Social Comparison, Two-sided Sword That We Should Be Careful To

Social Comparison, Two-sided Sword That We Should Be Careful To

Living in society sometimes cannot be easy as I thought it would be. There are lots of fun things that won’t be fun if we don’t have any friends or acquaintance to do with, such as watching movies, hangout, workout every morning in the weekend, etc. But, the presence of others, especially the significant one, is more influencing on how we see ourselves than how we see theirs.

Social Comparison, Two-sided Sword That We Should Be Careful To

We, humans, tend to look and want to know at other people’s life and compare it to our own. This tendency is called social comparison. With social comparison, we can make our self-esteem become higher than it should be. This kind of self-helping is very important because we have to be able to control and stabilize our self-esteem. If we don’t have a good self-esteem, we tend to view ourselves as a worthless being and disappoint at our own life time by time. If it happens to us all along, trust me, suicidal intention is not an impossible thing that will come to our mind, though it doesn’t have to be a high intention. So, in order to prevent it, we tend to do the “social comparison” thing when we face things that is “bad” for our perspective. For example, when we achieved low score on exam, we tend to find our classmates who have lower score than us. When we find it, it feels like a fresh air for us and just like a whisper that tells us not to worry because we are still not the worst of all. This kind of phenomenon maybe become helpful in times where we are on the way to “frustrated-perspective-of-our-own-life” thing. This kind of tendency also can make us calmer and still able to view the rest of the day in a joyful perspective. When we know that lots of our friends doesn’t get selected to the scholarship selection like us or something precious as what happens to us, we won’t feel so bad to ourselves and we still can leave the selection area with not-a-bad mood.

But, can you imagine if this kind of thing is happening all the times we face the failure? Yup, there won’t be any evaluation that we do to ourselves. If we keep denying our failure and don’t evaluate our mistake, we won’t learn new things from our failure and we keep drowning in the same mistakes that we made. Beside cannot evaluate ourselves, we will have a tendency to deny all of the bad reality and just cannot accept what is the real deal that we’re facing at the moment. We will become a person who afraid to dream high because we don’t want to fall or don’t want to accept the fall and rise again. This kind of mentality is not suit for us to face the real world when we grow up and we won’t be able to responsible for our own life, moreover to our own family. Those are impacts if we use social comparison to others that is in a lower condition than us. How about if we use it to compare ourselves and others that is in a higher condition than us?

“Work until your idols become your rivals”. That quote is already known by lots of people. Inspiring quote that makes us feel need to find and determine a significant person to become someone to compare to. The aim of this quote is to make us feel motivated to work harder and harder while hoping someday we can stand equally with our idols. This is, of course, an absolutely good thing if we do it in a right portion. Because, by having sort of rival and idols to be pursued, we will break the limit that we thought we had. I believe, there is no limit to our potential. The limit is only set by our mindset that makes us feel “that’s an impossible thing for me”. This thing becomes much better by another quote that sounds “result won’t betray the effort”. We tend to aim to get a result that will bring us to our idols. By knowing and believing that eventually what we work for will be paid off, we will work harder and harder to gain it.

If we keep comparing ourselves to other people when we do the same effort as them but they gain much more, that’s where social comparison is killing us slowly but sure. That is the background why people feeling envy toward others. Besides that, when this occurs, we tend to blame ourselves of our own capability or blame the destiny that is unfair. When this occurs on and on, our self-esteem definitely will be devastated. We will not have any confidence in doing anything because we always compare ourselves to someone higher than us and we don’t even think about how far progress that we make until now.

By knowing how good and bad social comparison can be, hopefully we can know ourselves more and use social comparison wisely when we need it. If we can use it in an appropriate way, social comparison can be very helpful, on the contrary, if we can’t use it in an appropriate way, we will go down to the bottom of desperation of our life. So, live your life and use every single feature of our psychological aspect appropriately to help ourselves, hopefully we can spread it and help others who also experience the same kind of thing as us.


Ilham Phalosa Reswara