Getting better by connecting, not competing
Neff’s psychological research on compassion found that people’s relentless pursuit of superiority is the cause of significant emotional pain.
She reminds us that we live in a hyper competitive culture where we need to feel special and above average and okay about ourselves, which leads to chronic social comparison.
And one of the saddest consequences of that behavior is how we distance ourselves from people whose success makes us feel bad about ourselves. Our climb toward superiority is a descent into isolation. We tend to cut off from others when things go wrong.
Which, of course, is at odds with our human tendency to affiliate. And that sends us into a spiral of loneliness.
Therefore, our challenge is twofold.
First, learning to let go of the need to feel better than others. Releasing our perceptions from the tight clamp of negativity. And never allowing our value to rise and fall in lockstep with other people’s latest success or failure.
The second challenge is, replacing comparing with connecting. Trading introspecting for interacting. Because all healing occurs in relationships. Brains heal brains. Only through interpersonal encounters with others can we enter into the transcendental healing atmosphere.
We have to reach for others and cocreate and expand our brain’s repertoire and get new wiring out of our interactions.
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How does social comparison block your ability to heal?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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