Awareness, Choices, Personal Resonsibility, Quotes

Redefining Social Comparison When We Break Free From Social Norms

When we break free from the popular social norms to live what feels genuine in us, the way we see ourselves in comparison to others changes too. Social comparison provides us a way to evaluate our progress, and now, what used to work and provide guidance, no longer fits.

An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person.

Leo Tolstoy

The people that we used to think were living the life we wanted and we followed their lead, have lost their flavor for us. In fact, it now leaves a sour taste in our mouth. It’s hard to describe, but how they live and what they stand for just doesn’t feel right. It feels the complete opposite now. It feels counterproductive to feeling joy.

While social comparison can provide feedback on how our choices stack up next to the rest of the world, it’s a complex and intricate process that can become a slippery slope into negativity depending on how we compare ourselves.

Comparing ourselves upward to those thriving in life can motivate us to strive for our personal best. The people who value personal responsibility, a good work ethic, self-control, and respect can inspire us to be our best as well.

Conversely, downward comparison chooses people who are worse off than us and while sometimes it triggers pity, it also falsely perpetuates mediocrity and complacency. It feeds the idea that we’re doing fine with the way things are. No need to make any changes.

Upward comparison, when used properly is an excellent motivator as we’re inspired by the people who are living grounded with humble and respectful core values. The key is to not expect too much of ourselves, too soon. Being overly judgmental or critical can sabotage our progress and create a feeling of hopelessness. The challenging part becomes choosing the right people to compare with for our self-evaluation.

As we commit to live authentically, it’s a process of finding the people who are excelling in life in a genuine way, providing an example of living deeper than the material world and driving us to give our best effort to do a little better than we did yesterday. And although at times we may feel particularly alone in how we see and approach life, we’ll find the right people when we continue to be open and search for them.

While it may seem easier to follow the popular opinion as to what it means to be successful, affluent, admired, or happy, we are free to choose what’s best for us. That freedom allows us to create and apply our own custom-made checklist that promotes authentic living. It’s as unique as we are, and we don’t need to defend or explain that to anyone. When our measuring stick is based upon values that are fair and kind and respectful of others, there’s no doubt we’re on the right track. That you can trust to be certain! ❤

Keep it Simple,

Just Teri


4 thoughts on “Redefining Social Comparison When We Break Free From Social Norms”

  1. It’s crazy how society and media is so in-our-face. How can someone really strive to be themselves? People are told how to be and what to want. How do people learn who they are, and what THEY want to be? I totally agree, we need good role models, good mentors. Sometimes they are hard to find. I believe God created us for a specific purpose, he created us with skills and talents. We need to discover our abilities and skills and be who we are meant to be. Not who TV and Social Media tells us we should be. 😢
    You are correct Teri, we need chose those whom we admire and respect carefully.


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