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My most profound experiences have been during my volunteer placements. Two of which were at the Jean Tweed Centre and West Park Healthcare Centre. Jean Tweed is an organization that provides a supportive environment for mothers struggling with addictions. I was involved in supporting and educating mothers and their children, many who were nonverbal with autism or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
My current volunteer position at West Park, involves me in supporting adult patients during a lunch program. Many of the adults have suffered from strokes or have multiple sclerosis. I have actualized my true potential and utmost goal in life, which is to strive for excellence as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). I have an intrinsic motivation to emotionally connect with people, especially those in need, as I find deep value in inspiring hope, enhancing the lives of others, and building trusting relationships. As such, happiness has revealed itself to me in a eudaimonic way. This goal has created purpose in my life and it is conducive to my personal growth as an individual. I feel a special suitability, a sense of personal expressiveness, which is deeply motivating. I use these positive emotions as a motivator during challenging times at school, work and volunteering.
The intentional activity of volunteering, which is done at my own volition, has been a useful strategy in promoting optimism. This is especially useful during times that I feel like quitting. I am striving to implement my goals, to make the most of my abilities, in order to make this world a better place by helping others. Overall, I believe this is equated with eudaimonic well-being, as it is in agreement with my core-values.
My experience of happiness can also be considered hedonic. My goals and experiences are based on my self-interests of becoming an SLP. It is an idiosyncratic goal for which will benefit me by maximizing pleasure in my life in various ways, including having a well-paid job that is in tune with my strengths and abilities. A part of my willpower is dependent upon my expectations of what I hope to gain from becoming an SLP, including; job security (decent income), job satisfaction, ability to travel, health insurance, being able to afford experiences in life with family, etc. This correlates with the expectancy-value approach, I expect that by becoming an SLP I will experience positive consequences or rewards and this will in turn make me happy. I have formed these expectations from my experiences as a volunteer and observing and talking to other SLP’s. Happiness in this sense would be pursuing this career path without difficulty and adding up all of these hedonic moments or rewards.
On the questionnaire for my professional goal I got a high score of 37 on the eudaimonic scale and a moderate score of 34 on the Hedonic scale. Since the scores are quite close I think this suggests that pleasure and meaning coexist. My goal is partially based on hedonic values, which is not necessarily a negative thing. I think that seeking pleasure from extrinsic factors, that can be materialistic, is a part of modern western society and that it can be harmless if done in moderation. These pleasurable things would not necessarily improve my happiness long-term, but it would bring momentary enjoyment. On the other hand, realizing my potential and having a purpose in life holds a far greater value in terms of long-term happiness. It is important for your health to live a life that holds eudaimonic value because during difficult times you will be able to find meaning and hopefully optimism.
I believe in a holistic approach to self-discovery and happiness, which can ultimately help us connect to others.
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