Being yourself isn’t always easy in a society with specific expectations, but you can help yourself be happy every day.
Learn more about how to be happier and stop comparing yourself to others.
There are many factors that can affect our happiness.
There’s no one magic formula that’s going to automatically turn you into a happy-go-lucky character without a care in the world.
Social Comparison Theory
One theory that has been put forward on how happy we ultimately are is something called social comparison theory.
Originally postulated by social psychologist Leon Festinger, the idea is that we largely define ourselves via comparison with others.
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 constantly comparing ourselves with others who we perceive to be 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.
Similarly, you might not be happy with your relationship if your friends seem to be happier.
The same goes for your house.
Making Matters Worse
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles are very much designed to make matters worse.
On Facebook most of us put forward a very idealized version of our own lives.
We receive a constant feed of images of our friends on spectacular holidays or giving talks at conferences.
At the same time, the media is constantly showing us the lifestyles of the rich and famous and people who have perfect looks and millions of dollars.
How to Overcome Social Comparison Theory
So what can you do to overcome social comparison?
One option is to leave Facebook and never come back, though many of us would consider that a rather drastic move.
Focus on realistic goals that fit your life.
More important though is to focus on your own goals and to try and keep a realistic idea of your life as it compares with others.
Sure, that person has become incredibly successful in what they do, but is it exactly what YOU want to do?
Focus on your own goals and how they differ from those of other people.
Meanwhile, make sure to focus on what you do have and to set your own points of comparison.
Don’t think about what you could have. Instead think about what you’ve already accomplished.