by Antonella De Giuli
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Being always connected has a price, and sometimes it is our self-esteem that pays for it, maybe in the moments in which, surfing the internet. On social networks, we come across excerpts of the seemingly beautiful life of successful people, friends, colleagues, or simply neighbors of home.
The actress of our age who in the photos on Instagram shows ten years younger. The colleague, who on weekends, publishes images of travel and dinners in famous restaurants, the friend who fills the social profile with photos with clothes in line with the new trends … nowadays, there are so many opportunities to discover “having something less” than others. Despite our ability to rationally evaluate, in the face of exhilarating images, which manage to make those possibilities that we do not have almost tangible, we can instinctively experience a sense of “lack” of envy or resentment. The image strikes us with such immediacy that we cannot take the right distance to consider it for what it is. A simple image and small or large negative sensations can make their way in us (frustration, the feeling of “not having enough,” sense of inferiority, irritation …).
The “need” for comparison
The need for comparison, typical of human beings, has very ancient origins. Primitive man needed to belong to a group because there were so many risks at hand that one person alone would not have been able to cope with them. At that time, it was necessary to do everything to be accepted, to obtain and maintain the protection of the group, and it was natural to feel the need to deal with others continually, to have the confirmation of being adequate, of being up to par, of being useful.
Centuries have passed, but our mind has not changed, and for these “old reasons,” it continues to push us into comparison with others. Unfortunately, the people to deal with are no longer just those belonging to a small group such as the family circle. Today, thanks to the internet, we can deal with the whole world, exponentially increasing the possibility of discovering someone who has “something more “Of us and the risk of feeling the feeling of” not being enough “… (beautiful, rich, intelligent, recognized. For some of us, this feeling can help generate thoughts of inadequacy; for others, it can push us to develop feelings of envy towards those who have that “something more,” regardless of whether they have struggled or not to get it.
How can we manage the sensations that arise from this need for comparison?
By learning to recognize them, to accept them, and to look at what is right in our lives, with the awareness that what counts are our values, what we are, what we build every day with effort. We learn to appreciate every little thing we do, feel gratitude for each new day to live, and that we have experienced, to value ourselves and what we have.
If we find that we feel envy for the lives documented on social media, we limit the use of social media to what is strictly necessary (for example, to keep in touch with distant friends).
Let’s try to talk more with people, dedicate time to those close to us, to those who love us, and to our interests, live serenely a life in which we are protagonists without comparison and not just observers.
Instead of “following” others, we try to open up to new “social” experiences such as volunteering and creating real contacts to dedicate our time. It will help us to look inside ourselves and understand that we often do not realize: we have so much and that we can give a lot.
Feelings are a great asset, even if they cannot be photographed and posted!