Pursuit of Happiness: Being your own hypeman


This week our writer talks about finding happiness within yourself.  (Hammonton Photography/Flickr, Creative Commons)

This week our writer talks about finding happiness within yourself. (Hammonton Photography/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Last weekend, I found myself standing among a group of some of my closest college friends. It was cold and late (we hadn’t slept yet and it was past 6 a.m.), but standing in this group of people, I have never felt more warmth. The love and endearment I felt for each person was so pleasantly overwhelming that our reflective conversation nearly had me in tears. One point of our conversation hit a huge topic prevalent to a group of friends who hold leadership positions over many boards: Being a role model. In this conversation I found out that a lot of people that I look up to and learn so much from do not see themselves as “good” role models.

I have endured a decent amount of pain and heartbreaking experiences, but nothing in this world can compare to the feeling I get when I hear someone I respect and adore talk down on themselves. It’s like seeing your favorite superhero lose to an easy enemy simply because they don’t believe in themselves.

Last week I talked about the importance of setting goals to keep yourself on track, and I briefly mentioned the importance of self-belief in the journey of making your dreams come true. After I heard my friend admit to not recognizing their accomplishments and their tendency to talk down to themselves – when I could clearly see the smart, talented, kind person they are – I realized that I had to address one of the key parts of reaching your goals: Self-motivation.

The idea that the only person standing in your way is you is an idea that I hold close to my heart. Your mindset is everything. Looking at obstacles as things that break you down to build you up stronger can pick you up so much higher than looking at obstacles as impossible to pass roadblocks. It makes every challenge look like an opportunity.

This goes along with what I talked about last week: The law of attraction and speaking your dreams into existence. When you stand in your own way and talk yourself down, you start to speak your self doubts into existence. The more you tell yourself you’re not enough or that you cannot overcome your hardships, the harder life becomes. Mindset is everything.

Mindset is everything, so it is important to reflect on how you think about and perceive yourself. It is important to be humble, but it just as important to acknowledge your achievements, your good values and your impact. How can you see that with every goal you check off your list that you are one step closer to your dream if you can’t look back and see how far you have come?

As corny as it may seem to pat yourself on the back, self-validation and self-motivation are key to achieving goals and being content with that (and thus, a key to happiness and positivity). There are science and facts in what seems like another “happy lifehack.” Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence expert, says that self-motivation plays a huge role in achieving goals and that self-motivation has four components: Drive, commitment, initiative and optimism (https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-motivation/).

In the sphere of psychology, let’s talk about one of the most relevant concepts (in my optimistic eyes) of behavioral psychology: Positive reinforcement. In positive reinforcement, the subject is trained to learn a new behavior by reinforcing the desired behavior with a reward. This encompasses the four components that Goleman brought up. The drive comes from the reward, the commitment comes from goal, the initiative comes from the dream and the optimism keeps you going. Positively reinforcing yourself for your good deeds and achievements is key to tackling a long list of goals without feeling mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. Positive reinforcement gives yourself a reason to keep going, even the fog of self doubt may keep you from believing you can make it.

So remember to treat yourself. When you do something that people tell you is extraordinary, accept that you are doing something incredible. Being humble comes from bragging and the lack of excessive pride: Being humble, however, does not mean that you cannot accept how wonderful you are.

And to all my beautiful, hardworking, smart, thoughtful and kind friends: Be proud of everything you do. You are more than enough.

Hype yourself up a little bit and keep smiling!

Armana Islam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at armana.islam@uconn.edu.

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