Why It’s 100% OKAY!

I wish I had heard these words back when I suffered with depression.ย ๐Ÿ˜ž

Yes, for nearly a decade I suffered with depression. It’s why I’m so passionate about mental health today!ย ๐Ÿ‘Š

It’s because I’ve been there that I want to show others there’s ways out of it.

And the 1st thing I’d say to someone who is depressed is these words…

โค๏ธย IT’S OKAY…TO NOT BE OKAY.ย โค๏ธ

“But Donald, don’t enable people to keep being depressed! We want to get them OUT of depression, not stay in it! Don’t be stupid!”ย ๐Ÿคช

Ah, but I agree with you here! I don’t want people to be in negative emotional states any longer than they need to be! We’re on the same page here!ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

Where we differ is in the solution!ย โ†”๏ธ

I won’t allow them to shame their emotions. If there’s anything I’ve learned in overcoming depression, it wasn’t by trying to push and force my emotions out of my mind. In fact, I see this method causing much more harm than good.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Hear me out! As a regular meditator, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned with this practice is that our emotions, like our thoughts, are like the weather; they are temporary.ย ๐Ÿ’จ

But the more we resist them when they do appear (our thoughts, our emotions) and we demonize them, the longer they tend to remain.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

If I told you right now NOT think of a pink elephant, what just came into your mind? And if I kept telling you to stop thinking about the pink elephant, what thought remains?ย ๐Ÿ˜

๐ŸŒŸย Your constant focus on what you don’t want is why it’s still here. It has the OPPOSITE effect from what you intend.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

๐Ÿ“Œย Accept WHATEVER you’re feeling. Place no positive or negative label on your present emotions.

๐Ÿ“Œย See if there’s any message your emotions are trying to give you. For depression: the message may be you’re focusing too much on negative thoughts. For anxiety: the message may be you’re doing too many things at once.

๐Ÿ“Œย Once your emotions have no further use, start taking actions in behavior to shift your feelings. It’s different from demonizing and suppressing your feelings. Your behavior will influence the change. Remember: FEELINGS FOLLOW BEHAVIOR!

Hope this helps!ย โค๏ธ

COVID-19 & The Limits of Selfishness!

โš ๏ธย THE LIMITS OF SELFISHNESS!ย โš ๏ธ

Most of us at this point have experienced significant life changes with COVID-19. It’s not just affecting our daily lives but also in how we live them.ย ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

I know some of you will read what I just said and go: โ€œYEAH, THAT’S PUTTING IT LIGHTLY, DONALD!โ€ย ๐Ÿคฌ

By no means do I mean to sound like Iโ€™m downgrading the situation. Iโ€™m taking every preventative measure advised by the CDC and WHO.ย ๐Ÿ’ฏ

I also have loved ones who are way more susceptible than I am to experiencing severe symptoms, so I feel an even bigger responsibility to protect them at this time!ย ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ

I urge you all to take this seriously. ๐‰๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐จ๐ซ ๐ˆ ๐ฆ๐š๐ฒ ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ ๐ฌ๐ฒ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ญ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐๐Ž๐“ ๐š๐ง ๐ž๐ฑ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก! I don’t think you really want to fathom the possibility that your careless actions could be the cause of your loved one’s deaths. I sure don’t!ย ๐Ÿ‘

Speaking of which, I’ve recently become fascinated in seeing people’s responses to the whole situation.ย ๐Ÿ”Ž

IT’S BEEN ALL OVER THE PLACE!ย โ†”๏ธ

The Anxious One treats it like itโ€™s the apocalypse. Scrambling through the local stores like a scavenger, they overflow their cart with the essentials. But those โ€œessentialsโ€ may also include lots of toilet paper, guns, and ammunition.ย ๐Ÿ˜จ

The Entrepreneurial One treats it like itโ€™s a business opportunity. Reportedly there was 1 man who drove 1,300 miles across Tennessee and Kentucky to hoard 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer just so he could resell them online for prices as high as $70 each.ย ๐Ÿค‘

The Paranoid One treats it as a confirmation to their distrust and cynicism. Their prejudices towards China, foreign governments and their citizens are amplified. They see they have been given permission to tell others they โ€œknow whatโ€™s REALLY going onโ€. Tyranny is coming for us all!ย ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

The Carefree One treats it like itโ€™s all hype and thereโ€™s no reason for concern. Large groups of people were still found to be gathering on Miamiโ€™s beaches to celebrate their Spring Break. 1 college student told reporters: โ€œIf I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, Iโ€™m not going to let it stop me from partying.โ€ย ๐Ÿบ

So, what am I supposed to take from all this?!ย ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

If thereโ€™s one common thread I can find, and from the many more responses Iโ€™ve seen as of late, itโ€™s our inherent selfishness, right on display!ย ๐ŸŽฏ

BUT WAIT! Before I come off sounding like a cynical person myself, let me explain! This post is NOT going to be a polemic!ย ๐Ÿ’ฏ

First off, selfishness is not fundamentally bad! We need it for our survival, for our self-preservation, for us to develop skills like independence, self-reliance, and self-love.ย โค๏ธ

In my own life, selfishness has been a HUGE gift for me to work on myself and become a better person!ย ๐Ÿ’ช

If we as humans didn’t possess any sort of selfishness, our lifespans would be cut drastically short! We’d have no motivation to preserve the 1 life we have now!ย ๐Ÿ’€

So, as I like to say: LET’S NOT THROW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATHWATER!ย ๐Ÿ˜…

Yes, we do need selfishness. But what Iโ€™m also saying is we donโ€™t need it to the extent our ancestors did thousands of years ago when they were fighting saber-toothed tigers in the wild!ย ๐Ÿฏ

Because in these rough times, our selfishness:

๐Ÿ‘Žย Has cost us to go in droves to our local stores and hoard excess amounts of items

๐Ÿ‘Žย Has cost us to run out of essential medical supplies and N95 masks for doctors on the frontlines caring for sick patients

๐Ÿ‘Žย Has cost us to needlessly blame each other and mass groups of people we’ve never met

๐Ÿ‘Žย Has cost us to not take information and guidelines from authorities like the CDC and WHO seriously

Selfishness may be the easiest tool for us to use because itโ€™s part of our nature. But itโ€™s also the easiest tool for us to abuse because we so often use it unconsciously.ย ๐Ÿ”จ

Our perception of ourselves and the world is filtered entirely through an Ego of Me!ย ๐Ÿง 

As writer David Foster Wallace put it:

โ€œ๐˜ž๐˜ฆ ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ญ, ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ค ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ง-๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ. ๐˜‰๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ถ๐˜ด. ๐˜๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ, ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ-๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ. ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ต: ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’Š๐’” ๐’๐’ ๐’†๐’™๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’†๐’๐’„๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’”๐’๐’๐’–๐’•๐’† ๐’„๐’†๐’๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐’๐’‡.

๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ ๐˜–๐˜œ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ ๐˜–๐˜œ, ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ ๐˜–๐˜œ, ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ ๐˜–๐˜œ๐˜™ ๐˜›๐˜ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ ๐˜–๐˜œ๐˜™ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ. ๐˜–๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ, ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต, ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ.โ€

So even if a part of me wants to perform an act of moral grandstanding here for you and pretend Iโ€™m the most selfless person in the world, Iโ€™d be lying! I acknowledge the parts of me that are highly selfish!ย ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

The only difference may be in how much I allow this selfish part of me to control my life.ย ๐ŸŽฎ

๐€๐ง๐ ๐ฒ๐ž๐ญ…

I have hope. I like to believe there eventually does comes a point in a person’s maturity where one becomes more aware of their selfish ways and discovers a new paradigm, where they see selfishness no longer has to be the sum of their life.ย ๐Ÿ™Œ

This realization hit for me at a point in my life!ย ๐Ÿ’ฅ

I like to believe thereโ€™s a point where one sets down their Ayn Rand egoism and over time more easily remembers how:

๐Ÿคฏย There are 7.7 billion other people on this planet

๐Ÿคฏย That the world doesnโ€™t revolve around us but around the sun

๐Ÿคฏย That our planet is just 1 of many inside a galaxy we call the Milky Way

๐Ÿคฏย That our galaxy is just 1 out of an estimated 2 trillion galaxies

๐Ÿคฏย That these galaxies extend within a universe estimated to be 93 billion light-years in diameter and is continually expanding…

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธย โ€œWELL, WHEN YOU PUT IT THAT WAY DONALDโ€ฆ!โ€ย ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

We can pretend we’re each the Center of the Universe, but actually we are just, as astrophysicist Carl Sagan called our planet Earth: โ€œa mote of dustโ€.ย ๐ŸŒŽ

Or to present you the same point I’m making but in a more direct way, Iโ€™ll use the lyrics of Kendrick Lamar: โ€œSit down. Be humble.โ€ย ๐Ÿ˜Ž

So again, itโ€™s easy for us to be selfish. As Wallace put it, it’s our ‘๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ’. But itโ€™s REALLY hard to stay selfish at the forefront of your life when you embrace bigger perspectives of the world and our place within it, intellectually and especially emotionally.ย ๐ŸŒŒ

So what now? What can we do, each of us, in order to become a little less selfish? Iโ€™ll leave you again with the words of Wallaceย โฌ‡๏ธ:

โ€œ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’๐’š ๐’Š๐’Ž๐’‘๐’๐’“๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’• ๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’… ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‡๐’“๐’†๐’†๐’…๐’๐’Ž ๐’Š๐’๐’—๐’๐’๐’—๐’†๐’” ๐’‚๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’‚๐’˜๐’‚๐’“๐’†๐’๐’†๐’”๐’” ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’„๐’Š๐’‘๐’๐’Š๐’๐’†, ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’•๐’“๐’–๐’๐’š ๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’๐’–๐’• ๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“ ๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’ ๐’”๐’‚๐’„๐’“๐’Š๐’‡๐’Š๐’„๐’† ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’Ž ๐’๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’Š๐’ ๐’Ž๐’š๐’“๐’Š๐’‚๐’… ๐’‘๐’†๐’•๐’•๐’š, ๐’–๐’๐’”๐’†๐’™๐’š ๐’˜๐’‚๐’š๐’” ๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’š ๐’…๐’‚๐’š.ย โค๏ธ

๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ. ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด, ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ, ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต r๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜จ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ต, ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ.โ€ย ๐ŸŒŒ

So as we continue about our days, I encourage you all to remember these words. There is a time and place for the individual, but right now the time has come to turn our focuses towards the collective.ย ๐Ÿ‘ช

And no, that doesn’t automatically make me a “Communist” for saying that!ย ๐Ÿ˜œ

If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. Do it because the voice in your head tells you it’s the right thing to do. Do it so you remind your survival brain who is the one that’s in charge of your life!ย โœŠ

๐ƒ๐จ ๐ข๐ญ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐š ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฆ๐ž๐š๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ก ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐ .ย โค๏ธ

Why I Never Forgot That TOWN! (PERSONAL)

๐ŸŒซ๏ธ โ€œIN MY RESTLESS DREAMS, I SEE THAT TOWNโ€ฆโ€ ๐ŸŒซ๏ธ

When I was in elementary school, I would often spend the weekend at my dadโ€™s house. ๐Ÿ 

I fondly remember those weekends! They were the epitome of what Iโ€™d call: PURE Relaxation and Indulgence! Or as some people today might call it in modern day: the IDGAF-weekend! ๐Ÿคฃ

On Friday nights heโ€™d pick me up from school, and before we went to his house weโ€™d stop for dinner at the nearby Burger King drive-thru. ๐Ÿ”

Another weekend we may have stopped at the local hot dog place. ๐ŸŒญ

Or heck, another weekend maybe weโ€™d order a bunch of pizzas for pick-up! ๐Ÿ•

As I write this, all the memories are starting to come back to me! I remember the times my dad, sister, and I would order a few huge pizzas, each with different toppings, along with a few liters of soda, and we’d pick them up from the local pizza place. ๐Ÿฅค

We’d spend the rest of Friday night binging on pizza, soda, and watching movies! ๐Ÿ“บ

For those who know me now, let me clarify: eating healthy was NOT at all a factor for me back as a young teen! ๐Ÿ˜…

And I remember one of my favorite movies Iโ€™d watch again and again was โ€œGood Burgerโ€, a very dumb comedy but all of us shared the same sense of humor! ๐Ÿ˜‚

But as time passed, my sister got older and found other ways to spend her weekends. Eventually these weekends became just my dad and I spending time together. ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

But no worries, it wasnโ€™t just a pile of junk food and movies. We also had VIDEOGAMES! ๐ŸŽฎ

I can vividly remember the days of me packing up my PlayStation 2 into a suitcase every weekend before heading to my dadโ€™s house. Iโ€™d wrap up the console and game controllers in towels because I didnโ€™t want them to bang around in the suitcase during the travel there. ๐Ÿ‘

And so, every weekend Iโ€™d pack it up in a suitcase with other PlayStation 2 games, and Iโ€™d bring them over to my dadโ€™s house to play. ๐Ÿ˜

Sometimes weโ€™d stop at Blockbuster and Iโ€™d rent other videogames. For those not old enough to remember (I am getting OLD), Blockbuster was a store you could go in to rent movies and videogames for a set period of time and fee. ๐Ÿ“ผ

If youโ€™re still not familiar, this was all before Netflix! ๐Ÿ˜œ

Anyways, I remember renting MANY videogames including Pokemon games for my GameBoy Color, multiplayer games so I could play with my dad, and gamesโ€ฆthat definitely my mom wouldnโ€™t approve of me playing at such a young age. ๐Ÿ˜…

But Dad did! ๐Ÿคซ

I canโ€™t mention how many times I begged my dad rent the videogame โ€œGrand Theft Auto: Vice Cityโ€ for me. It was my favorite videogame, and I played for hours on end! โณ

To explain the game in the most politically correct way, you play a gangster in an open-ended city environment where you are pretty much able to do whatever you wanted. Most often than not that anything included some sort of crime and avoiding the cops! ๐Ÿš”

Mom, if youโ€™re reading thisโ€ฆnow you know! โค๏ธ

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ โ€œDONALDโ€ฆYOUโ€™RE RAMBLING AGAIN! WHATโ€™S YOUR POINT WITH THIS POST?โ€ ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

Donโ€™t worry, Iโ€™m getting there! This post is NOT about this game. This post is NOT even about hanging out at my dadโ€™s on the weekends!

If you remember the title at the beginning of the post, you may see where Iโ€™m headingโ€ฆ

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ โ€œโ€ฆUH, NO? RESTLESS DREAMS? WHAT TOWN? PLUS, YOU DIDNโ€™T WRITE A POLARIZING CLICKBAIT TITLE TO GRAB MY ATTENTION! Iโ€™M ABOUT TO STOP READING DONALD!โ€ ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

Feel free, I donโ€™t blame you! Iโ€™m sick of trying to endlessly please others anyway. And thatโ€™s why Iโ€™m even writing this post in the first place! โค๏ธ

What I really wanted to share with you all is a part of me a lot of you donโ€™t know about. For most who have met and known me the past few years, youโ€™ve seen many facets on my diamond. ๐Ÿ’Ž

But itโ€™s time for another facet to be illuminated, if not for you all but for my own authenticity! I say I’m going to be more real, so here you go…! ๐Ÿ˜Š

For those of you who have read my previous posts, Iโ€™ve lately become very passionate about the Psychological Development of the Individual.

I truly believe that if more of us took the time to analyze and understand ourselves that we’d discover there’s so much more to our greater potentials we have yet to unravel! โค๏ธ

But as a matter of fact, this passion for Psychology isnโ€™t new for me. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

In fact, if you want to know where my real passion for Psychology first started, it was HERE! It started way back here at my dad’s house when I was a teenager…

It was when I visited the town of Silent Hill. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

What used to once be a resort town has become a ghost town. What used to be a town filled with tourists is now completely empty, its streets shrouded in an endless fog. The complete history of Silent Hill remains a mystery, but what is known is it has a dark past. โŒ›

To clarify, Silent Hill is NOT a real town. It is actually the fictional creation of some Japanese videogame developers back in the early 2000’s, who made a series of survival horror videogames centered around this mysterious town. ๐Ÿ”Ž

But there was one particular game I played as a young teen at my dad’s house that caught my attention more than most: “Silent Hill 2”. ๐ŸŒซ๏ธ

โ€œDONALD, HORROR AND VIDEOGAMES ARE NOT MY THING! WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH PSYCHOLOGY?โ€

Iโ€™m getting there, donโ€™t worry! ๐Ÿ˜Š

So apart from me shooting up gangsters in “Grand Theft Auto” every weekend at my dadโ€™s house, I was also entranced playing the Silent Hill series and continuously renting it from Blockbuster too! ๐Ÿ’ฟ

It was the first โ€œhorrorโ€ game I can say I ever really wanted to play. Because Iโ€™m really not a big โ€œhorrorโ€ person! ๐Ÿ˜…

But something really caught my interest about the games, especially “Silent Hill 2”. It wasnโ€™t so much the “horror” or the โ€œmonstersโ€ in the games as much as it was about the story and its themes. ๐Ÿ“–

I was fascinated by how deep the storylines went, how complex (and all-too-human) the characters were, and how there was so much happening beneath the surface of the game! ๐Ÿ”Ž

Itโ€™s important I emphasize again: Iโ€™m NOT a big horror buff. But I realized that Silent Hill was not just some haunted house of โ€œboosโ€ game. What I was discovering for the first time in my life was what was commonly referred to as the genre of psychological horror. ๐Ÿ˜จ

Unlike other horror thatโ€™s filled with tons of jumpscares and gruesome violence, this horror dealt with the mind. Sometimes the greatest fears are the we create in our heads. Sometimes itโ€™s what you DON’T see thatโ€™s actually scarier than whatโ€™s actually there. ๐Ÿง 

โ€œVIDEOGAMES BEING โ€˜DEEPโ€™?! GIVE ME A BREAK DONALD!โ€

In order for you to greater understand what I mean, Iโ€™m going to briefly share with you the storyline of Silent Hill 2. โฌ‡๏ธ

It tells the story of James Sunderland, a man who is still grieving the loss of his wife Mary from 3 years prior. One day, James receives a mysterious letter from his Mary, saying sheโ€™s “waiting for him” in the town of Silent Hill, in their โ€œspecial placeโ€. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Yes, you read that right. He receives a letter from his late wife who died 3 years prior from a terminal disease saying sheโ€™s waiting for him in the town! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Still haunted by his grief and determined to seek closure, he heads to Silent Hillโ€ฆand what he soon finds is far more haunting than he could ever imagine…! ๐Ÿคซ

In order for you to better understand the โ€œpsychologyโ€ Iโ€™m referring to, Iโ€™m going to have to spoil the twists of the story for you all. For those who may want to actually play the game without spoilers, Iโ€™m giving you a warning NOW!

๐Ÿ›‘ DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! ๐Ÿ›‘

๐Ÿ›‘ SERIOUSLY! ๐Ÿ›‘

๐Ÿ›‘ THESE SPOILERS ARE WHY THE GAME IS STILL CONSIDERED A MASTERPIECE TO THIS DAY! ๐Ÿ›‘

โฌ‡๏ธ OKAY, HERE WE GO! โฌ‡๏ธ

Eventually, James finds his way to he and Mary’s โ€œspecial placeโ€ that she referred to in her letter. After hours of playing the game, we as the audience are finally confronted with the truth about what happened to Mary…๐Ÿ™Œ

We realize that James, the character weโ€™ve been playing the entire time, is NOT the hero of this story. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

The letter he received from Mary didnโ€™t exist; it was just a black sheet of paper. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Mary didnโ€™t die 3 years ago; it was only a few days ago. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

And Mary didnโ€™t die of her terminal disease; James killed her in a desperate act to end both of their suffering. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

James didnโ€™t actually go to Silent Hill to find his wife; the guilty part of his unconscious drew him there so he could face the truth. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The monsters James encounters in the town are not real monsters; they are manifestations conjured out of Jamesโ€™s personal fears and desires. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The other people he meets in the town may be real, but they are merely a means for James to continue coming closer to the truth. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

One character he meets is a woman who looks exactly like his wife. But her name isnโ€™t Mary; itโ€™s Maria. Sheโ€™s not conservative like Mary; Maria is seductive and sexual. Sheโ€™s not independent like Mary; Maria is overly needy and dependent on James. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

But throughout the game, James continues to finds himself in helpless situations with Maria, where he keeps having to see her get killed by something outside his control over and over again. And for every time she turns up miraculously okay, another situation soon happensโ€ฆ๐Ÿ˜ซ

In finding out the truth, we realize that Maria isnโ€™t real. Sheโ€™s representative of who James wished Mary was. Maria is only a pawn created by the town to torture James, for every time she dies James is always unable to save her. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

And it is only when James fully confronts his demons, when he’s face to face with the truth, that the town no longer has power over him. It is only when he has made closure with his past that he is then free to leave Silent Hillโ€ฆ

So yeah, itโ€™s no Grand Theft Auto! ๐Ÿ˜†

But psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung would have a field day psychoanalyzing this game! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

So there you have it! As unlikely as it sounds, my fascination with Psychology really did start off on a much DARKER note to say the least! ๐Ÿ˜…

And donโ€™t worry, even for the sake of this post I am still covering the bare minimum. There are way darker themes in the game I didn’t even mention here. Play the game if you dare! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

So yeah, perhaps some of my followers are shocked reading this, thinking a guy like me could ever ever be interested in stuff like this, to think the โ€œHappy Guyโ€ wasnโ€™t always about sunshine and rainbows! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m not afraid to embrace the dark. It helps the light shine even brighter! โ˜ฏ๏ธ

But as you can see these days, my love for psychology has clearly evolved from not just focusing on the darkest places but also to the brightest. But Iโ€™ve never forgotten my roots. Iโ€™ve never forgotten how “Silent Hill 2” was the starting point for me. ๐Ÿ‘

One thing is for sure: I would NOT be as passionate about Psychology today had I never visited Silent Hill…and squinted my eyes every time I heard nearby monsters in the game! ๐Ÿคฃ

It means a lot to me, to say the least! Yes, itโ€™s quite a darker topic, so I doubt youโ€™ll see me make any other posts about it in the future. But I wanted to share it with you all because it’s a part of me you don’t typically see! It’s always been there, just not as openly shared…and now it is! ๐Ÿ˜

If there’s anything you as a reader can take from this, “Silent Hill 2” reminds me how we all create our own subjective reality, for better or for worse. We may not have a town physically manifesting our hopes and fears but our minds certainly manifest how we see ourselves and other people. ๐Ÿ‘€

It reminds me how powerful the unconscious mind is, how itโ€™s influencing our lives even when weโ€™re not consciously aware of it. ๐Ÿง 

It reminds me to always look beneath the surface of what we say and do. So often there’s always far more than meets the eye. ๐Ÿ‘€

It reminds me how we need to make peace with our inner demons or they can mentally wreak havoc on our lives. ๐Ÿ™Œ

As Oscar Wilde put it: โ€œWe are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.โ€ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

๐ŸŒซ๏ธ โ€œIN MY RESTLESS DREAMS, I SEE THAT TOWNโ€ฆโ€ ๐ŸŒซ๏ธ

Why You Should BE OFFENDED!

๐Ÿคฌย BE OFFENDED!ย ๐Ÿคฌ

If you’re offended, you know what: that’s FANTASTIC!ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

I’m not kidding, being offended is AWESOME!ย ๐Ÿ’ฏ

๐Ÿ—ฃย “HAVE YOU GONE MAD, DONALD?!”ย ๐Ÿ—ฃ

No, seriously! I want you to find ways to be offended! BUT hear me out!ย ๐Ÿ‘‚

Why the hell am I even saying that? That sounds ridiculous, right?!ย ๐Ÿคจ

๐ŸŒŸย Because when you feel offended, you have the opportunity to ask yourself: “Why?”ย ๐ŸŒŸ

๐Ÿ“–ย “What upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things.” ~ Epictetusย ๐Ÿ“–

Often times we are NOT aware why we are offended. Often times we are not even aware what judgments we are making about people, things, and situations in our lives. We simply just…be offended.ย ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Let’s put an end to that!ย ๐Ÿ›‘

๐ŸŒŸย The fact we don’t understand our emotions is the very reason we need to feel them, so we can understand what’s going on beneath the surface.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

Ask yourself: “WHY???”ย ๐Ÿ—ฃ

๐Ÿ“ย Did someone say something that went against your beliefs?

๐Ÿ“ย Did a situation remind you of a past event where you felt hurt?

๐Ÿ“ย Did you feel powerless and your body went into defense mode?

I can’t answer those questions for you. But the better you understand yourself and what offends you, the better you can handle those stressful responses in the future.ย ๐Ÿ˜„

Rather than be empowered through being offended, you can now be empowered through self-awareness!ย ๐Ÿ’ช

๐ŸŒŸย The answers to your “Why” are the reasons to your suffering.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

I’m NOT saying be offended for the sake of being offended. We’ve just been missing this second step for far too long!ย ๐Ÿ‘

I’m saying be offended…AND let it be your gateway towards introspection, towards a better understanding of yourself of your beliefs, your values, and your sense of identity.ย ๐Ÿ‘ค

So please: Be offended…AND ask yourself “Why?” Just don’t forget the second step, okay?!ย โค๏ธ