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Looking Down on Others to Feel Better About Yourself?

Shanghai skyscraperOne way to feel good about yourself is to look down on someone else existing on a lower level.

One of the weird ways our minds are put together is that we feel better about ourselves when we see others that have not made it to our ‘level’ – whatever that is, depending on what we’re talking about. Psychologists call it a “downward social comparison” and maybe it has a little bit to do with this phenomenon I’m going to explain. (or maybe not!)

I was on the third floor of a building for the first time in two years on Saturday. I mean, I was actually up three stories from the ground in a building, which I’ve not been for almost two years. In Thailand (TH) most buildings are at ground-level. My home is a villa connected to others – all at ground level. I work at home. I eat at restaurants that are at ground level… There aren’t any buildings I go into that take me up past 2nd story. Anyway, so there I was looking out the third-story window of a hotel and I realized –

I feel like I’m on top of the world when I’m looking down on other people from a high vantage point.

I don’t think I’d have noticed it if I weren’t in TH. I’d never noticed it before, that’s for certain.

Being up off the ground gives me a nice perspective on things. Everyone I can see is below me. I’m on top. I’m the master of this rat race when I’m above them. It makes me feel like worries, memories, the past – the failures, and everything negative are all down below and I’m on top of them.

I feel like a champ for some reason when I’m high off the ground.

It was then I realized how important it is to have an office that is 2nd floor or higher – as it directly affects my mental well-being. It gives me an automatic boost to be able to look out and see clouds instead of traffic, fumes, litter, and the cares of everyday life.

If you have your office at ground level – or worse, in the basement – try moving to an upper floor and see what happens. See if you aren’t in a better mood everyday and more productive. I really think there’s something tangible to this – for me, I know there is – I’m going to find a 2nd story or higher office this month.

Have you moved to a higher floor office recently?

Will you try this experiment if you can – and write back and let me know what you think?

Best of Life!


Photo: user cogdogblog

6 thoughts on “Looking Down on Others to Feel Better About Yourself?

  • at 1:07 pm

    Wow: I was waiting for the tone to change… for it to become obvious sarcasm… but it never did.

    I hope you get an office that’s so high above the rest of us that you end up floating off into space, like the villains stuck in the mirror in Superman II.

  • at 9:55 pm

    you are such an arrogant person because you used to look down on others. Your wish is always on top.

    • at 2:28 am

      I just edited the entire post – after re-reading it. It wasn’t really my point. Maybe it’s better said now. Hope so!

  • at 2:23 am

    It doesn’t sound like a nice thing – it’s a fact of life about how our minds operate.

  • at 5:54 pm

    Vern, Of course there’s something to it, because as you said, psychologists call it a “downward social comparison”. You simply noticed it and tried to explain it. It’s kinna like the two other posts before mine where people get off on being judgmental and ridicule others to make themselves feel better. Our relative perspective no matter how little or big can trigger feelings good or bad. I suppose it comes down to how open we are to look at all of it and observe it whether good or bad and then looking at how we are moved. I personally enjoy being open and observant and introspective of how I think and feel based on all things around me. I neither think you are arrogant nor deserving of deep space, but rather open and observant to relative perspective.

    • at 7:01 pm

      Hi Phi,

      Thanks. When I re-read the article, I definitely saw how it came out… it was easily read a couple of different ways. Not my intention, and I just didn’t get the message across the way I intended. To be truthful, I didn’t put enough thought into it before I wrote it – just hammered it out quickly because it was on my mind. Those posts don’t always go as planned. Rather, they do go as unplanned – badly. Are you in the islands Phi?


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