Many things can make us happier or less happy, and there's no 'magic switch' that will automatically turn you into a happy and serene individual wearing life like a loose garment. That said, there are certainly some things that appear to play a particularly large role in affecting whether or not we're happy.
Social Comparison Theory
One theory that has been put forward as having a lot to do with how happy we ultimately are is something called 'social comparison theory.' Postulated initially by social psychologist Leon Festinger, "The Social Comparison Theory" is the idea that most of our self-worth comes from our comparing ourselves to others. Many times this is with people we know nothing about. While there are many aspects of this theory, the basic idea as it relates to happiness is that many of us aren't happy because we are always comparing ourselves with others who are better off. In other words, while you might be incredibly wealthy and successful, you won't feel that way if the people you spend the most time with are actually more wealthy. Do not minimize the time you spend reading and watching the lives of those better off. Similarly, you may be dissatisfied with your relationship if you are only seeing the masks your friends are wearing. This goes for the car and house you own.
Making Matters Worse…
Regrettably, today's lifestyles being internet based are designed to make matters worse. It started with Facebook, allowing us to show the ideal version of our own lives. This means that we are continually seeing the best of life materializing in the lives of our friends. This may consist of spectacular holidays, party's, vacations, new homes, or advancements in their careers. The list can go on forever. At the same time, the media is continually showing us the lifestyles of the rich and famous – people who want for nothing.
How to Overcome Social Comparison Theory
So how do you overcome social comparison? The obvious is to eliminate Facebook, though many of us can not comprehend that concept. It also seems like double talk coming from someone who is starting a social media site. The irony did not escape me.
To overcome comparing yourself with others demands that you focus on your own dreams and goals and keep a realistic view of your life as it compares with others. Yes, that person has become incredibly successful but is it exactly what you would want to do? Focus on your dreams and how they differ from those of other people.
Meanwhile, make sure to be grateful for what you do have, and enjoy what you have. Do not waste your time with words like could, should, and if only. Think about what you have overcome and accomplished in your life. Seeing that in the right light. What is there that you can not achieve moving forward?
The Good Life Mall is designed to be a community where we can show our selves as we see ourselves and get positive feedback and help to soar to new heights.