Saturday, September 8, 2012

Social Comparisons are Torture for the Hopeless

This post is somewhat related to an excellent post on the Feminine Black Woman called What's Wrong with Social Climbing. How does one come to the decision that they can and should do better? I think this drive may come out of necessity if one's living conditions are unpleasant (e.g., one is fed up with having no money and living in a bad neighborhood). They compare themselves to those who have enough money and live in better neighborhoods and do what is necessary to achieve those goals.

For others (who really aren't doing badly) it's merely seeing what others have and wanting it for themselves. This involves comparing one's own state to that of others--social comparison. There are plenty of articles and advice about not comparing oneself to others but this is meant to help people to not feel bad about themselves. They advise to not compete or pay attention to others because you may feel bad and fail to ever achieve what the others have (social comparison can lead to negative envy if one is not careful). You will hear things like "money doesn't buy happiness" when money pays for food, shelter, clothing, education, and health care. Or "the grass always looks greener on the other side" while there are statistics and everyday examples of people living better or worse lives than others. Or "never change yourself to meet someone else's expectations" and "you are good enough just the way you are" even though we strive to meet expectations in school and on the job where those who don't meet the expectations are failed, expelled, paid less, or fired. For some people, they are hopeless about becoming like those they admire so they protect their self-esteem by not making comparisons (if you need to do this to function then keep doing it). This is a coping mechanism as I wrote about in a previous post. Some people have blinders on and pretend (or actually believe) that they know it all and never need to ask or look to anyone about how to be the best they can be. But they can fall into the trap of thinking they are WAY better than they actually are as I wrote about in the past. They are not high-achievers.

Sometimes this coping/defense mechanism works so well that the people using it will point to those making social comparisons and say that they have low self-esteem, think they are inferior, and think others are better than them! Any time someone compares themselves to another person or group that individual is accused of feeling inferior! But let me ask you this, when a thief steals a car does that mean he thinks the car owners are better than him? I think he just wants what they have...that car! I can want what someone else has and think I am better than them, they are the worst people in the world, I don't want to be like them on the inside or outside, and I deserve what they have more than they do. I just want something they have whether it is deserved or not. You must separate wanting the status, privileges, and possessions of other people from wanting TO BE other people. I would gladly receive all of Paris Hilton's possessions and be a hotel heiress but I don't like her or want to be her! Don't tell me for a second that Black people don't want what White people have because that was the whole point of Civil Rights and Equal Rights movements, asking for better housing and schools, justice, and asking for an end to racism. The point was/is to have the same rights, freedoms, safety, opportunities, and treatment that White people have! The problem my blog trolls have is envy because they actually do want what White women and Asian women have but they also resent these women and transfer that hate to Black women like myself. Don't hate the player, hate the game! Unlike you though, I think playing is better than sitting out and winning nothing. These trolls want to be prized and cherished for merely existing and doing whatever undesirable things they choose instead of doing what is prized by most people.

I'm wondering though how people imagine it is possible to be a high achiever without making social comparisons? How does an athlete train to be the best if they do not pay attention to the performance of past and present competitors? How does a company strive to make the best computer if they do not examine the products of the competition? How does a student strive for an A+ without knowing what A+ work looks like? How does one know how to lead without looking at other leaders for examples (or read theories and books about leadership written by people who studied leaders)? How does one win a competition if they pay no attention to what the competition is doing? I think this just highlights the difference between: A) those who have the drive to compete, versus B) those who don't and can only use their energy to barely get by and convince themselves that their lives are great. So before you make a troll comment ask yourself if you are in category B and have no understanding or desire to do what it takes to be in category A. People like myself in category A do not listen to advice from those in category B because you can only teach us how not to achieve the best. You should not read posts about social comparisons because your self-esteem can not handle it and it makes you feel bad. When you feel bad you lash out at the authors and project your lack of self-esteem onto them! (as you can tell these people annoy me because they are very vocal and rude). Read THIS POST to determine if you are an A or B.

So this leads to the questions pertinent to this can one learn to be feminine without looking at others who are highly feminine? How can one learn to be a prized and cherished woman without looking at those who are prized and cherished? Whenever I do a post using Asian women as the example some troll comes along and says "don't you see you are boosting them up with this post", "you think that Black women are inferior to Asian women", "you have low self-esteem and think Asian women are better than you", or "there is something wrong with you because you compare yourself to Asian and White women" etc. I think actually you are the one with the problem because your self-esteem takes a hit whenever Black women are compared to other groups. My self-esteem is in-tact before and after those posts because I don't think Asian or White women are better, they have just been dealt a better hand, and they made better plays. But now that I am in the game, despite the bad hand, I can win and have won many games. I think I can become just as good a "player" as they are so to me, their status is attainable. Maybe not for all Black women, but for me I know it is. I do not believe I have to have pale skin, blue eyes, Asian eyes, straight blonde hair, or petite bone structure to achieve the status I want either (as I wrote about in my Black standard of beauty post).  So no I do not want to be a White or Asian woman and just like the car thief...I just want the prized status and options they have, nothing more. If you want to know why I single out Asian women, I wrote about that a while ago in THIS POST if you must know but I doubt you can handle it.

Related Articles:
How to learn from competition: AMAZING!!! Read this article! This is about business like most articles about studying the competition (or sports). I want you to read this article and just imagine that what you are selling is your companionship/employee services as a Black woman while others are selling companionship/employee services of Asian or White women. I have done as the article explains: figure out who the competition is (White and Asian women where I live), find out what they are doing differently (being more traditionally feminine), find out what other people are saying about the competition (they are more feminine and that is highly desirable), and then decide whether or not to incorporate the competitions features into your product. I have also done the same examination with Black women to identify EBWs (e.g., other Black women are competition/role models, they are more feminine yet successful, they are the most desired, respected, and successful Black women). This was intuitive to me being that I've always had to compete but this may be foreign to others, especially those who do not think they are in competition. Once again, this is common sense! I have to include this quote:
"When you view your competitor as a villain, you assume you are the savior. You think everything you do is right and everything they do is wrong (smells like victim mentality...). This kind of mindset will prevent you from doing the right things at the right time (e.g., rejecting education, speaking well, or good manners by calling that "Acting White" and therefore wrong). You may not be able to keep an open mind when you see them doing something different because you will assume it is wrong." BINGO!
Comparing yourself to others: It's not all bad

How do I study my competition?
"Knowing the competition is cruicial to the success of any business.
1)Gathering a solid base of information is the first step to creating a strong competitive analysis.
2)The next step is analyzing the information and using it to your advantage. List the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor.
3)Then look for areas where you cannot compete and areas where you can provide something that others cannot."

Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 made herself into a
highly prized and cherished EBW. She competed with
White, Asian and many other women to be the best...
and SHE WON! She knew her competition and strove to


  1. I love your take on this topic. Everyone desires to have a better life. That is; having nice friends, having a great social life, belonging to a certain social class, having a nice house with nice things in it, having a good romantic and loving relationship etc.
    People who deny wanting to have a better life are only fooling themselves.
    Most people who ridicule other people for trying to improve themselves are just failures. They failed to achieve the things they want so they try to cover their failures by telling us that we're wrong to want to have the same things like everyone else. They say things like we're materialistic or shallow and all that nonsense. As for the trolls, don't even give them the time of day because all they have is a computer and fingers to type hateful messages all over the internet. They have nothing to offer but negativity.

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  7. I love how you described these expressions as coping mechanisms - I never thought of them that way!

    I'm a big advocate for "studying the competition." Women can be so quick to spout negative opinions or "their two cents." If the same women watched and listened more often, they would learn a lot of valuable information and have no reason to harbor envy.

  8. Wow this is awesome! I'm definitely saving this article and will re-read it several times or should I say study it!