Facebook & The Social Comparison Theory: Why Can’t That Ever Happen To Me?!

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jealous friend

How many times have you randomly logged into Facebook and scrolled your news feed all for it to tell you that another one of your friends is engaged? I know I personally feel salty sometimes because it makes me feel like I’m behind and am getting old! (I would never tell THEM this information though). Even so, I’m still happy for my friends and wish them all the best.

This situation begs to ask the question: Why do we compare ourselves to our peers based on what they post to social network sites?

These bittersweet feelings aren’t uncommon. Social psychologist Leon Festinger coined the social comparison theory in 1954 to explain these feelings. According to this theory, we see how we measure up to our peers in areas such as attractiveness, worth, success and more. It becomes a repetitive self-evaluation that could be detrimental to someone’s overall outlook on his or herself. Comparing yourself to others can make you doubt your self-worth and can lead to unhappiness because you don’t have what the next person has.

You really have to just sit back and realize that everyone is unique in their own way (as cliché as it sounds) and that life is full of choices. What happens to us in life is based off those choices as well as having access to opportunities. Some people may be afforded an opportunity that you weren’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t obtain the same end goal another way. It’s really a mental process that you have to consciously be aware of. You can be your own worst critic so it’s dire to promote and encourage yourself since there’s no guarantee that someone else will for you. Be happy for your friend’s new job or car and know that you can acquire the same things if you put in the effort and network. The sky is the limit so smile and go out there and get it!

SOURCE: Psychology Today

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