Sunday, August 31, 2014

Social Comparison Theory-1

Whether we identify it or not, whether accept it or not we all subconsciously indulge in social comparison theory. How many of us have come across people who would want to buy things for themselves or their house just because a neighbor had bought or possess something that they don't have? This kind of behavior is merely because individuals unknowingly engage in social comparison theory. We compare ourselves with others who are higher to us in terms of socioeconomic status or those whom we consider our equals.

Is this kind of comparison wrong? Social comparison is fair enough as long as we are progressing in a healthy manner. For instance, we compare ourselves with high achievers and may develop strong aspirations or ambitions to grow in life. This kind of social comparison is healthy as it enables us to set goals for life. However, we need to be cautious about the kind of social comparisons we make. If we desire to buy a car of a particular brand its good. However, if we start indulging in behaviors that 'whatever others have even I should have' that can cause to yield into unrealistic expectations, disappointments and frustrations. 

We cannot live peacefully by setting standards based on others. We need to set standards for living based on our core inner values that drive purpose for our living. Then our social comparisons would generally be healthy. We are who we are no matter what others say or comment about us. As long as we live in this kind of confidence knowing the driving purpose of lives, we can surely live a contented life no matter where and how we live...

However, contentedness of life is something that we define!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Giver Vs Receiver

Have you ever been a giver? Generally, when we talk about giving we perceive it in terms of money. How sad that the world is so focused on monetary gains...What about giving ourselves selflessly to others. Have you been a selfless giver in your close relationships? Be it your spouse, child (children), parent, friend, or sibling?

How much of quality time do we give to the relationships in the inner circle? How many of us have loved someone selflessly? People who are always in the habit of receiving do not learn to give it back and finally they end up becoming dry...On the contrary people who have always been on the giving end give up in investing in relationships that are no longer fruitful (again not in monetary terms) as they get fed up with giving ...not being at the receiving end.

For any relationship to function smoothly both the parties should be equal givers and receivers in terms of sharing, caring, showing empathy, courtesy and spending time. Investing in relationships takes efforts, time and prioritizing. Only those relationships that are genuine with  selfless attitude sustains. When people invest in relationships for monetary gains or to achieve selfish personal goals, they disrupt relationships resulting in stagnation or termination. In today's context we can find people who form relationships for the purpose of using others (like toilet papers eh?).

How many of us would be ready to give ourselves to others with genuineness and self-less attitude? However, we should be careful while investing in relationships by weighing down the cost versus rewards. Rewards are those who can give back when you invest; and costs are the pain and losses you encounter by in investing in wrong relationships...We need use diligence and prudence when it comes to investing ...both relationships and finances alike!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Whom are You Feeding? Ego?

Sometimes we would have come across people whom we refer as egoistic generally because they do not easily apologize when they do wrong to others. Have you ever wondered why is it so hard for people to say "Sorry" genuinely? Fake sorry or simply saying sorry without really meaning it a mere lip service and is done to escape the situation or manipulate with people. However, genuine sorry can be told only by those who have humility in their innate nature. People who do not want to sincerely and genuinely apologize are 'perfectionists'. In their perception their are always right while others are wrong. They are the ones who easily blame others, situations or events if something is not working in their lives according to their expectations.

We cannot make people to apologize. Perfectionists are hard to break from their personalities. People who find fault with others except themselves are perfectionists. People who want their way in everything are perfectionists. According to Julie "perfectionism is the result of a false sense of pride" and that it is an egoistic condition which perfectionists need to break free from (2013). Julie affirms that unless a perfectionist changes his/her attitude of serving the 'self' at all times and move to serving others, he/she will continue to be dissatisfied in life (2013).

Whether we want to serve our self-centered ego or break free from the false pride is something that we need to decide on...solely!

Julie. (2013). Perfectionism Is All About Ego-Drop the Facade. Sober

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Super-Ego:- Good or Bad?

As per Freud's psychoanalytical theory we all have the id, ego and super-ego. In lay man's terms we would have coined the word "ego" with a negative connotation and would have said "She is a very egoistic person" which perhaps would mean that she is arrogant or snobbish. The id is the one that demands to meet the basic needs immediately like hunger, thirst, love, social acceptance, etc. The super-ego is the conscience that sets moral standards or principles within us derived from our environment, culture, family upbringing, etc. The ego is the one that directs the id and the super-ego based on realistic principle determining what kind of communications, behaviors and actions are appropriate or what are inappropriate.

However, the definition of super-ego has undergone several changes because it cannot be considered on abstract terms and be seen merely as conscience. What about people who commit crimes? Do they lack super-ego? Certainly not...Their super-ego is harsh where their conscience is compromised. People with harsh super-ego's have compromised values like an "eye for eye or tooth for tooth". OR something like "life is not working for me as expected so why should life be good for others". OR "Its okay if I lose one eye, but he/she should lose both the eyes'.

According to Chris L. Minnick (2014) the super-ego is actually how a person relates to self and internal version of descriptions of relationships that exists in the unconscious realm which is applicable for each individual. For people with harsh super-ego, the definition of self and relationships are concrete in nature which means it cannot be easily changed as it has been persistent since their childhood years and has been reinforced by later life experiences.

We can find that people who are snobbish, arrogant and proud who easily demean or hurt others self-respect or degrade others self-image as they have a harsh super-ego. However, such people seldom understand that they are projecting a negative self-image about themselves before others rather than an enhanced self-image. Whether we function with a super-ego that comprises of moral values or have harsh super-ego that is compromised is something we ought to determine...

Minnick, C.L. (2014). Super-Ego and Conscience. Minnick's Klein Academy. Retrieved from:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Self-Fulling Prophecy- 2

According to Robert Merton self-fulfilling prophecy refers to "a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true" (as cited in Bearman and Hedstrom, 2009). Our mind is a powerful part of our being and is capable to handling complex thoughts processes and thinking patterns. Generally, we function in an automatic response mode and predominantly the automatic response to a negative situation or event is negative. Since we subconsciously function in an auto response mode, we draw negative or false definitions from a negative situation. People who have the tendency to get easily worked up in a negative situation engage in monologue repeatedly with respect to their false definitions. As per the self-fulfilling prophecy negative thought patterns and feelings evoke strong negative behaviors, expressions and responses which in turn cause negative vibes in themselves and their life thus making their false conception become true.

We may have fears or anxieties or negative thoughts about ourselves/others which may not be true, yet we may assume it to be true and respond accordingly. This affects our behaviors, expressions and in turn outcomes making our belief come true. For instance, if I fear that my worst kind of migraine may end up into aneurysm or cause me to collapse, it affects the way I respond to my condition making it further worse. However, I can choose how I react to my condition or situation and it takes mental energy to respond positively to a negative situation or condition.

Most of us have an innate desire or need to know things that are about to happen in advance. However, if we are not cautious we may be engaging in self-fulfilling prophecy needlessly...

Bearman, P. and Hedström, P. (2009). Self-Fulfilling Prophecies. The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Grave Danger...

One of the grave dangers some of us may be practicing subconsciously is the danger of negative self-fulfilling prophecy. People whose self-image depends on acceptance of others are already in the slimy pit of damaging self-image. Each of us have a self-image of our own. Predominantly, most of us have a good self-image. People whose self-image depends on meeting the expectation and acceptance of others are unknowingly and constantly making efforts to meet up to the expectations and standards of others as it causes them to 'feel good' about themselves.

When others reactions towards them is negative then their self-image is shaken causing them to think what wrong they did to receive negative reactions from others. Their thought process is something like: 'I was good to them, why are they reacting differently or indifferently to me? What wrong did I do to them?' These kind of questioning may affect their self-confidence, self-esteem and in turn their self-image.

In order to have a positive and healthy has to adopt the following thinking pattern...

I know who I am. I am responsible for my decisions and choices. I don't have negative or unhealthy attitudes and intentions towards others. My significant others (people in my inner circle) knows me and loves me for whom I am. I have a positive and healthy image about myself. In spite of all this... if people around me or relating to me do not like me or treat me indifferently, I am not going to be affected. My self-image does not depend on others acceptance of me as a person.

Accept and Love for being the Person You are...

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Control Freak

One of the negative attributes that can indeed damage relationships badly is the controlling behavior. Clinical psychologist Dr. David Schnarch affirms that "People who can't control themselves control the people around them" (2011). People who cannot take control of their thinking processes, emotions, decision-making, stand for their decisions and be able to handle the outcomes of the decisions made are perhaps the people who control others.

What might be the possible reasons why people would want to control others? Either they

  • believe that they are always right while others are wrong OR 
  • would not be flexible with people's choices and its outcomes or turn of events OR 
  • want their way in everything

It is not wrong to be in control of our lives which helps us in taking charge of our responsibilities, decisions and everyday choices. Sometimes people misunderstand this phenomenon and try to exercise control over others. Instead of being in control of themselves and their lives, people tend to exercise control over others. It has been observed that highly insecure (of their choices or feelings) and demanding people are those who exercise control over others as they are under the presumption that they can keep things under their control which is seldom true . However, by doing so they not only end up in conflicting situations but also end up being frustrated and disappointed.

What should one do to come out of this trait...i.e. controlling others?
A change in perception and attitude will enable people with controlling behaviors be more at ease with themselves and in turn their relationships.

A change in perception and attitude comes when we know how to respect each person's individualism, other's choices and decisions, giving others their space (psychological, volitional, physical), appreciate differences and appreciate other people's characteristics, skills, talents and qualities.

Celebrate Individualism...

Schnarch, D. (2011). People Who Can't Control Themselves Control The People Around Them. Intimacy and Desire. Psychology Today.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Dark Side of Relationships

Each of us knows that relationships are quite complex in nature. Life and relationships can be kept pretty simple if we want to. However, it is not as easy as thought and presumed. Why are relationships so complex and difficult to understand. There is something called the dark side of relationships which actually disrupts relationships. Some of the darker side of relationships according to Spitzberg (2006) are lying, jealousy, deception, manipulation, revenge, stalking, cheating, controlling, abuse, offending, hypocrisy and obsessive intrusion. When these characteristics enter into relationships they can badly spoil relationships leading to termination or worse forms of conflicts.

There is often a fine line in relationships which if well managed can help in balancing relationships. This fine line is something I call it as psychological space and freedom we give to one another. Be it between spouses, parents, children, friends, siblings, colleagues and significant others. If we learn to understand and respect each other's psychological space, we will be able to give that freedom to others to function independently as individuals and not interfere into their private space or seldom judge them. Respecting the other person's psychological space smoothens relationships. It creates positive vibes. If our thinking, perception, attitude, intentions, motives and behaviors are free from the dark aspects of relationships, we are able not only to create positive vibes within us but also spread them across to others. 

Why do some people feel cheerful and happy with those who have positive and healthy attitudes? It is because their thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, motives, behaviors are clean and they do not expect to make use of relationships or people ...creating positive vibes around the people they live or interact.

Spitzberg, B.H. (2006). A Struggle in the Dark. California: Roxbury

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Equity Theory? Mere Theory or Practice?

As a people pro person I generally dwell into exploring the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. A decade before I wanted to study counselling and psychology just to understand the dynamics of human behavior, personality types, interpersonal communication, etc., to help people in the process of problem solving. Though I couldn't complete a degree in that field I was privileged to study these subjects in my work as a freelance writer.

Currently, I am studying about interpersonal communications and one theory I got interested in exploring deeply is Equity Theory. The Equity Theory talks about how much one brings into the relationship in terms of expressing love, care, warmth, empathy and giving time. No relationship sustains for long unless both the parties (whether spouses, friends, parents and children, or significant others) contributes equally into the relationship be it in terms of time, energy, selfless giving, showing empathy and care. If someone is always on the giving end they get tired of not being on the receiving end (not in monetary terms) and give up on the pursuit of that relationship and/or the relationship turns to exist on shallow waters. These are some of the dynamics of interpersonal relationships which if understood in the right sense can be applied rightly.

Just the way we believe in hard work to be successful in education, career, jobs and financial management, so do we need to work hard in maintaining relationships. Far and wide people assume that we don't need to work hard in sustaining relationships. If we are under such presumptions then we are taking relationships for granted. However, a relationship is successful only if both the concerned parties are willing to work hard to build it and even repair it. Equity theory is highly applicable in our day to day lives.

Hence its time to evaluate ourselves honestly what we have been in a relationship? If we have been a receiver then its time to become a giver; and if we have been a giver then its time to be a receiver...

Happy Reading!