It must have occurred to you to compare yourself with others. We all do that. Finally, we compare our bodies and faces with others or look at the differences between ourselves and others in the field of work and education. Social comparison is always present and is formed in us subconsciously or consciously. This has led to theories of comparison by the psychological community. In this article, we will talk more about social comparison. It is a practical and interesting topic. Do not miss.
What is the theory of social comparison?
Comparing puts a heavy burden on our psyche. When we compare ourselves to siblings or neighbors and co-workers, a variety of emotions arise in us. That is why the world of psychology has paid special attention to this issue and some theories have been proposed by experts about it.
The history of comparison theory goes back many years. In 1954, Leon Festinger was the first to introduce a theory called social comparison. He believed that people have an inner tendency to evaluate themselves and compare themselves with others. “We all have different judgments about ourselves and we make social comparisons to evaluate ourselves,” he said. In fact, in order to judge and evaluate ourselves, we try to measure our position in relation to others. do you accept?
For example, when you write your name in a music class, after a few sessions and as the class progresses, you start comparing yourself to your classmates. You evaluate everyone and you want to see which classmates are stronger and which ones are weaker. You may even compare your abilities with those of other instrumentalists.
Comparing ourselves to a good person and a first grader is also something we usually all do and we want to find a measure that shows us where we stand in terms of ability and skill. Are you careful? If we are caught that we are better than other students, our motivation and effort will increase.
Leon Festinger says:
We humans enter the process of comparing ourselves to others in order to find the right evaluation of ourselves by finding patterns.
Types of social comparisons
The process of social theory says that people evaluate their abilities, attitudes, and behaviors by comparing themselves to others. In most cases, we compare ourselves to people around us, and in general, we encounter either the better ones or the worse ones.
1. Compared to the best of the best
Sometimes we compare those who we think are better than we are. With the formation of such a comparison, the sense of progress and improvement comes to life in us. By looking for someone better than ourselves, we also want to elevate ourselves and become better.
For example, you join a school basketball team and find that one or more of your members are stronger. At first, you may feel a little upset and feel behind others. However, comparison can be a way to try to achieve them and become stronger. As you practice, you will find that you can improve, and that you can act like, or even better than, others. Of course, other scenarios can occur; For example, discouraging yourself from falling behind other people may demoralize you.
2. Compared to the worse ones
Sometimes we compare ourselves to those who are less accomplished than we are. This method of comparison is usually to boost our morale and self-confidence. Of course, no one is superior to another; But it must be admitted that the abilities of people are different and everyone can perform better in the field and discipline.
For example, you compare yourself to your friends and you see that you are an athlete and you have a good body. Such a feeling gives you the courage to participate in marathons. When you enter the race, you will encounter a multitude of people who are much more prepared than you. Maybe not. In any case, comparing oneself to the worse ones is a way to progress and prosper.
What are the benefits of social comparison?
As mentioned earlier, social comparisons can take many forms in our lives. Comparing yourself to the worse and the weaker may boost your self-confidence. Maybe it creates a good image and feeling about us. The positive aspect of comparing ourselves with the superior and the better is that we have the motivation to try harder and change our position to reach their destination. Positive energy from comparing yourself to better people is a way to grow.
However, this is not always the case, and comparing oneself to others can have disadvantages in both cases (ie, comparing oneself to oneself and comparing oneself to oneself).
What are the disadvantages of social comparison?
Theodore Roosevelt was a former US president. He has an interesting interpretation of social comparison. In his opinion, the comparison is a “thief of happiness”. He is right. Sometimes comparing it does not have the magical and positive effects mentioned in the previous section and may lead to the formation of very bad feelings in us.
Excessive competition with others is a negative result of comparison. If we want to compete with others too much and reach better people than ourselves in various fields, we will become worn out and tired, and peace will be taken away from the land of our psyche. Sometimes our spirits get dull, our self-esteem drops, and we get bad feelings like jealousy.
Comparing ourselves with others can sometimes lead to cognitive errors and the formation of false prejudices in our minds; For example, sometimes comparing ourselves to people who are weaker than us reinforces the idea that we are better than others. While perhaps a comparison with many other people in that field shows that we are not really the best and most special in that particular field.
Have you paid attention to the relationship between social networks and comparisons?
Some psychologists believe that social networks have a high capacity to form comparisons between people and can have devastating effects on people. These networks are a place to display colorful joys, successes, appearances and achievements. On this account, people are more likely to compare themselves with others when they see them in this context. Not being like others or not being on the path to similar experiences may lower self-esteem and self-esteem.
Of course, some psychologists also believe that such cyberspace is a way to improve morale and self-esteem. Why? Because people feel better by recording their happy moments in these contexts. Remembering happy days and good pictures of life also brings joy. What do you think? Social networks seem to be tools and not inherently negative or positive. In terms of comparison, they may have negative effects on some people and positive effects on others. do you agree?
at the end
As you have read, the world of comparison is very complex. Comparing ourselves sometimes has a profound effect on our behaviors. Why? Because by comparing ourselves with the better and the worse, different emotions sprout in us that affect our attitudes, behaviors and desires.
Some believe that the best thing to do is to compare ourselves only to ourselves. Sounds logical and relaxing. Isn’t that so? The fact is that we humans come from different educational backgrounds, and our innate abilities and characteristics also differ from each other. In general, comparing ourselves to others seems wrong and can not be the right way to analyze our situation in different situations. do you accept? what is your opinion?