The real traps do not occur outside. They exist in the heads of people. Since they are supported by the culture, they are easy to fall into, and can quickly become the habits of mind. These traps hinder one’s performance, undermine feelings of self-worth, eat one’s inside and rob one’s inner peace. There are many examples of such traps. However, the brightest of them are invidious comparison and vicarious traumatization. These traps of mind may affect anyone. That is why every person should know the ways to confront them.
Invidious comparison is one of the greatest causes of disease, discouragement and insecurity. The word invidious itself means jealous, provoking of anger, hateful. That is why invidious comparison is the root of envy and jealousy and much of one’s hostility and competitiveness. Invidious comparison involves comparing personal weaknesses with other’s strength (Olson, 2000, p. 92). Veblen defines invidious comparison as a “comparison of persons with a view to rating and grading them in respect of relative worth or value” (Misak, 2008, p. 238). It makes the person concentrate on others rather than on his own concerns and possibilities. In addition, it promotes deficit thinking – when person focuses on what he lacks, he will never fully realize nor be happy with what he possesses. The result of such concentrating is in the diminishing of self-image and self-esteem. I personally experienced invidious comparison in my family and at school. I tried to compare myself with my elder sister and more successful students. Therefore, I had the lack of confidence, and it made me believe that everyone was better than I was. This caused me a great amount of problems. For example, I could not study well and did not take part in any circles because I was sure that such stupid creature, as I did not have the right to do it. The second problem that I hd experienced myself is vicarious traumatization. Vicarious traumatization is a phenomenon that characterizes the emotional, psychological, social and spiritual changes on helpers of working with people who have experienced traumatic life events, in particular child sexual abuse, rape, incest, and interpersonal violence (Postmus, 2013, p. 150). Being a witness of human tragedy or intervening in severe crises can negatively affect the person. Effects can include severe anxiety and stress that persist for weeks, and sometimes even years after the event. It is difficult to help such people because their distress often goes undetected because they are not directly involved in the event. I have experienced vicarious traumatization when I tried to help my friend who was a victim of rape. I spent a lot of time with her and one day it seemed that it happened with me. Thus, I could not sleep or eat well. I was afraid of a rape and because of it, had been sitting at home for days. Fortunately, I found the way to overcome this problem. Now, invidious comparison and vicarious traumatization are the nightmares from the past.
In order to stop invidious comparison, one has to believe in own uniqueness. There are several steps to it. Firstly, it is necessary to believe in yourself when other people doubt about you. Secondly, one has to block out negative thoughts and keep going. Thirdly it is required to channel the efforts in the right direction and do not get distracted. Fourthly, it is advisable to remind yourself of your target in different ways. Fifthly, it is necessary to practice being positive until it becomes your second nature. Finally, it is very important never let anybody underestimate yourself and believe that you are as good as everyone else is. Only after doing these steps everyone will be able to feel within himself inflation of self-esteem.
In order to stop vicarious traumatization in my personal life, I always use the following strategies. Firstly, it is self-care. Human service worker must use the same coping mechanisms that they teach their clients for calming down their nervous system and restoring balance to their lives. Secondly, it is physical self – care. Good nutrition, physical movement or exercise getting enough sleep and practices such as meditation or deep breathing that will elicit the body’s own natural relaxation response. Thirdly, it is spiritual self-care. Concentrating on spiritual needs and allowing the body to form a unity with the soul (Poulin, 2010, p.623).
I strongly believe that these strategies will be helpful for many people. They work to ensure me to avoid vicarious traumatization as a human services worker. In addition, I have developed my own strategy that goes in hand with previous ones to stop vicarious traumatization. When I face the problem of vicarious traumatization, firstly, I try to identify the features, which make me unique. Secondly, I try to understand which negative situation that has happened with the other person I want to wear on myself. Thirdly, I try to relax and realize that what has happened with the other person will not happen to me because everyone has his or her own destiny. However, this process takes a long period. Through it is also necessary to do some physical exercises which will help to abandon negative thoughts and concentrate on own advantages and peculiarities. I always choose yoga, because it is a great way to go deep in own thoughts and concentrate on positive sides of life. A good method to stop vicarious traumatization is also a music therapy. Light and quiet music always help to regain balance and forget about worries.
To sum up, invidious comparison and vicarious traumatization are great problems, which affect human minds. In order to stop them one has to use different strategies and create methods which appeal to one’s personal needs.
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