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Education healing Mental Health Mindfulness Psychology

The Truth About Being Happy

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s not an abnormal desire. We’re here, on this planet for a short period of time, so it’s natural to deter feelings of misery or pain. It’s not fun and it doesn’t feel good.

For most, the concept of happiness has taken a left turn. People seek it as if it’s some attainable permanent mood, which is entirely counterproductive.

Happiness is not something you win like unlocking new levels on a video game. Even if you’re listed on a leader board, will that be good enough, or will you find another game to beat?

Life is full of unexpected problems. That’s the inevitable truth. People you love will die. Shit won’t work out the way you hoped or planned. People will break your heart and betray you. That’s life. But, does that mean you can’t “be happy?”

When problems slap us in the face, happiness feels like a distant destination. Perhaps, we’re on the wrong road, or maybe, it’s a place we’ll simply never get to. Obviously, these defeating thoughts can easily become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Sitting with pain is not something the mind and body particularly enjoys. In fact, like a machine, it’s hardwired to protect against invading stimulus. Consider a terrorist attack on ones homeland. Immediately, forces are set in place to protect and defend the country against further casualties.

Successful or not, the threat remains present. Plans will be devised to prevent a similar attack from occurring but bad blood remains. What they decide to do about it, isn’t the point, because if a solution exists, the aftermath of destruction doesn’t disappear. It happened. It’s real. People will suffer the consequence.

Our body works in a similar fashion, immediately defending from outside threats and attacks. It may successfully avoid, distract, or escape the pain, but it’s still there.

Staying present and falling into the wave feels unnatural. Our bodies are conditioned to enter survival mode, but unless you’re living in a jungle, continually attacked by primal species, reactivity is unnecessary.

As humans, it’s tremendously difficult to sit with pain, and unfortunately, it’s the only way to successfully banish it. Happiness is temporary, and so is pain. It comes in waves. Riding the wave as it comes, rather than fighting against it, is useful when hit with the next wave. The current won’t be as strong, the wave will be less demanding, and it arrives at your shore less and less.

Training the body to respond differently requires self awareness when trivial threats arise. Instead of habitually responding without much thought or logic, remain open to the “attack.”

It’s not going to kill you, and in fact, your body becomes resilient. Giving space for pain to exist is like paving a road to a “happier” existence. The more resilient you are, the less defensive you’ll be. Situations that were once deemed problematic are suddenly nonsensical and silly.

Although you’ll never reside inside of a permanent happy bubble, you’ll learn to withstand discomfort, and that alone is a freeing existence.

-Jessica Bruno

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Education healing Mental Health Mindfulness people Psychology Uncategorized

Do You Have A Destructive Ego?

The ego is a friend. Well….if it can be trusted. A healthy ego provides balance. It protects us from acting on basic urges and sets moral standards. Ego’s can wreak havoc, resembling more of an enemy than a trusted counterpart, and unfortunately, successfully dominates the life of most individuals.

A primitive ego seeks power, control, and regulation. Think of this as the first layer of an onion, defending against the more fragile layers hidden underneath, such as vulnerability, fear, shame, and insecurity.

An ego rooted in fear constantly wages wars in the mind, behaves destructively, and often regrets poor decisions. Our emotions are hijacked during distressing events. To ease discomfort, our bodies create defenses to protect us.

A protective self manifests when struggling to regulate emotions or carrying unresolved issues and unhealed wounds. The protective self is false. It’s oblivious to the hidden layers of the onion.

When I was betrayed by someone I loved, the protective self masked my feelings of rejection and inadequacy with anger, distracting away emotions I didn’t want to feel. This resulted in destructive, spiteful behavior, making matters worse. Inevitably I was led right back to those avoided emotions, except they had intensified.

A weak ego sticks to what’s comfortable, whereas a strong ego understands embracing discomfort is healing and necessary. The ego isn’t intentional. It believes it’s doing the right thing, which is why we must check that shit.

Three effective ways to check our egos:

  1. Do not assume or judge without first considering all perspectives. In other words, be open to the possibility that your perception may be biased or inaccurate. Listen to others before reaching conclusions.
  2. Ask yourself what the ego is seeking. In personal relationships, pride, control, and anger are consuming emotions and tend to make terrible decisions for us. Connect and listen to your body and mind before engaging impulsively. Remember to never make decisions in the heat of an intense emotion. Wait until the ego calms the fuck down and only then should you reevaluate.
  3. Make a list of fears, flaws, and insecurities and examine how your ego acts in defense to those things. The ego masks the aspects of our identity we perceive as bad. Practicing self-love and compassion is important. The “bad” aspects of ourselves are typically irrational and stem from a place of pain. Reflection, self-love, and feeling the bad things allow you to heal and grow with them, rather than against.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
Education Emotionally Unavailable love psychology Relationships Toxic Love Uncategorized

The Reason You Date Emotionally Unavailable Men.

Do you continue dating unavailable men? If I asked, “What are the warning signs of an emotionally unavailable partner,” you’d recite them swifter than a recovering alcoholic recounting the big book.

After dating several self-absorbed men, you’d assume spotting one a mile away would be easy, as if their clothes are draped in red hazard lights, sporting a sign that reads, “Caution, you are entering a hazard zone. Turn around or die.”

You were certain this guy was different, and yet, he turned out to be the same. What gives?

Well, the common denominator in all your relationships is you. The process unfolds in a subtle manner, so it’s easy to conclude you’re the available one and he’s not. You’re also emotionally unavailable, and the reason this truth is deceptive, is because it began in infancy.

John Bowlby’s, Theory of Attachment is widely recognized in the field of psychology, and offers insight into how emotional bonds formed in early childhood affects ability to secure relationships later on in life. In order for a child to develop normal social and emotional development, a healthy attachment must be formed with at least one caregiver.

It’s the first relationship a child experiences and it sets the tone for future bonds as it teaches what it means to be loved and nurtured. Receiving adequate nurture and affection throughout early childhood develops an adult with secure attachment– securing fulfilling and healthy relationships with likeminded people.  

Out of the four, the avoidant and anxious-insecure are the two adult attachment styles that compel to one another, forming a toxic, dysfunctional relationship. Avoidant dismissive attachment develops when a primary caregiver fails to comfort their infant, forming an inclination to suppress their emotions.

The avoidant-dismissive adult has learned, in early development, to bury emotions due to the formed belief that depending on others isn’t sufficient in meeting their needs, hence their value for independence and desire to remain detached- avoiding vulnerability.

Anxious-insecure adults receive inconsistent nurture from caregivers; fluctuating between responsiveness and affection, while other times, unresponsive, and emotionally unavailable. Having needs met is a gamble. This unpredictable behavior is confusing, causing a child to cling as an act of desperation- like hey! I’m here you asshole, pay attention to me!

 When successful, the child feels rewarded and validated, encouraging the clingy behavior, and when it’s not, feelings of insecurity and distrust arise. Anxious adults internalize beliefs that love is a confusing and inconsistent ordeal, influencing future relationships to reenact that relational dynamic.

Opposites do attract. An avoidant adult is familiar to the anxious adult since they offer unpredictable displays of affection, resembling their first attachment. As he pulls away, you seek validation by moving closer, and if successful, needs are met. This dynamic allows space for both partners to dance around their opposing vulnerabilities.

 He retreats with little consequence, since you’re always waiting for his return. With control to set the limitations, this persistent cycle mainly benefits him. Within this dynamic, a committed relationship will not form, allowing both partner to remain unavailable, acting in a way that’s familiar.

If you haven’t considered the relationships formed during early development, I would recommend doing so. A significant portion of human behavior is learned from childhood. We tend to behave, abiding by what we believe is “normal.” As a child, belief systems aren’t challenged, and unfortunately, are so engrained, that as adults, we hardly recognize their influence.

It’s important to stay vigilant, discover your blind spots, and challenge them!

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
healing Mental Health Mindfulness Psychology Uncategorized

How To Heal Emotional Wounds

Emotional wounds are a complex form of trauma, stemming from painful experiences, which profoundly affect functioning and/or psychological state.

The impact of such a wound is quite similar to physical pain, and in fact, if an individual were to undergo a scan during moments of emotional and physical pain, brain activity would lit up in the same area. Emotional pain can cause physical pain, and if it doesn’t, that wrecked mental state is psychologically painful.

Such wounds typically develop during childhood when needs aren’t met. Abandonment or rejection from a primary caregiver leaves an imprint, which may be carried through adult life outside ones of awareness. Other times, events such as divorce, loss, or breakups occurring later in life leave hefty wounds.

Emotional wounds must be processed, otherwise they’re considered unhealed, eliciting a lasting devastation. It’s like carrying a heavy bag of weights, which presents itself through feelings of irritability, anxiety, or depression.

If you have an unhealed emotional wound you may have difficulty sleeping, isolate from others, grapple with low self esteem, random bouts of loneliness, feeling lost and/or numb.

Healing emotional wounds requires a healthy action plan. Implementing the following steps will help process and heal your emotional scars.

1. Understand your emotional pain. To do this you must be aware as it occurs, paying close attention to your thoughts and what they’re saying. Change your internal dialogue by replacing unhealthy thoughts with healthy ones.

2. Instead of numbing, escaping, or avoiding the emotional pain, fall into it. Notice bodily areas affected by the pain. Unprocessed pain is stored, becoming locked inside your body, revealing itself in unexpected, hurtful ways. Allowing yourself to feel that pain aids in releasing the energy.

3. During such moments, do what your body is telling you (as long as it’s harmless- of course) If you need to cry or scream- do it. Once subsided, comfort and self soothe yourself with positive affirmations such as, “You’re safe and loved,” until you feel safe expressing, validating, and owning your emotions.

4. Journaling is an effective practice to reflect and process emotions. Write down feelings or thoughts that make an entrance throughout the day. It’s hard to reason with the mind, especially when it feels like someone’s running a marathon up there, enslaving you until they finally pass the finish line. Writing helps slow your thoughts down so you can reason with that beast in the attic.

Be patient and persistent. Healing requires time, especially when battling emotions you’ve grown comfortable neglecting.

Create space for healing to take place and be gentle while doing so. Refrain from critical self-talk. Validate your emotions instead of judging them. Everyone is entitled to feel what they feel and that doesn’t define you.

Sending love to those struggling. It doesn’t last forever. ❤

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
Education Mental Health Mindfulness people psychology

You don’t feel too much. You react too much.

“Emotions suck. Feeling too deeply sucks. If I didn’t care so much, I’d be happier and life would be easier.”

These trending thoughts aren’t unique. Emotions have a bad reputation and in the upmost literal sense- it’s melodramatic.

Think of emotions as a stage and you, the leading character. Your last performance was a total shit show. Audience wasn’t engaged, lines were forgotten and attempted redemption, made matters worse.

Nervously exerting unnecessary effort, caused a tumble off stage and you nearly broke a leg; painful and embarrassing, but fuck that, it was a tough crowd.

Blaming an audience is an easy way out and we do it all the time. You were late for work, two days in a row, and forget a few tasks on your to do list. Your boss expresses concern and issues a warning.

You’re pissed off, but whatever, everyone knows he’s an asshole who sits behind his desk all day, only lifting a finger to stuff powdered donuts in his mouth.

When trivial matters seem catastrophic, balancing emotions feels impossible. Everything bothers you and everyone sucks. A breakup, divorce, or unemployment ( not trivial matters) really succeed in twisting that knife in your back, eliciting a plethora of feelings you’d rather not deal with.

That’s to be expected, right? Shit happens and sometimes it sucks. Emotions arise and controlling them can be a struggle. Maybe if you didn’t feel so much or care about the asshole who upset you- it wouldn’t be like this. Wrong.

We’re quick to judge and label our emotions as being either “good” or “bad.” Is it really that bad or is it bad because you told yourself it’s bad?

Pain is not only a normal aspect of being human, but it’s necessary, informing what we should and shouldn’t do, what we like and what we don’t like. It’s neither good nor bad, it just is. Somethings are out of our control and that’s okay too.

We’re all guilty of self defeating thoughts when facing “bad” emotions, but the emotion isn’t the problem, responses are. You don’t care too much or feel too much, you react too much.

Responding to a negative emotion is often irrational and impulsive. A driver cuts you off merging lanes so you flip her off. In the midst of doing so, you see an elderly woman behind the wheel and suddenly feel awful.

Reactions are preventable. Taking a deep breath, setting aside your road rage fueled anger would have been more effective. You’d probably ask, why am I getting worked up over something so stupid? Its not like I’ve never cut someone off before.

Five minutes is all that’s required to calm down your body and gain a more rational perspective. Acting on emotion reinforces it, like oil to a fire. If you’re feeding the flame, it takes longer to die out.

A significant portion of human suffering is self-inflicted. Ironically, actions are motives to make us feel better but it makes us feel worse. For this reason, awareness is a crucial tool to procure in your tool box, and you do so by being your own detective.

What am I feeling? What’s causing this feeling? Why this feeling problematic to me? Is there alternative ways to view this problem, and if so, what are they? How would I like to respond? Is that necessary and will the outcome be satisfying and effective? If not, what’s a better response?

Asking these questions brings awareness toward the body, allowing you to re-center and gain a more rational perspective of the crime scene.

Self affirmation is also a powerful tool. Feelings are fleeting and that gentle reminder is impactful. “I won’t feel this way forever.” Saying this creates a distance between you and your emotion, lessening it’s influence.

You have the power to transform what you feel by regulating responses. It’s the easier road to travel…so what are you waiting for?

Change your direction.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

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Education love people psychology Relationships Society

You’re dating a human, not a supreme being….right?

Oftentimes, partners and relationships are first on an individuals list of values, as if their some supreme god. Although meaningful and important, a top value should never be a person, place, or a thing.

Values are a critical component in our lives, motivating and dictating all behavior. Values influence ethical behavior, as well as personal passions and beliefs. They create boundaries– informing others how we’d like to be treated and what we won’t accept.

What is most important to you, says a lot about you. For example, if compassion is a high value of yours, its likely you’re an understanding, giving, and healthy person. Perhaps, this has influenced your career path or ability to create meaningful relationships.

However, if you value something that’s not measurable, such as a person or a thing, you’re treading deep waters. When a value is externally based– it’s subject to change, meaning you lost free will of the outcome. You can’t control people or situations…only how you respond to them, but if control over that value is lost, whatever you lost it to, now holds the power.

People can hurt and betray you. If they’re at the top of your list of values, then what do you do? Values give our life meaning and your number one just shattered into a million pieces.

One betrays the self when choosing unhealthy values, creating a destructive mess. If respect is high on the list, and someone disrespects you, its likely you’d cut them out of your life (assuming it’s appropriate given the situation.)

However, if you value respect just as much as a partner, what happens if they profoundly disrespect you? Let’s say they committed an act of infidelity. Since both values are just as important, what do you do?

You might accept the mistreatment and later feel ashamed, because you trashed a significant value. What did it ever do to you?! Conflicting values become problems in several aspects of your life.

A person, place, or thing isn’t maintainable, as opposed to dignity, security, or respect. It’s also important that such values aren’t measured by people, places, or things.

If you allow your dignity or respect to be betrayed by an individual, those are wavering values. I understand people will challenge your values. Naturally, you may be disrespected or hurt by the actions of another, but this doesn’t mean those values should be called into question.

If people are valued above everything, they’re given power to dictate your life. It should be yours and yours only.

Own your values.

What are your top five values?

How do you measure those values?

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
Education healing Mindfulness psychology

The Stories We Tell

Humans are the only documented species known to tell stories.

We’re the most intellectually advanced species, using language and abstract thinking to hypothesize scenarios and experiences.

When an intellectual species invades earth, I’m sure this will change, and I hope I’m alive to see it because I should be dating an alien. It’s more fitting than these human men.

Stories shape our reality. They influence and enforce our identity, the way we view the world, as well as others. When relating to someone, else’s story, you’ll use your own to help connect.

All moments and situations in life are perceived through personal biases and subjectivity. Your environment, past relationships, and experiences have influenced your perspectives, thus the way you tell stories. For example, has someone’s actions ever appalled you?

For whatever reason, that person behaved in an unexpected way that caused you to feel personal about it. As you witnessed their behavior, you relied on your own beliefs and past experiences to judge the situation and develop an opinion. Needless to say, others may have a different perception of the same situation.

The Art of Making It All Make Sense

Did you know every story must make sense to you? If it doesn’t, you’ll search for meaning that does. Trouble arises when emotions distort our perspectives, leading to irrational storytelling. As a child, if my mom didn’t come home from work at the usual time, I would become sick with worry.

I’d imagine something terrible happened to her, and the later she was, the more drastic my hypothetical scenarios became. As she walked through the door, I would throw a hissy fit. She’d be like, “Jessica I was at the store and left my phone in the car.” Suddenly, I felt stupid for the stories I told.

While experiencing intense emotions, our stories can become ridiculous, motivating inappropriate behavior. It becomes even more problematic when we’re unaware of the stories we’ve been telling and how they build upon each other.

In relationships, stories become all kinds of fucked up. If your experiences were bad, it likely altered your beliefs and perspectives, entrancing their way to present relationships. For example, let’s say your ex cheated with a stripper.

One night, your new partner is hanging with the boys and hasn’t responded to your text message. Three hours pass and your imagination runs wild-now you’re considering he’s at the strip club, having sex with a stripper.

Melodramatic examples are the best when driving a point home. Honestly, I’ve yet to understand why strippers have become a common reference of mine.

Defining Your Story

Stories are often exaggerated and falsify the truth. Personal insecurities or perceived shortcomings are often overstated and magnified– skewing how we see ourselves. We begin crafting this identity throughout early development.

Imagine the stories we told at a young age when we didn’t know any better? Bits and pieces of our identity get stuck with us, influencing our adult life outside awareness.

For example, if you were bullied at a young age, you may have faced low self esteem and insecurity, even after the bullying stopped. Both positive and negative moments bring forward thoughts and feelings. Beliefs arise and become engrained within us.

More often than not, we don’t even know what those beliefs are or what they’re saying on a daily basis. We have a shit ton of daily thoughts, coupled with an internal dialogue that never shuts up.

It’s difficult to listen when it’s goes on and on, like background music. You become desensitized to its noise. But you shouldn’t tune it out- especially if you’re unsatisfied with an aspect of your life or if looking to improve and self develop.

The amazing thing about being a storyteller is having the ability to change your story. After all, you’re the author. But first, you must listen to the story and decide what needs re-writing.

This is where mindfulness comes in. It’s a successful technique for emotional regulation, as well as increasing the mind/body experience.

To understand what’s going on upstairs in that mind of yours, you must remain fully present in the moment, attentive to arising thoughts and emotions while remaining accepting, without judgement.

This is how you bring attention to awareness and heal. Mindfulness takes dedication because initially- its challenging. But, if you set aside at least fifteen minutes each day, you’ll begin listening and hearing in ways you weren’t able to do before.

What stories are you telling?

What stories would you like to tell?

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
healing Letting go love Narcissistic Abuse psychology Relationships Toxic Love Toxic Relationships

Narcissism Isn’t A Choice – It’s A Mental Disorder

When healing from narcissistic abuse, the aftermath of confusion and pain are often the focus of conversation.

Of course, it’s healthy to discuss and understand your relationship with a narcissist, but I’ve noticed an important aspect missing in that conversation.

Narcissism is a mental illness. In the DSM-5: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, (also my version of google) refers to this illness as Narcissist Personality Disorder.

For an individual to meet criteria for diagnosis, five of the following nine symptoms must be present:

  • 1. Grandiose sense of self- importance
  • 2. Preoccupation with fantasies of success, brilliance, power, ideal love, and beauty.
  • 3. A belief that he or she is special or unique and can only be understood by likeminded individuals.
  • 4. A need for excessive admiration
  • 5. A sense of entitlement
  • 6. Exploitative behaviors
  • 7. A lack of empathy ***
  • 8. Envy of others or belief others are envious of them
  • 9. Arrogant or haughty attitude and behaviors

A disclaimer is paramount: behavior ranges on a spectrum. Not all individuals who display a few of these symptoms meet criteria for diagnosis. The average person will experience moments of self-importance, arrogance, entitlement, or a need for admiration, etc.

During an evaluation, presence of symptoms is not enough- duration and frequency are essential components when considering diagnosis. A person who exhibits such symptoms for a short period of time, on a less frequent basis, will not qualify for narcissistic personality disorder.

An individual must present with five out of nine symptoms, beginning in early childhood and also occurring in multiple situations. A desire for admiration, sense of entitlement, arrogance, in romantic relations alone- isn’t enough.

An individual fitting criteria for diagnosis would frequently meet five symptoms with an early onset, causing impairment in several domains of life- social, vocational, educational, and relationships.

Being aware of this is important for healing to take place. You were dealing with a mentally ill individual that operates under a skewed and irrational perception of reality. If he doesn’t acknowledge or seek intensive therapy, he’ll continue to suffer from NPD.

Nothing was your fault. Take it with a grain of salt and never take his actions personally. There’s nothing you could have done differently to change him. It’s a decision he must make. If forced upon him, it would only lead to resentment and under such circumstance, improvement is rarely effective.

All that confusion, frustration, and mental exhaustion wears you down, to the degree of questioning your own sanity. You were in love with an individual who currently lacks capability to think and behave rationally, using manipulation and exploitation as means of communication.

You’re not crazy, dramatic, or asked for too much. You were a vicim responding to a confusing and abusive situation.

This weight is not yours to carry.

It’s time to put it down.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

Categories
Education healing love psychology Relationships

They Always Come Back


You’re finally feeling like your old self again. All those days stuck in fear, wondering if you’ll ever move on are now thoughts of the past…and then bam! Out of nowhere, he pops up, creeping his way in with a plan to hijack your mind. And it works.

Why does this happen now, when you’re practically touching the finish line? It’s like he turns into a canine dog with advanced receptors in his nose, getting a whiff of you moving on and then tracking you down.

It’s selfish love. If this isn’t the first time, it’s likely you’ve fallen in this trap before. How did that work out? Probably not well.

An emotionally unavailable man, sensing their ex moving on, is hit with unresolved conflict. Their immaculate ability to repress emotions has reached a dead end street.

All those notes, brainstormed and carefully written into your phone, later sending as text messages, (I know the deal) fed his ego. He’s now feeling uneasy….or even worse- emotional.

He doesn’t want you to move on. What if you find someone better than him? What if you never speak to him again? If he’s so concerned, why didn’t he consider that before? Because he’s emotionally unavailable and loves conditionally.

True love has no conditions. Using affection as a tool for control isn’t love. There are strings attached- expectations.

Unconditional love doesn’t seek rewards. Love isn’t some business transaction. What do I get in return? Like a puppy, scratching at your door, tail in-between his legs; he’s looking for compensation. No matter what he says or does, it’s driven by an urge to feel he still matters.

To give him that is to satisfy his fragile ego. It wasn’t undying love that brought him back to you. Sounds brutal but it’s the truth. An emotionally unavailable man would have to confront his issues, which requires acknowledgment and uncomfortable work.

Unless he says, “Hey I’ve been in therapy for the past few months and realized I wasn’t ready for a relationship but I’ve made progress and would love a second chance at trying.” If you laughed, like I did, it’s probably because it’s hard to imagine this ever happening.

Don’t backtrack on your progress for someone who’s not progressing. Practice self-care, meet your own needs, and direct energy toward your passions.

It may sound cliche, but life really is too short. Don’t waste your time on shallow individuals, mindlessly chasing a bone because in a few days, they’ll trade it in for something new.

Only a boy offers a woman breadcrumbs. Love yourself enough to know you deserve the whole fucking meal.

-Jessica Bruno LMHC

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Education people psychology Society Technology Technology

We’re all distracted, hungry and mindless.

 On a daily basis, we’re consistently presented with modern distractions that are so influential, meaningful values are replaced with trivial desires. People have become overly concerned with their image to the degree where life has become a stage, we’re the audience, and everyday is a performance.

No one is watching your every move and hanging onto every word like you think they are. If someone IS watching, that reasoning is most likely selfish in nature.  

Why do you think you’re so important? Are others that important to you? I don’t think so. People are more self-absorbed and needy than ever before. A minor inconvenience is catastrophic. A perceived failure has suddenly become the only means to measure self-worth.

Life is becoming this thing we’re unconsciously seeking to escape through chasing validation of our identity or anything that makes us feel alive. It’s fleeting, shallow, and trivial. 

Evidence of success is measured by what you’ve done or what you have and it’s important. Image doesn’t just matter it determines identity so when others subjugate you, the only categories to be placed in are one of the two- you have value or you don’t have value. And these days, that’s decided for you. 

Social media encourages people to think about what they don’t have because what they do have will never be good enough. Not only are we easy targets, we’re mindless consumers. If you see something you don’t have, buy it.

If you see something you may end up using to make your life easier, buy it, even though you know you won’t use it. If you see an Instagram model with a similar body type to yours, except she has huge tits, get a boob job. You’ll be more likable for it-literally.

We’re forced to care about meaningless shit, except now it’s not meaningless because everyone has made it matter. When something truly matters and has substantial value, you don’t think about replacing it because you’re overall content with it.

The modern world has captivated our minds; filling it with more and more nonsensical pursuits and if we can’t have what we think we want, it becomes an issue of concern. We live in our past hoping to find answers that will guide us toward a better future, never truly experiencing the present moment. 

When was the last time you didn’t anticipate without expectations for something or someone? When was the last time you sat with your thoughts, observing them, rather than catching one, and ruminating over it, passing judgment? When was the last time you didn’t have something in mind you’d like to buy or think about what you lack rather than being grateful for what you do have?

The more distractions, the more complicated things become. We stay emotionally hungry, escaping and avoiding shitty feelings through self- indulgence. For a short period of time it feels good but fleeting moments of joy can be deceiving.

It’s not called living, if we’re in a permanent state of pity or anticipation. Sad about what’ll you never be, never have, and never deserve or waiting for what you don’t have, should have, and deserve. Both result in emptiness and ironically we’re all searching to achieve what we lack or improve what we have to feel better…to finally be happy, and stay that way- forever.

People search for happiness like playing a video game; once you beat the last level, you win. That’s not what happens. Sure, you may have beaten that particular game, but you’ll move on to another, and then another. Happiness isn’t a permanent mood you can achieve if you play your cards right. 

Like all emotions, they’re fleeting and experienced in waves. That’s life. You don’t get to pick and choose which one you want to keep around, however, you can choose to ride the waves, enjoying the good as they come, while also accepting the bad.

I want more. What about you?

-Jessica Bruno LMHC