There is a widespread bad habit. In fact, it is common to suffer almost from childhood, a place where our parents may compare us with others, highlighting what others achieve and we do not. Also in adulthood are common comparisons by people who, with good or bad faith, highlight what others do or have and what they say we lack.
Daring to be different seems to be little more than a challenge in a society that reinforces the normative. Moreover, sometimes not even we ourselves seek to make a difference with respect to others; but it is enough to leave a little of what for many is “socially expected” so that someone will point the finger at us instantly.
No one is like another. Neither better nor worse, is another; and the comparisons are odious, said Jean Paul-Sartre. However, the human being has as a weak point to compare and compare others. It seems almost a vice, a very contagious obsession that undermines personal growth and destroys identities.
Because whoever compares us with others, and this will have been lived by the majority at some time, does not do so to praise that which makes us unique and special; it does so to highlight what we lack, what fails or is not normative.
The comparison is a poison for self-esteem. It is already above all if we exercise it ourselves, if we have the bad habit of looking at our surroundings to give us value. Now, just as harmful is that others do it, that it is our family or our partner who likes to distort our image, potential or character when we compare ourselves with others.
“Uniformity is death; diversity is life.”
-Mijail A. Bakunin-
People who compare us with others: reasons why they do it
The theory of social comparison, enunciated by the social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954, points us to something interesting. When a person is left without obvious clues about their effectiveness, worth or characteristics, he puts his attention on those around him. In this way, you get a reference about yourself to make an assessment. Thus, and in a certain way, the human being seeks to define himself taking also reference to the rest.
We know that this is a source of constant frustration. However, why do some people compare us with others? Let’s give some examples on this topic. Imagine a mother who always compares her two daughters. The younger one reminds her, almost every day, that at her same age, the older sister already had a good job, stable partner and the first child.
Also, and if it was not enough, this same girl suffers the weight of comparisons by her partner. This indicates to her that she is almost as insecure as a co-worker or that she physically resembles one of her cousins more and more. Something like this undoubtedly has a determining effect on the self-esteem of this young woman. This type of verbalizations undermine and create insecurities and even complexes.
As Confuncio said, the complexes come as passengers. At first they are mere guests but in the end they remain as real masters. And if they are also others who reinforce and feed them daily, the consequences can be very draining. Let’s see, then why they do it, why there are people who compare us with others.
Lack of Emotional Intelligence
Those who compare us with others present above all a low Emotional Intelligence. We must be very clear about this aspect so as not to be overwhelmed by this common practice. Thus, those people who resort with such agility to the use of comparisons lack that empathy with which to understand that each being is unique, exceptional in character, essence, presence and values.
If they do not understand this reality, they do not connect with us, there is no respect, they are not able to put themselves in our place. Likewise, another principle of Emotional Intelligence is the correct communication. Within this approach something that is always taken into account is that the use of comparisons is not valid, let alone help.
If we want to call a person’s attention to something about their behavior, we will talk about their behavior without reference to third parties.
An example, we can not tell a child:
“You are as clumsy in mates as your brother Pablo, you have no remedy.”
Instead of using this statement, it would be correct to say “I see that you have problems in math, but I think that if you try a little and ask what you do not understand, you will have overcome it”.
People who do not give value to what they have
People who compare us with others, possibly, do not appreciate what they have. It is done by parents who think that the children of others are more applied. It does that person who does not appreciate his partner as he deserves. Even more, we do not value ourselves when we compare ourselves with others.
Thus, in a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by doctors Sebastian Deri and Shai Davidai, they indicate that those who have the bad habit of comparing themselves or their close relatives with third parties, do not appreciate what they are and What they have. Their pessimistic and non-conformist bias makes them never finish appreciating their loved ones as they are.
And something like that is highly problematic.
People who compare us with others make use of emotional manipulation
Last but not least, we have a third option. Those who compare us with others may also have other reasons, which are none other than those of manipulating us and undermining our self-esteem. In fact, it is a common tactic in those who wish to exercise control, because constant comparison is an exercise in humiliation and disparagement.
Those people who compare us with others lack those basic tools of sociability, respect and empathy. Avoid giving them power, do not allow these behaviors and always defend our individuality. Being unique, different and unique is our best value.
“I live: that is, I differentiate myself from everyone else”.