someone superior, I sometimes find myself feeling bad about myself. I will find myself envying others for good traits they possess..." Something my mom always told me in high school is that there will always be someone better than you, but you just need to face that fact and become the best that you can be. I wish everyone could live like that and quit comparing themselves to each other.

I love your thoughts on how society influences us to think certain ways when comparing ourselves to others. I have been finding myself much more aware of these traps as I have gone about my first year in college because I have noticed so many of my friends as well as team mates on the track team who are simply becoming more stressed and even exhausted due to their constant decisions to start comparing themselves to others. We are fortunate to have a great coach who always tells us to think like one does in yoga and "focus on your own mat" and own life situations rather than comparing yourself to the person in front of or behind you.

I like the ideas that you wrote in your entry about social upward comparison. It happens to me too that I feel like if my friends did well on a certain class I can do or better than them. This tendency often becomes a source of stress for me because I constantly compare myself with them and when I do it badly I hate myself. I know it is not good for me but I can't stop. I would say that it is certainly true that comparing with others can be a source of motivation but also can be demotivative.

There is interesting research on this topic...And it often has to do with things we are interested in...So if someone does well in something we are interested in, we feel bad about ourselves, but if it is something we are not interested in, then we feel good for them!

I'm glad you argued both for and against the book's claim--we're already using the concepts of falsifiability and rival hypotheses, even on blog posts! And I agree with both of your statements about upward social comparison; I think we all have felt the results of it at some point in our lives or another.

I used to highly value this idea of upward comparison when i played the card game Magic the Gathering (which i plan to get involved in again over the summer). I think a huge factor in why i valued it in MTG even though i was immensely interested and involved in it would relate to the idea of competition and sportsmanship. I fell good for them when they win but i also try to use what i learn from the losses to people that perform better than me to improve my own game.

I can see where you are coming from. It is inevitable that we all compare ourselves to others to at least some degree. It is part of our psychological make up. Understanding that those differences are what make you an individual is important.

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This page contains a single entry by rohli019 published on April 24, 2012 12:37 PM.

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