Recently, I started learning about Psychology through some wonderful (and free) online courses. As someone who don’t have a background in Psychology, I think they were very useful and they helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself and my own struggles.
Links to the courses:
- Foundations of Psychology
- Depression : a Compassionate View
- The Science of Well-being
One of the most interesting things I learned from the Foundations of Psychology is how depressed people tend to credit positive things to others and negative things to themselves.
When I was studying and struggling in Computer Science, I honestly believed that the only reason I passed the course was because of God’s miracle. It never occurred to me how it could actually be the result of my studying or working hard, because those were some dark times. I enjoy programming now, but I used to hate it. I used to feel like such a failure and moron. Whenever things go wrong, it’s because I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough.
I was stuck in that type of thinking for a long while. I guess, I still think that way now. But I’m trying to change that.
I am named one of GameIndustry.biz 100 Future Talent. This isn’t a humble brag, I’m just stating a fact. After I found out I actually broke down and cried, because I didn’t think I deserved it. I went to the beach and I watched the sunset, and it was beautiful, but it didn’t stop the thoughts in my head telling me that “I’m not good enough”.
I have impostor syndrome and I think that’s because I doubt myself a lot. Also, as a female in the tech and game industry, sadly, people doubt you all the time. I find myself questioning a lot of times if I was just a diversity hire, and some of the other guys I work with also vocally wondered about the same thing about me. Did that sentence make sense?
The Psychology class helped me identify the stressors in my life, and it also introduced ways to cope with stress, and that’s what I’m trying to do now.
Depression: A Compassionate View taught me something very important and that is to be kind to yourself. I need to be kind and be forgiving to myself. Think of myself like I’m talking to a friend who needs help. It also introduced some ways to identify negative thoughts and a plan on how to reflect, rationalize and challenge them.
One of the challenges is to write a compassionate letter to yourself, first start by writing down something that you feel inadequate about, and then you write a letter from the compassionate “other” person, imagine you are writing this letter to your friend, and finally read the letter and feel the compassion and let it sooth and comfort you.
This reminds me of a scene from “The Help”, where the maid is telling the little girl that she is kind, she is smart and she is beautiful. I think we need to spend more time telling ourselves these things and let it sink in.
Finally, I just started the Science of Well-Being class, and for the self-assessment, we are instructed to take some quizzes to measure our happiness, as well as our character strengths. It was also recommended that we try to use our strengths through a series of activities.
I took the quiz and my top 5 character strengths are:
- Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
- Love of Learning
I’m actually quite surprised with the results. Creativity and Love of Learning is something I am aware of and sometimes take pride in. While I think my Christian upbringing really influenced my other strengths.
I recently gave a talk about my journey in the tech and games industry, and I realized later on, is that on the slides where I talk about my achievements, I always preface it with, “I’m lucky” or “I’m fortunate”. I think this goes back to what I mentioned before, I credit every good thing that happens to me to God and to the wonderful people around me, and I have immense gratitude for it, which is good. But it also takes away my efforts from the achievement, if that makes sense. I suppose I need to have a balance.
While Kindness really surprised me. I never really thought of myself as kind, I thought for the longest time that I’m actually quite selfish. I think I’ll try to practice more Kindness and see what happens. But also as I’ve mentioned before, I think I also need to be more kind to myself.
- Character Strengths Survey
- Ways to use your VIA Strengths
I still have a few weeks more for The Science of Well-Being, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you guys updated.