Where Do I Stand?

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On page 496 in our text book, we read about social comparisons and the question "where do I stand?" The text books tells us that by comparing ourselves with those around us, it "helps us to understand ourselves and our social worlds better." Our text book also tells us that there are two different types of social comparisons that we as people do. There is the upward social comparison where we compare ourselves to those who are "above" or "superior" to us in some way. When we compare ourselves in this way though, we often think that if they are able to achieve something really good then we will be able to do the same too. The other way is downward social comparison, we compare ourselves to those who we think are less than us or "inferior" to us. When we meet people who make us feel inferior to them though, we as people often tend to think that they have some exceptional talent and that's why they are able to do what they do.

Personally, I do the upward social comparison a lot. I have a tendency to compare myself to others who are smarter or more successful but instead of letting that discourage me, I use it to motivate myself to be better and to do better. I stop myself from making excuses like "oh, they're just naturally gifted and I'm not." Because saying "I can't" about yourself is just an excuse for yourself. All things are possible if you set your mind to it. But although comparing yourself to others may help to motivate you, it can also hurt you because that may cause you to overlook your self worth, thinking that you aren't good enough or you can't do what those other people are doing. So instead of asking "where do I stand in relation to someone else," ask "where do I stand in relation to where I hope to be."


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Comparing yourself to those that are more successful is definitely the more efficient form of comparison, but there is a third type of comparison that is most effective: self-comparison. Setting your own goals avoids self-pity and ensures that you don't stop until you achieve those goals. Self-comparison or self-reflection is helpful in achieving what makes you, as an individual, happy.

I really like the last sentence you said about instead of comparing yourself to what others have achieved, compare yourself to what you want to achieve. I agree that comparing yourself to someone more 'superior' can be motivational, but inversely it can have some very negative results. One needs to be careful when using comparisons, because it can end up in more negative feelings than positive. It is really all just how you view and perceive yourself and situations.

This is a great new approach to take. I sometimes compare myself with other, especially when I am competing with someone. I do discourage myself when someone is better at something than me. Your last sentence is really great advice. I'll try using that mindset more often!

I like the attitude! I like the way you think and don't just take what the book says as ultimate truth. I agree with you, but honestly I have the tendency to think I'm better than others. I see the other side of the scale and need to focus more like you do!

Same! I always think that there are certainly those better. But I then use that to make myself strive to be like "them". It's pretty easy to get sucked into the downword social comparison, though, if you fall on tough times or have a bad experience. It's always seems easier to resort to it.

"where do I stand in relation to someone else," ask "where do I stand in relation to where I hope to be." It's absolutely true.

This is totally reflect me! I admit that I always lack of self esteem and often think negative, feeling jealous of other smarter friends. But your points 'shoot' me in my head! I will try to be positive from now.

I like that you use social comparisons in a way to improve your outlook on you situation, but as far as I am concerned there is no reason to compare yourself to others; Be you, enjoy yourself! Like the common saying, "better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else," though talking about mimicry, I think it applies nicely here as well; Why compare yourself to others if there is to be no action to follow?

One needs to be careful when using comparisons, because it can end up in more negative feelings than positive.

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This page contains a single entry by vang0993 published on May 7, 2012 2:24 PM.

In ten years.... was the previous entry in this blog.

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