By: Sylvia Anderson
Comparisons like these are natural. In fact, according to Alexandra Jamieson, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, it's part of our evolutionary process.
The tricky part is that comparing yourself to others can have a dark side.
Jamieson says there is a theory, called the social comparison theory, which purports that you determine your own social and personal worth based on how you think you stack up against others. In effect, you're constantly making self-evaluations across a myriad of domains, including attractiveness, intelligence, and success.
With the rise of social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest), as well as reality television, it's really difficult to pull apart what's true and what is just "mind chatter."
Unfortunately, this mind chatter can have negative consequences for your self-worth, confidence and even your physical health. A recent study showed that one out of three people reported feelings of envy, misery, and loneliness after spending time looking at friends' Facebook profiles.
What are some ways you can begin to have more awareness about these negative comparison traps?
If you find yourself feeling bad or sad after viewing certain people's profiles, just unfollow them. There's no harm in that, and it will save you from feeling that perpetual shame... which, if you're a woman, you probably already have enough of.
Remind yourself (and your kids) to be aware and conscious of when you start to make those negative comparisons.
Finally, follow these social media "rules" to help protect your own confidence:
- Stay off social media when you're sad or depressed.
- If your child appears to be down or sad, do a non-social media activity with them.
- Go in with a plan: what are you going to look at, specifically?
- Give yourself a time limit and stick with it.
In the accompanying audio segment, Alexandra Jamieson discusses why comparing yourself to others can be dangerous, as well as simple ways to prevent falling into comparison traps.