approval seeking,  Health & wellbeing

Find your own shoe

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another. There is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” ~Carl Jung, psychiatrist and author

There’s something called the theory of social comparison, which suggests that comparing and contrasting ourselves to our peers is key to our identity.

Social comparison helps us form or solidify our values, preferences, and feelings of self-worth. If our friends or favorite celebrities are wearing a particular style, for instance, we’re likely to mimic or mirror it — whether we genuinely like it or not. This explains, in part, the dubious trend of spending top dollar for ripped jeans and painful footwear.

Things get even more complicated when teenagers — especially girls — use social media platforms to explore and compare their identities. Worrisome studies show that social media use among teenagers (and insecure adults) can be detrimental to self-esteem and mental health. When we’re always judging ourselves by the standards of others, after all, we might become competitive, depressed, or more insecure.

As today’s quote suggests, once we stop trying to fit in — and find what truly fits us instead — life becomes a lot more comfortable. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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