Upward and Downward Comparisons

Jul 18, 2013 by

Upward and Downward Comparisons

In the past, before the advent of television, the internet, and other forms of media, we did not have so many people to whom we could compare ourselves and people were happier with their lot in life. No matter where we are in life, it is easy to find people, real or fictional, who have more money, a better job, who are more attractive, happier, funnier, healthier, etc. These are called upward comparisons. When we engage in upward comparisons, we tend to become jealous, hostile and less satisfied with ourselves. In contrast, when we engage in downward comparisons, which involve comparing ourselves to those who are seemingly less fortunate, we are more grateful for what we have, which tends to boost our self-esteem and lower our anxiety because we are more accepting of ourselves.

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