Chapter 13 is all about social psychology, which is the study of how people influence others' behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes-for bot good and bad. For the most part, others have positive influences over us. But one idea that was introduced right away and captured my attention was the social comparison theory. This theory is based on the idea that we evaluate our abilities and beliefs by comparing them with those of others. Social comparisons can be made in two different ways, upward social comparisons ( comparing ourselves to people we deem superior) and downward social comparisons (comparing ourselves to people we deem inferior). This immediately made me think of the pressure for perfection in our society and how we are taught to be competitive at a very young age.
In high school, I was really close with two people who were twins. But unlike most twins that I knew, they spent extremely little time together and the competition to appear to be the "better" twin was almost uncomfortable to witness. The girl twin was bubbly, extremely social, and a sweetheart to everyone, except for her brother. The boy twin was a little bit shyer, but still was really involved in school. But only when I would be at their house did I experience the depth of the competition. They both tried to do better in school than the other, and have better relations with not only their friends, but their parents as well. No one told these two when they were young to compete against each other, so what made them start? Is the social pressures of society becoming too much at a young age?
This article from MSN outlines how striving for perfection for the wrong reasons can be unproductive, and also driven by failure. I thought it was really fitting for chapter 13, and also helped explain the reasoning for our need to be perfect.
If there is problems with the link, just go to msn.com and search for "When striving for perfection is a problem"