Did you know comparison is a fundamental human impulse? We would have great difficulty shutting this down completely. At its origin, comparison was meant for us to assess threats with others, and is an important skill to have. Comparison can at times be helpful, providing us with increased motivation from other people’s achievements. However with increases in social media use, social comparison grows. We related information about others to ourselves, yet the danger is we now compare ourselves to others.
With comparison, it is often based on those who are similar to us. It takes place with peers, friends or those of similar age and interests. We can then compare negatively or positively. If we compare to someone who inspired us, our behaviour causes self-improvement. Yet on the other hand, our self is eroded when we compare and feel immeasurable. Our mental health through comparison can be seriously damaged as a result of negative comparisons. When we rely on positive feedback from others to inform our sense of self, we are at a dangerous risk for depression.
“When we rely on positive feedback from others to inform our sense of self, we are at a dangerous risk for depression. “
The pleasure principle:
The times we tend to check social media are in our reflective downtimes. This further emphasises comparisons when we are faced with highlight reels of people’s successes. Our brain is wired to seek rewards, and this is heightened during the age of 18-25. Social rewards trigger dopamine to be released when we receive attention or positive feedback. This activates our brains reward system, much like any addiction pattern. We can become addicted to the release of dopamine and seek this out.
Stay tuned as we talk more about how to beat comparison!