Stuck in Comparison: How to Overcome Peer Pressure and Find Your Own Path

  My friend Alan is going through a very bad experience recently: “My college classmate got a Ph.D., but I’m stuck in my job. In comparison, I feel like I’m doing really poorly.”
  Her boyfriend, Alan Yang also had the same feeling as her: “My high school classmates all bought luxury cars with their own money, and I still commuted on the subway and bus every day. We are all from the same school. The gap is really big.” ”
  Whenever I see my friends When my old classmates in the circle show off their wonderful lives, I feel very anxious and feel that I am much behind my peers.” ”
  My colleagues who are about the same age as me are very capable at work. How hard should I work to not be left behind?”
  If you have the above problems, it may mean that you are suffering from the adverse effects of “peer pressure”.
What is “peer pressure”?

  Peer pressure, also known as peer pressure and peer pressure, refers to a kind of psychological pressure exerted by peers on each other in comparison.
  On the long road of life, we will inevitably be influenced by our peers.
  When we go to school, we compare test scores, hobbies, and clothing with our classmates; when we enter society, our peers’ academic level, salary, marital status, social status, whether they have bought a car or a house… Practical issues such as these make people confused. It’s hard not to pay attention and compare; even as a parent, the conditions of your partner, the upbringing and education of the next generation, whether the family is happy, whether the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is harmonious, etc. will be affected by comparisons between peers and become a source of peer pressure.
  In terms of types, peer pressure is divided into two types:
● Competitive

  Competitive peer pressure refers to the anxiety, inferiority, and failure that one feels when people who are similar to one’s own age, status, and environment have achieved achievements beyond one’s own. For example, we often see statements like this on the Internet: “A CEO who is the same age as me already earns tens of millions per year.” “They are also alumni. They were hired by well-known companies with high salaries as soon as they graduated, but I haven’t found a job yet.”
● Conformity

  In peer groups, people long to be recognized, accepted and affirmed, and do not want to be left behind or excluded. Therefore, people may change their attitudes, values, and behaviors to comply with the choices of their peers in order not to be left behind or excluded by their peers. For example, a college student plans to work directly after graduation because his family is not financially well-off. However, because his classmates are choosing to take the postgraduate entrance examination, he is worried that he will fall behind. In order to “keep in line with his peers,” he begins to prepare for the postgraduate entrance examination.
Peer pressure is a “double-edged sword”

  The “structural situation theory” in sociology believes that pressure does not come from the individual itself, but from the social structural arrangements (including class position, system, and interpersonal network) in which the individual is embedded.
  When peers compete together, they will encourage and learn from each other, which will help the peer group make progress together in the competition. This is a positive impact of peer pressure. However, peer pressure through competition can also lead to negative psychological effects. After all, whether you want to keep pace with your peers or surpass them, it requires individuals to make varying degrees of effort. In the process, individuals may not be able to coordinate the time between competition and rest, resulting in psychological imbalance.
  On the other hand, due to competition, peer group comparisons will be particularly frequent. The more an individual cares about his or her own merits among peers, the greater the pressure he or she will feel. The more they see the excellence of their peers, the more individuals doubt their own abilities, become pessimistic and depressed, and have a lower self-evaluation, thus lowering their self-esteem levels.
How to cure peer pressure?

  The excellence of peers makes people feel anxious, maybe because in comparison, they seem mediocre at the moment, or they are not satisfied with the current situation, or they are worried about their future. It may also be because we live in a society where information is abundant and spreads rapidly. After hearing about a few peers who have achieved achievements, we have the illusion that “all my peers in the world are better than me.”
  Perhaps, each of us has the negative effects of peer pressure. So, how can we relieve this pressure and heal our own hearts?
1 Sources of anxiety-reducing information

  The abundance of information and its rapid dissemination are sometimes not a good thing.
  No matter how much information we know about others, it cannot be all of them, but when this information is added up, it is easy for us to create a perfect image of others. For example, if you hear that a classmate in your school scored 8 points in IELTS and won a scholarship, you will think that this classmate is perfect and good at everything. But do you know this classmate? understood? Is this person really better than you in every aspect? Not really.
  When other people’s news makes you feel anxious, you can appropriately reduce the sources of news, inquire less about other people’s situations, and try not to become curious about irrelevant people. Even if you know a little bit, don’t imagine how perfect the other person is, just focus on the information related to yourself.
2. Know what “I” really need

  When we see our peers achieving something, we should not blindly worship them, be eager to imitate them, or regard others as standards to imitate. Instead, we should ask ourselves: “What do I want?” “I am pursuing what I want. Or are you pursuing the same as others?”
  In competition with others, it is normal to be envious, and it is normal to be wavered, but we should accurately understand ourselves through comparison. By clarifying our own inner needs and following our own value pursuits, instead of blindly catering to external standards, we can freely choose a life path that is different from our peers.
3 Positive action

  Why am I not as good as my classmates? Why am I not as successful as my colleagues? Why can’t I make as much money as my best friend? We always think that others reach the peak of life easily, but we work hard every day but get nothing. We feel that we must be almost lucky, but most likely, what we lack is mobility.
  So the more we compare, the more anxious we become; the more anxious we are, the more overwhelmed and self-defeating we become.
  If we want to break this vicious cycle, improving our execution ability is the best way, but only if we understand what our inner needs are. Action power should be a choice based on internal needs, so as to generate a strong enough internal drive to complete the goal.
  If you are unwilling to stand still and fall behind your peers, then act quickly to create and fight for what you want.
4. Change your mentality

  It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you see your peers doing better than you. Everyone has jealousy. Don’t feel that you are narrow-minded and don’t accuse yourself of envy and jealousy. You have to face this jealousy with a calm and calm attitude.
  Then, when facing those who are much better than yourself, you must learn to accept the gap between each other, accept the excellence of others, and accept your own mediocrity, and at the same time, do not belittle yourself.
  When you feel peer pressure, you have to tell yourself: “I’m not narrow-minded,
  I just hope to be as good as them, and I also know my own shining points.”
  The path of peers and the path of others is not our own path. . The excellence of our peers and the success of others are not things we should worry about. What we should strive to do is get rid of the negative influence of peer pressure, detect and explore ourselves, find our own direction in life, and find our own rhythm of life.

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