It’s not exactly nice, but I have a feeling I’m not alone, it is this thinking process – comparing myself with somebody else that I perceive as more miserable than I’m makes me feel happy. The psychology of downward social comparison* is really at work today. 🙂
This afternoon, I found my garbage disposal leaking water. There is no way we can avoid replacing it if we don’t want to have a Venetian canal in our house. This means: Money! Ouch. I guess this is why we have emergency fund, but still, it’s a hassle. Plus I know, this is not going to be the last repair we have to do for this house. Well, that’s the reality of living in a 30+ years old house. I love this house, but sometimes, it does shows its age.
Feeling down, I took a break and went browsing at NY Times and found this article: If It Causes Stress, Is It Really a Vacation Home? The article said that having a second home is not an investment, is less relaxing, is time-consuming, and is confounding. Plus, you may have an awful neighbor whose hobby is getting into your business and reporting your “violation” to the board.
After reading this, I gradually feel lucky of having only one old house and even though it shows its age, it works as expected most days of the year. I have no complaint about my neighbors either. We look after each other house and keep our neighborhood safe. Ah… I’m feeling better. 🙂 In light of this, I’m going to note downward social comparison as one of the tools in combating feeling blue.
How about you? What do you do when you are feeling blue? Do you sometimes use this tool of purposely think of somebody/something that seems to be less fortunate than yourself?
*Oh, my best friend, Wikipedia, said this about downward social comparison:
Downward social comparison acts in the opposite direction. Downward social comparison is a defensive tendency to evaluate oneself with a comparison group whose troubles are more serious than one’s own. This tends to occur when threatened people look to others who are less fortunate than themselves. Downward comparison theory emphasizes the positive effects of comparisons, which people tend to make when they feel happy rather than unhappy. For example, a breast cancer patient may have had a lumpectomy, but sees herself as better off than another patient who lost her breast (Suls, Martin & Wheeler 2002).