How to maintain self-esteem in social networks

Vacation on the Pacific coast, sand surfing in Dubai, a romantic date — all this photos of your friends in Facebook, the best page of their lives. Looking at them, we often think: "Everyone is having fun, and I work." It hardly has a positive impact on our self-esteem. How to prevent it?

"Comparison is the end of happiness and the beginning of discontent" — warned us the Danish philosopher søren Kierkegaard. His French counterpart of the Enlightenment, Charles de Montesquieu, also knew what was happening: "If you just want to be happy, this soon can be achieved. But people usually want to be happier, and that's almost impossible, because we believe that others are always happier than they really are".

This problem not so long ago engaged researchers from Stanford University in California. American psychologists found that subjects overestimated the information about how many happy events occur in the lives of their friends. Their life in comparison was far less joyful because of what they felt more depressed than one would assume.

Facebook reinforces this wrong idea. Scientists from Utah said: students often believe that their friends are doing better than they themselves, so argue those who spends a lot of time in Facebook. Conversely, those who spend less time on social networks, feel that they live a normal life.

"People in the public space are more likely to share with your friends joy, rather than sadness"

The researchers analyzed a number of messages, anecdotes and photographs, which are typically post users in Facebook. Sad story there rarely publishes. Perhaps the reason that people in the public space are more likely to share with your friends joy, rather than sadness. In this case, the pain is something more private than happiness.

In envy there is nothing wrong — said biopsychology Peter Waldburger. It has its evolutionary function as a stimulus and showing us on their own hidden desires, and leading the person towards success. The fact that we constantly feel the inferiority of life, gives us a reason to improve. It's just a defense mechanism to avoid the stereotype of "I'm better than everyone else." Usually we choose their peers as examples, which are ready to be equal, says biopsychology. So our guideline is the ideal, makes us dependent on the values of their peers: in one period of life we think about car, boat, house, another about toy horses. This value orientation often depends on the Internet. World network enhances understanding of the social environment, and our guidance in it often become unattainable and unrealistic.

For example, here is what you can see on the wall in Facebook of our alleged partner, Stephen "Who can recommend a good hotel in Mexico city?" Looks intriguing, exotic, makes us think about other countries and adventures. However, the fact that the flight to Mexico was terribly boring and long, to adjust to jetlag and a headache, our friend didn't write anything. The way of his journey, which is formed in our head, does not include any notions of the banal routine and stressful moments, typical of any trip.

"The fact that we constantly feel the inferiority of life, gives us a reason to improve yourself"

That the faster, the farther our friend on the social network is from our real everyday life and real friends. Research scientists from Utah showed that the belief that others live better than they, occur faster for those who have a lot of friends in Facebook whom you never met in person. In the worst case such a person has distorted perceptions of the world. As you can enjoy the party while the others fly from one exotic location to another? How not to be upset if your child all day and only does that screams and on the photos on the Internet only happy, healthy, and happy children?

The question of how to deal with the effect of the comparison remains open. In a sense, the problem will disappear with age, she says Waldburger. Feeling boring life especially hurts young people. Those who are older, easier to manage to separate their values from others. But young people trying to break the parental umbilical cord, is much more interested in order to meet the largest possible number of people, which shows their desire to be valued by others. This human need is cleverly operated by Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter and Dating sites.

If you feel that you came under the pressure of social networking, you need to take a step back and see with whom you compare yourself, and for what reasons, recommends Waldburger. Strictly speaking, man was not designed by nature to indirect communication offered by the Internet today. It is first necessary to learn.

Translation of the article from the German magazine Der Tagesspiegel.



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