"Hey, Lauren" is our new bi-monthly column from licensed psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri. Dr. Hazzouri is a TV show host and founder at Hazzouri Psychology, where she’s carved out a successful niche treating women who are psychologically healthy—but trying hard and not getting satisfaction in various aspects of their lives. Through her life experience and training, Lauren’s developed a program that allows women to live meaningful lives and feel fulfilled doing it. Lauren is founder of HeyLauren.com, a project for women, where she provides evidence-based insights on job stress, relationship woes and everything in between.
The IG Generation
To do this discussion justice, let’s start with a short ( and necessary!) psych lesson. According to Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytic psychology, in order to become whole individuals, we’ve got to strike a balance among our personas, our egos, and our true selves. The persona, a mask we create and wear in public, is an expression of our egos—how we wish to see ourselves and for others to see us. The persona is not a problem, nor is the ego; they’re both necessary! The problem arises when we identify too much with one, allowing our personas to become our identities. When that happens, our true selves have little room for growth. The result is that we feel stuck and discontented, having a hard time integrating and becoming our whole selves.
BUT HEADS UP! WE BRAND OUR PERSONAS.
Much like identifying too much with persona, mistaking our brand identity for our true selves puts our personal individuation at risk. In short, individuation is a process of self-discovery and is said to be necessary in our quest for purpose and meaning in life. The answer is NOT to shy away from personal branding. Instead, to stay on track to true self while building a brand, a dose of objectivity is key. Your personal brand is merely a means to connect self and society. So, do your damnedest to keep your brand values in line with who you really are. This way, you’ll be sure to keep the discomfort that comes with cognitive dissonance at bay, and growth in one area won’t compete with growth in the other.
The process of building a brand and the process of becoming your true self look very different. Think about it—building is defined as constructing something, while becoming is defined as passing into a state. Believe me!—I know. Taking action is much easier for most of us than being passive. At times, the action is in the inaction. It’s easier to practice with the end-goal in mind. Remember—the reason you’re building your brand in the first place is in an effort to make your mark on the world—to meet your life’s purpose. Research on individuation tells us that you’re going to have to get acquainted with your true self first.
Therefore, creating an environment where your true self can emerge is necessary.
START WITH CHARACTER
On the path to becoming your true self, it’s important that you begin to act more like the wind and less like a weather vane. A ( not-so-easy!) way to do that is to hone your character through a steadfast commitment to: Honesty: Be honest with yourself and others, regardless of the consequences; Accountability: Always do what you say you’re going to do—no excuses!; Responsibility: Respond, don’t react to your environment; Integrity: Do the right thing—even when nobody’s looking!
Say what you mean, mean what you say, don’t say it mean. People pleasing is deceitful. You think you're being so nice. Agreeing when you don't agree, being okay with whatever when you're really not is stealing.
Social interaction—and that includes social media—benefits us in that it provides opportunities for us to learn about ourselves by comparing and contrasting opinions and viewpoints and allowing others to do the same. You're not only stealing a growth opportunity from you, but also from your followers, too. The path to true self requires courage.
TAKE NOTE OF YOUR HOT SPOTS
Having insecurities is part of the human condition, which is not only fine but expected! Beware of how your experiences and insecurities shape your perception. We have the tendency to morph into what people seem to like or dislike. Losing our way is rarely the result of accurate information coming in. Instead, it’s how we view the information coming in. In order to reach the ultimate destination ( your true self!), it’s important that you dismiss what feels like negative feedback by getting familiar with the irrational thoughts that perpetuate insecurity. Bottom line—look out for triggers! Monitor your thoughts. And remember, respond don’t react.
EMBRACE THE FULL PACKAGE
We all have many aspects to our personalities. Recognize and foster each one. A lot of times, it seems that personal branding leads women to pigeon-holing themselves into certain personas. We have a tendency to pick and choose aspects of ourselves that are seemingly more marketable and less likely to increase vulnerability. Your personal brand ( and personal growth!) can only be a success is you recognize and celebrate all that makes you, you.
JOURNAL IT (WITH PEN AND PAPER)
Becoming our true selves is a life-long process. There are no short-cuts, and there’s no easier, softer way. Journaling is the enemy of confusion. I recommend you journal for 20 minutes a day. The health benefits of putting pen to paper cannot be overstated. Even better, writing accesses the left hemisphere—the rational part!— of your brain. In an effort to combat outside influences, write down your thoughts. This way, you’ll be sure to take the lead from the part of you that responds with grace, rather than reacts in fear.
Following these several tips is a part of a foolproof plan to grow personally and professionally simultaneously—a true win-win. Brand that!
Dr. Lauren’s on a mission to bring psychology to the public. She contributes to a variety of online publications, provides candid talks to women’s organizations across the country, and was recently cited in Forbes.
Dr. Lauren is the 2016 recipient of The Psychology in the Media Award from The Pennsylvania Psychological Association and is a member of The American Psychological Association. For more from Lauren, visit @dr_lauren and sign up for her weekly newsletter at HeyLauren.com.
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