Social Comparison Is Toxic

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In The How of Happiness, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us:

We found that the happiest people take pleasure in other people’s successes and show concern in the face of others’ failures. A completely different portrait, however, has emerged of a typical unhappy person—namely, as someone who is deflated rather than delighted about his peers’ accomplishments and triumphs and who is relieved rather than sympathetic in the face of his peers’ failures and undoings. … You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. People who pay too much attention to social comparisons find themselves chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure… The happier the person, the less attention she pays to how others around her are doing.”

Yikes! “You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. People who pay too much attention to social comparisons find themselves chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure.”

Similarly, in The Paradox of Choice, Dr. Barry Schwartz tells us:

“We evaluate the quality of our experiences by comparing ourselves to others. Though social comparison can provide useful information, it often reduces our satisfaction. So by comparing ourselves to others less, we will be satisfied more. Social comparison seems sufficiently destructive to our sense of well-being that it is worthwhile to remind ourselves to do it less. Because it is easier for a satisficer to avoid social comparison than for a maximizer, learning that “good enough” is good enough may automatically reduce concern with how others are doing.”

Remember: “Social comparison seems sufficiently destructive to our sense of well-being that it is worthwhile to remind ourselves to do it less.”

Also, remember: “‘good enough’ is good enough”. We want to be satisficers rather than maximizers.

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