"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.
Taking a cue from society, millennials put undue pressure on themselves to get on the right path to meet their purpose—today! Long gone are the days of getting a boring, mundane job that builds life-skills and pays the rent upon graduation. This generation is all about the greater good, fulfillment and branding themselves and their ideas! The problem is that often times, personal branding begins without having had the variety of experiences, relationships, and time to get comfortable in their own skin and really shore-up a sense of self.
This dilemma, what I refer to the cart before the horse quandary, puts millennial women at risk of being ultimately vulnerable to the appraisal of others, leading to what I call Like chasing, the never-ending altering, morphing, and becoming (not first-rate versions of themselves) second-rate versions of established brands and images that people and society Like a million plus times a day.
When we see that Kim Kardashian gets zillions of likes for this and Kylie doesn’t get as many for that, we naturally accommodate our personal repertoire. This cognitive process has been explained by social-learning theory for decades. It certainly isn’t rooted in "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Research tells us that likes trigger the reward center of the brain, reinforcing and perpetuating our behaviors on social. We want to be liked!—and that’s okay. It’s just part of the human-condition and there’s no shame in the human game!
But, there’s a big difference between nurturing the self and building a brand. It appears that we’re exhaustively instructing millennial women how to brand themselves without providing insight on how to be themselves, hence the obsession with appealing to “the market.” Think about it— In order to be successful, a brand must be “directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.” And, millennial women are doing just that ( with themselves, competing with each other!). Ergo, they morph into what the consumer ( i.e., follower) responds to in a positive way—rebranding after rebranding, Like chasing.
It makes perfect sense! As human-beings we long to be a part of and are hard-wired to respond to things socially. We also long to be seen but fear being seen in a critical way. So, branding allows us to exercise control over how and when we’re seen by others. Of course, it would like a win-win. If only it were that easy!
It’s important to remember that social media changes how we interact with our social environment, not how we develop as human-beings. To be fulfilled, we must respect ourselves and others, have the ability to connect in a meaningful way and become our true selves—regardless of the number of likes!
Only your true self can make your unique contribution to the world, and that’s the reason you started branding yourself and your ideas in the first place. Isn’t it? Great, so let’s get started.
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE PLEASE!
Spend less time painting a public-self portrait and more time becoming your ideal-self ( the person you want to be). Of course, you can document your journey with several selfies, but it’s important to be aware that this journey is on you, for you—not about you, for your followers.
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
The goal is to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives by acting in our environment much the same way we would respond in a vacuum with no outside influences. In life, we can only control what we say and do. Much of the time, to respond appropriately, we must wait for our emotions to dissipate and our rational mind to resurface. It’s been said that our power lies in the space between stimulus and response.
Becoming familiar with that space is so important. It allows us to hold on to our power, to ourselves!
BECOME THE PUPPETEER ( VS. THE PUPPET!)
Use the reinforcement to get you where you want to be! Now that you know that the reward center of your brain is triggered with the likes you receive on social media, only post pics of you doing things that close the gap between your real self ( who you are today) and your ideal self ( the person you want to become). Instead of posting pics that capture your night out, post pics on your journey of personal growth and development.
GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR THOUGHTS
Thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to behavior. Each of us has many thoughts, up to 70,000 per day! The goal is to get so familiar with your thoughts that you can instantly recognize the irrational thoughts—those making you feel down, scared or worried, or like you need to Keep up with the Kardashians! Once you know which thought patterns cause the unwanted feelings, you can change them. If you change how you think, you can change how you feel and how you behave.
REFLECT ON YOUR CORE BELIEFS
At times, the old, negative, irrational way of thinking can be stubborn. Some thought patterns can be resistant to change because of what we believe about ourselves, other people, life in general and the future. Fortunately, you can choose what you believe. Change your Core Belief from “I’m stupid,” to “I’m smart.” Then, act as if! Do the things that smart people do—read, watch documentaries, discuss ideas vs people. In doing smart people things, you learn ( you get smarter). And, just like that— “I’m smart!”
Following these tips will get you on the path to becoming your true self, one that’s resilient to the influences of social media and can make your unique contribution to the world. From my perspective, that’s something worth branding!
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. Lauren’s next appearance is on September 9, when she will deliver a Ted Talk entitled Life Works. Her talk is said to highlight various aspects of the book she’s currently writing on “how to do the human-being thing really well.”
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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