The Closed Gate to Socializing

For various reasons, some of us close the gate to being social.


I recently discussed closing the gate with someone I know. I am among those who close the gate. It is contradictory to say that I close the gate or do not socialize. However, I have always been socially avoidant. That is another way of expressing my tendencies, which have always been towards introversion and shyness. Yet, I have functioned successfully in mental health. That has included working in various psychiatric settings where the work demanded that I make solid connections with other professionals. I also opened a private psychotherapy practice where I relied on colleagues. 

I was also married for fifty years before my wife tragically died of pancreatic cancer. We raised two wonderful daughters, and I’m a grandfather. Yet, I keep the gate closed. Mostly, I no longer want people to get close to me, except my family. In this posting, the focus is on how society enables people to be isolated.

“Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” is a book written by Robert D. Putnam, a political scientist and professor at Harvard University. The book, published in 2000, explores the decline of social capital and civic engagement in the United States and is a metaphor for reducing social connections and community involvement.

Social capital refers to the network of relationships, trust, and cooperation within a community or group. It is a valuable resource for individuals and groups to achieve shared goals and improve their well-being. Social capital is built through volunteering, taking part in community events, and maintaining strong connections with friends, family, and colleagues. Substantial social capital can lead to more significant opportunities, resources, support, and improved mental and physical health.

For example, he discusses bowling leagues to illustrate how Americans used to take part in social activities and join various groups. Still, over time, they have become more isolated and disconnected. Someone recently told me he felt bored, so he went bowling, but he was alone.

The book explores various factors contributing to the decline of social capital, such as the rise of television and other forms of entertainment that have replaced face-to-face interactions, the increase in time spent working and commuting, and the changing structure of families and neighborhoods.

Today, in 2023, we can add to the list of things that have caused a decline in social capital. One of these is the internet and particularly social media. On the surface, it might appear as though social media promotes interaction. However, children and adults sit in front of their computers, alone and isolated, staring at the computer screen. It does not equal direct and face-to-face interaction among people.

There are consequences of the decline in social capital. Among these consequences are:

  • Political disengagement.
  • Decreased trust in institutions.
  • Reduced civic participation and the promotion of disinformation and conspiracy theories. 

Putnam also offers hope for the revival of the American community. He discusses potential solutions and strategies to rebuild social capital, such as promoting civic education, encouraging community-based initiatives, and fostering social networks through technology.

Civic engagement refers to the active participation of individuals in their communities and society. It involves taking part in activities and initiatives to improve one’s immediate environment and contribute to the greater good. Civic engagement can take many forms, such as volunteering, voting, attending public meetings, and supporting local businesses. It’s an essential part of maintaining a healthy and thriving society, and it helps to ensure that individuals have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. Individuals can positively affect their communities by engaging in civic activities and helping build a better future for themselves and their neighbors.

Social isolation is the opposite of social capital. When individuals need connections and relationships within their community or society, they may need access to the resources, opportunities, and support that social capital can provide. It leads to feelings of loneliness, disconnection, and even adverse health outcomes. Building social capital can help to combat social isolation and promote well-being.

Who is My Father?

“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.” Michael Jordan.

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.” William Shakespeare.

A famous baseball player, Harmon Killebrew, is credited with saying, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising children.”

Cheerful young father holding up excited little boy while spending time together and having fun.

I grew up without my father. 

Dr. Kyle Pruett, an author and professor of child psychiatry at Yale University, writes, “Fathers do not mother, they father…Fathers do things differently.” Both parenting approaches are essential in raising healthy, productive children in safe and stable environments. 

As a result of a high divorce rate and an increase in single-parent homes, there has been a tendency to think that fathers are unimportant compared to mothers. In the past, more research was done on the role of the mother compared to the part of the father. More research has been done on fathers’ role in the psychological development of their sons and daughters. In addition, it has been found that children raised without a father experience many more problems than those from intact families.

There are lots of families in which the father is present. What is essential is how they influence their children. For instance, abusive fathers have nothing but a negative impact on their children and wives. It holds for fathers who are alcoholic, drug addicted, or criminal. In addition, fathers who are present but uninvolved with their families do not positively impact their children. 

What is most important to the family is that the father actively engages with their children positively.

What is meant by a father’s active engagement?”

According to some of the research, “active involvement is defined in terms of: 

  • Engagement or directly interacting
  • Accessibility or being available 
  • Responsibility or providing resources 

Actively involved fathers have close and affectionate relationships with their children; they: 

  • spend time with them 
  • Talk to them about important things
  • They are the person their children want to be as adults.” 

That last sentence, “and they are the kind of person their children want to be as adults,” is significant. The father is a role model for boys and girls for the way a man is supposed to be. As a positive role model, the father reveals the male person as loving, hard-working, responsible, available, and dependable. Of course, a father does not work alone in the family context. It is the way mom and dad interact with each other and with the children that helps shape the people they will become.

Dads have a parenting style significantly different from a mother’s. That difference is essential for healthy child development. David Popenoe, Life Without Father, (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 163.

One of the most vital aspects of a dad’s contribution to his kids’ lives lies precisely in what Dr. Popenoe calls his “significantly different parenting style.” Men and women are different. As a result, mothers and fathers parent their children differently.

Dads, for instance, love their children “more dangerously.” That’s because they play “rougher.” They provide kids with a broader diversity of social experiences. They also introduce them to a wider variety of methods of dealing with life. They stress rules, justice, fairness, and duty in discipline. In this way, they teach children the objectivity and consequences of right and wrong. They give kids insight into the world of men. They prepare them for life’s challenges and show the meaning of respect between the sexes by example. Dads often get their adolescent children their first jobs as after-school activities.

Fathers encourage competition, engendering independence. Mothers promote equity, creating a sense of security. Dads emphasize conceptual communication, which helps kids expand their vocabulary and intellectual capacities. Moms are significant in sympathy, care, and help, thus showing the importance of relationships. 

When fathers take the time to build relationships with their kids, they help them develop their identity, confidence, and perseverance.

Here are four of the most essential things that dads teach:

Dr. Kyle Pruett, a researcher on the importance of dads for healthy child development, explains that infants learn to tell the difference between mom and dad. Dad’s voice is more profound, his hands are more extensive and rougher, his play is more physical and stimulating, and he smells and acts differently. Dads teach their sons that they differ from moms and sisters. Dads point sons toward adulthood.

A boy’s confidence develops primarily through his father because Dads are likelier to encourage their sons to take chances. Take two simple experiences from infancy and later childhood.

Fathers are likelier to throw their babies into the air. It is a significant confidence-building ritual. The first time it happens, the child is scared to death. But gravity happens, and they fall back down into the safety of Dad’s hands. What fathers do for their daughters and sons is to help them develop confidence. 


Moms seldom encourage their kids to climb trees. As mothers, they tend to focus on safety. Dads are more likely to push limits. “Hey, try going up to that next limb. Don’t be scared, and I’ll talk you through it.” When kids take the chance and succeed, they learn they have what it takes to do hard things. This connection is essential for every child, gaining the confidence they will need later in solving problems, searching for a job, and relating to the opposite sex. 

We know the father’s absence or lack of involvement with the children has negative consequences. Absent or uninvolved fathers lead to psychological issues in sons and daughters, including insecurity, inadequacy, and a distorted understanding of love. It affects the child’s ability to form healthy relationships and experience genuine, loving relationships.

A growing body of research underscores the myriad ways in which the absence or lack of knowledge of one’s father can influence a child’s emotional and psychological development. The absence of a father leads to feelings of abandonment and rejection in a child. Not knowing one’s father might make children question their self-worth, leading to low self-esteem. Moreover, the void left by a missing paternal figure leads to feelings of emptiness, sadness, and longing. Some children may internalize the absence, thinking they are to blame or were not ‘good enough’ to keep their father around.

People who grew up without a father experience a greater likelihood of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse. Several studies have shown a correlation between the absence of a father and an increased risk of aggressive behavior. This aggression is sometimes viewed as a coping mechanism or a way to mask underlying feelings of vulnerability. 

Children with an absent father grow up without the sense of security a dad provides. A dad’s presence and love give us a greater understanding of our identity and sense of belonging. When it’s absent, it can leave our world feeling shattered and unstable. Due to this fact, children with absent fathers suffer from anxiety and depression in far more significant numbers than children with a present mom and dad.

My experiences 

My wife and I had twin daughters; this was a great celebration time. However, the dad role was challenging because I needed a role model. Nevertheless, there were things I did and got right. I taught them how to ride their bikes. As a child, I never had a bike and had to learn as a young man. 

I wanted a bike just like the ones my friends rode. But my mom, a single mother, was fearful that I would have an accident. I do not know for sure, but I always believed that a Dad would intervene, get me a bike, and teach me how to ride.

We might have gone to baseball and football games in NYC a lot more often than I could.

I had no father to take me fishing and camping. I had no father to teach me how to play softball, baseball, and bat swing. I had no father to teach me how to fight and stand up to bullies. I had no father to teach me how to bowl, play golf, and play tennis. I am not referring to teaching but competing with me. Worst of all, he could not teach me basketball. All of these became significant handicaps. 

One day, I ran into my teacher on the way to school. He put his arm on my shoulder as we chatted along the way. It felt so good that it’s difficult to describe. I yearned for a father, my father, but my family completely alienated him from me. Finally, when I was 38, my brother found him, and I met my father. A big hulking man. I saw the weights he lifted and wished he could have taught, but it was too late. But, when I asked him why I never saw him, his response was vague. He mumbled something that made no sense. He probably would not have been involved had he been present during my childhood.

I needed a father to explain girls and the subtleties of dating. 

As a result of these gaps, I felt socially awkward into my twenties. I have always felt socially awkward and never did in school as well as I should have. As Dr. Pruett pointed out, I also felt depressed.


Existential Crisis, Who Am I and Why?

Many people experience a lack of commitment and purpose in their lives. It partially explains why there is a sense of isolation and unrelatedness today. At the bottom of a lack of commitment is called an existential crisis. A life crisis is an inner turmoil in which a person questions their identity in life as well as what meaning their life has and doubts whether there is any meaning to life.

“Living a Committed Life” is a book by Lynne Twist in which she explores living a life of purpose and commitment and how it can bring fulfillment and transformation to individuals and the world.

The book begins by emphasizing the importance of a clear intention and commitment. Twist argues that we may feel safe and fulfilled with a solid commitment to something greater than ourselves. She encourages readers to reflect on their values, passions, and what they genuinely care about to discover their purpose and make a meaningful impact.

Twist also delves into the idea of scarcity and abundance mindset. She explains how our society often operates from a scarcity mindset, where we believe there is not enough to go around, leading to competition, fear, and a lack of generosity. However, she proposes that by shifting our mindset to one of abundance, we can tap into the infinite resources and live a more fulfilling and committed life.

Twist shares personal stories and experiences from her journey as an activist and philanthropist throughout the book. She highlights the power of commitment in creating positive change and making a difference in the world. She also provides practical tools and exercises to help readers align their actions with their obligations and live a life of integrity.

Living a Committed Life invites readers to examine their lives and consciously choose to live with purpose and commitment. It encourages individuals to step out of their comfort zones, take risks, and contribute to something greater than themselves. By doing so, Twist believes we can create a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world for all.

A purpose in life can be understood as an underlying principle that guides our decisions, shapes our futures, and provides meaning to our existence. Motivation fuels our daily pursuits and struggles, offering direction when unsure of where to go or what to do. This essay explores the importance of having a life purpose and why it is crucial for our mental, emotional, and societal well-being.

First, having a firm sense of purpose provides coherence to our lives. It helps build a narrative of who we are and our role in the grand scheme. Our goal can instruct us on what to prioritize and what to pursue, working as an internal compass pointing towards what truly matters to us. It can provide us with an immense sense of clarity and focus.

Furthermore, knowing our purpose serves to reinforce our identity. As we interact with the broader world, we aim to maintain our core identity and principles amidst societal pressures and shifts. This purpose-centered identity can make us resilient and equipped to tackle life’s highs and lows, thus fostering mental stability and strength.

In addition, having a sense of purpose enhances emotional well-being. Research suggests that individuals with a higher sense of purpose in life enjoy better mental health, diminished stress levels, and decreased rates of depression. When our actions align with our goal, it contributes to a subjective sense of fulfillment, self-efficacy, and overall life satisfaction. This positive emotional state also promotes healthier relationships with others, creating a ripple effect on our societal well-being.

Societally, individuals with a clear sense of purpose often contribute positively to their communities. Purpose-driven people are inclined to pursue meaningful careers, volunteer for passionate causes, and work on personal growth for individual satisfaction and the betterment of society. It is essential to state that today, when people retire, they are encouraged to be involved in volunteer activities that increase a feeling of contributing to the community. Of course, that depends on the financial stability. Without that stability, a retired person will have to find employment elsewhere.

Lastly, embracing our purpose helps us navigate through life’s inevitable disappointments. Our aim can serve as a lodestar during the rough patches, reminding us that setbacks are a part of life and that they do not define our self-worth. It gives us the strength to bounce back, fostering resiliency and instilling in us the virtue of perseverance.

Spirituality can be fundamentally important in an individual’s life for various reasons, each of which widely depends on personal beliefs, values, and experiences. Here are a few ways in which spirituality can be significant.

Meditation can foster inner peace, calm one’s mind, and reduce stress. It is referred to as spiritual meditation. It is a meditation practice where the desire is to connect with a higher power, the Universe, God, or the Highest Self. It can provide a sense of tranquility during turbulent times by promoting acceptance and understanding of life’s challenges. It assists individuals in discovering their life’s purpose and finding deeper meanings in everyday experiences.

A sense of the spiritual can foster a sense of unity with the universe or a higher power. That connection creates a sense of love, compassion, and empathy toward others.

Religious traditions come with moral and ethical principles that help individuals make decisions and carry out actions consistent with their beliefs and values. These values encourage hope, optimism, and strength.

Numerous studies have shown links between spiritual practices and physical health. Regular meditation, for instance, can help lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and boost the immune system.

However, it’s important to state that spirituality is a personal journey and varies widely from person to person. Some individuals may not view spirituality as central to their lives. In contrast, others might see it as a foundational aspect of their existence. Ensuring that each person’s spiritual or non-spiritual approach to life is respected and accepted is essential.

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An Exploration of Love

“For one human being to love another, that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation,” Rainer Maria Rilke.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” Jelaluddin Rumi.

New York Times writer David Brooks wrote an Op.Ed. Article titled, “Three Views of Marriage. (Feb. 23, 2016). 

These are the three lenses that Brooks refers to:

  • The psychological lens emphasizes people change little over a lifetime. Especially after age 30, people may get more conscientious and agreeable, but improvements are modest.
  • In the romantic view, the heart is transformed by love at any age. 
  • In the moral view, spiritual transformation — over a lifetime, not just over two passionate years — is the whole point. People have tremendous power to go against their natures and uplift their spouses by showing a willingness to change and supporting their journey from an old crippled self to a new, more beautiful self.

The three lenses operate at different levels: personality, emotions, the level of virtues, and vices. The first two lenses are ubiquitous in our culture — in bookstores, songs, and movies. But the moral lens, with its view of marriage as a binding ethical project, is less standard. Maybe that’s one reason the quality of the average marriage is declining.

The decline in marriage quality is reflected in the rate of divorce in the United States for new marriages is 50%. However, the rate of divorce has decreased in recent decades. It remains incredibly high. The marital vow that “we will stay married in sickness and in health until death do us part” has not been accurate for a long time.

Erich Fromm helps readers to understand that loving another person is an art. I recommend his book, “The Art of Loving,” written in 1956.

“The Art of Loving” explores the concept of love in all its forms, arguing that it is an art that requires knowledge and effort. The book delves into many types of love, such as brotherly love, motherly love, erotic love, self-love, and love of God. He dissects their underlying psychological meanings. 

Fromm’s premise is grounded in the belief that love is a profound interpersonal skill that individuals can develop through practice rather than being in a purely emotional state. He asserts that love isn’t some fleeting passion or sentimentality but a robust force that can transform and empower. According to Fromm, love is the “active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love.” And what we love is another person. Loving another person means loving one’s spouse, family, friends, and oneself.

The notion of erotic love, the bonding between two individuals into one, also gets attention in Fromm’s explorations. The erotic form of love is unique. It is where most people find the most profound expression of love. However, he contends that this form of love is often mistaken for infatuation or being ‘in love,’ which is usually transient and subject to fluctuations.

Fromm also provides a comprehensive standpoint on motherly and fatherly love. He proposes that motherly love involves unconditionally affirming the child’s life and needs. In comparison, fatherly love is a conditional form of love tied to the child’s obedience and goodwill.

The book also explores the concept of love towards God. He presents the paradox of individuals seeking a single, supreme object of love but often incapable of experiencing love in daily interpersonal relationships. He suggests that the essence of love for God is love for humanity, and humans cannot genuinely love God if they do not genuinely love their fellow beings.

Fromm is critical of contemporary societal frameworks. He challenges capitalist societies where love is often objectified and commercialized, correlating love with some transaction. People spend a lot of money on marriage ceremonies in palatial settings. Family and friends compete over how much they will go to purchase wedding gifts. Added to this is the expectation that the bride and groom will travel to a romantic destination for their honeymoon.

Throughout the book, he emphasizes that love is an art. He argues that just as mastering any art requires consistent practice, understanding, and patience, loving also requires self-awareness, understanding of one’s partner, and commitment to nurturing the relationship.

Love, commitment, and purpose are all integral elements of a fulfilling life, and they can intersect in many significant ways. Intimacy plays a critical role in our emotional well-being and happiness. It creates bonds, fosters empathy, and promotes understanding and acceptance. Love can manifest in our life’s purpose: we often strive lovingly toward the people, values, or causes we care deeply about.

Commitment is the promise or dedication to someone, our work, our ideals, or ourselves. It reflects persistence and loyalty despite challenges or drawbacks. It can cross paths with love and purpose because we are more likely to uphold commitments towards things we genuinely love or believe in, and these commitments often form a significant part of our lives.

The purpose in life refers to the direction we give based on what we find meaningful. It makes us feel motivated, fulfilled, and connected to the world. A sense of purpose can stem from our deep love and commitment to something or someone. Alternatively, it can fuel passion and responsibility because when we find our goal, we develop love and dedication because of its fulfillment.

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Prejudice Against Older People, Ageism

Ageism is discrimination against people based on their age. It can take many forms, such as treating older people as less capable or less valuable than younger people or assuming they have dementia.

It is seen in the workplace in the attitude of many people towards older people. It leads to stereotypes, reduced opportunities, and a lack of respect for older people. Recognizing and addressing ageism and promoting fairness and equality for older people is essential.

President Biden is 80, and Some people have stated a constitutional crisis will occur if Biden is reelected and dies in office. I seem to remember the tragic murder of President John F. Kennedy, a young president. That is when President Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office, and the nation continued to function. And I seem to remember when Franklin D. Roosevelt died, Harry Truman became President, and the country survived.

Death is another stereotype. I will always remember the postgraduate psychology case presentation class in which I took part. The professor was a famous person and over 90 years old. A student presented a case of an individual who was an older person. When the person who provided the case stated death as an issue, the professor asked, “Well, who is dying?” All of us were stunned into silence. The professor lived to 100.

For me, ageism is a personal issue. I’m 80 years old and continue to work and write my articles. I am not confused or forgetful. No one has suggested that I stop working because of my age.

Ageism is defined as prejudice or discrimination against individuals based on age. It is as prejudicial as racism or stereotyping of other ethnicities and religions. It is a societal issue affecting individuals across various fields, including politics.

With President Biden, concerns about his age have been raised by some critics who argue that he may not possess the mental acuity or physical stamina required for the demanding role of the presidency. However, it is crucial to recognize that age alone should not be the sole determinant of a leader’s capabilities.

President Biden’s extensive political experience, including his time as a senator and Vice President under the Obama administration, demonstrates his depth of knowledge and understanding of governance.
Considering that age can bring valuable wisdom and experience to leadership positions is essential.

President Biden’s life experiences and political career spanned several decades, enabling him to provide insights and perspectives shaped by his long-standing political involvement. Whether you agree with his politics, he has shown his ability to navigate complex issues and develop effective strategies for addressing national concerns.

With President Biden or any older person in any profession, it is essential to evaluate their performance and decision-making ability based on concrete evidence rather than assuming limitations because of his age.

Who Are We? The Human Mind and Brain


The human mind is complex and intricate, bridging the tangible, intangible, physical, and metaphysical. While there is still much to uncover about the detailed mechanisms underpinning its functioning, a concise explanation would touch on genetics, biology, psychology, and human cognition.

On a fundamental level, the human mind emerges from the brain – a physical organ that is the product of billions of years of evolution. The neural architecture of our brain, an intricate web of interconnected neurons that forms intricate patterns of neural activity, is the biological basis of the human mentality.

Laid down by our genetic code, the brain develops in utero. As a baby grows, the mind takes shape, which continues throughout life. So, the physical brain, sculpted through a combination of genetic disposition and environmental influence, prepares the fertile ground for the human mind.

Instead of the brain, the human mind now encompasses thoughts, emotions, memories, fantasies, and unconscious processes. It includes cognitive functions such as perception, reasoning, problem-solving, consciousness, etc. The mind produces our individual consciousness and inner life.

There are many theories about its origins and whereabouts. Some ideas, like dualism, propose that the mind and body are separate entities. Cartesian Dualism, for example, suggests that reason exists independently from the physical world.

Meanwhile, other theories, such as physicalism, argue that the mind is a phenomenon arising from the brain’s physical processes. Neuroscientific studies have shown that brain damage and alterations in brain chemistry can influence mental states, supporting a solid connection between the physical brain and the nature of the mind.

Emerging theories like embodied cognition suggest that our minds are shaped not only by our brains but also by our bodies and our interactions with our environment. This theory proposes that our minds arise from these interactions in an ongoing, dynamic process.

The exact origination of the human mind remains a multifaceted and ongoing discussion with profound implications for philosophy, biology, psychology, and neuroscience. The human mind is an emergent property of our brain’s complex physical processes, modulated by various genetic and environmental factors. But the whole picture is likely fuller and nuanced, layered with mysteries yet to be unraveled by science and philosophy alike.

The human mind and brain are intricately connected and influence each other. Mind and brain are different concepts but are inseparable. The brain is a physical organ in our body that serves as the center of the nervous system. It’s responsible for receiving sensory inputs, controlling motor outputs, influencing subconscious bodily processes, and functioning as a conduit for the activity we perceive as consciousness, thoughts, and emotions.

The mind, however, often refers to those cognitive processes such as reasoning, memory, intelligence, emotion, and imagination. It’s where we experience and interpret life through consciousness.

The mind and brain are linked, as the brain is the biological substrate of the mind. Think of the brain as the hardware and the mind as the software. The brain’s neurons, synaptic connections, and neural networks physically enable our mental activities. These intricate neural processes generate all our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories, dreams, and emotions.

Every mental state or thought you experience corresponds to specific interactions within the brain. For example, when you’re feeling happy, specific neural networks in your brain are activated, and certain neurotransmitters are released. These physical changes in the brain are reflected in our minds as feelings of happiness.

Despite the broad understanding of the connection, the detailed interrelationship of the mind and brain, often termed the mind-brain problem or mind-body problem, remains one of the most profound and contentious topics of debate in neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. It is part of more significant questions about consciousness, self, and how subjective experiences arise from physical processes.

Neurons, dendrites, and synapses are fundamental components of the human nervous system. They play crucial roles in transmitting and processing information.

  1. Neurons, or nerve cells, are the basic working units of the brain. They are specialized cells that transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells. Almost all neurons have a cell body, an axon, and dendrites.
  2. Dendrites are branch-like structures that extend from the neuron cell body. They receive information from other neurons and transmit this information to the cell body of the neuron. The more dendrites a neuron has, the more data it can receive from other cells.
  3. Synapses are the junctions or gaps where information is transmitted from one neuron to another. They can be thought of as the interface for information transfer, enabling the electric or chemical messages to pass efficiently from one neuron across a small gap to the next neuron or an effector cell such as a muscle cell.

There are estimated to be around 86 billion neurons in the human brain.

The exact number of dendrites is more challenging to quantify because each neuron can have many dendrites. But considering that each neuron can have hundreds of dendrites, the total number of dendrites in the human brain can reach trillions. It’s important to remember that this vast quantity plays a critical role in forming the complexity and capability of the human mind.

Is it Possible to be Jealous, Resentful and Happy Simultaneously?

Can a person be resentful, jealous, and happy simultaneously? Jealousy results from feeling vulnerable. It is the result of a person believing they are worthless and inadequate. The perception is that everyone else lives a better life, has more possessions, and has more success.

In the tragic play Othello, Shakespeare coined “The green-eyed monster.” He used the word to personify jealousy. The green-eyed monster bit Othello because of his jealousy if his wife looked at another man.

Jealousy and resentment, although distinct emotions, share a complex relationship.

Jealousy often stems from insecurity, fear, or anxiety over an anticipated loss of something of great personal value, particularly about a human connection. For example, a person might feel jealous if they perceive a threat to their relationship due to their partner’s interest in someone else.

What is problematic about jealousy is the risk of sabotaging an intimate relationship by constantly complaining about what the partner is doing, regardless of how much reassurance is given. In addition, you regularly think about ending this relationship. Whether you do or not, you will continue to experience the same types of feelings in the next relationship. Also, this will continue from one relationship to the next.

Resentment involves anger or bitterness from perceived unfair treatment, harm, or wrongdoing. Individuals might resent if they sense they are harmed or feel others are inferring a status or advantage they do not possess. There is a beautiful quote from Buddha about anger. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal intending to throw it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Unfortunately, there are people known as injustice collectors. Not only do they continue to hold on to the negative past, but they view every incident in the present as another example of how unfair life is to them.

The connection between these two emotions arises because both involve a sense of perceived inequality or unfairness. If jealousy is left unresolved and continues to fester, it can mature into resentment. For instance, if a person is consistently jealous because they feel they aren’t getting the attention they deserve in a relationship, this may turn into resentment towards the other party in the connection who is not providing the attention.

These emotions perpetuate a negative cycle, leading to emotional distress and further straining relationships. 

In Othello, Shakespeare explores a range of human emotions, including jealousy and resentment, which drive significant plot developments and tragic endings. Iago warns Othello, “O, beware, my lord of jealousy. It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock.” Iago is warning Othello to beware of jealousy. 

It takes shape after Othello’s trusted ensign, Iago, manipulates him into believing his beloved wife, Desdemona, is unfaithful to his lieutenant, Cassio. Othello, once seen as dignified and rational, descends into a blind, destructive jealousy that results in him killing Desdemona and, ultimately, himself. 

This irrational jealousy indicates how intense and consuming emotions can have disastrous consequences if left unchecked.

Resentment is another crucial theme that drives most of Iago’s actions. Throughout the play, Iago harbors Resentment against Othello for promoting Michael Cassio, who he considers less experienced, over him. This perceived injustice, combined with rumors that Othello may have slept with his wife Emilia, fuels his hatred and resentment. He avenges himself by exploiting the very trust that Othello has placed in him, thereby sowing the seeds of jealousy in Othello’s mind.

In a broader sense, these themes expose the play’s critical exploration of how external influence can manipulate personal insecurities, leading to destructive actions and tragic consequences.

Shakespeare’s powerful portrayal of jealousy and resentment in “Othello” serves a cautionary purpose by highlighting how these emotions can lead to irrational behaviors, self-destruction, and the ruin of others.

One definition of happiness is that a person has a sense of well-being. That includes a belief that life is meaningful and has a purpose. In addition, an individual experiences such emotions as joy, pride, and contentment. Nobody feels these emotions all the time. Overall, the happy person experiences emotional stability. 

Therefore, the answer to the initial question is no; a person cannot be filled with envy, jealousy, and resentment and simultaneously be happy.


The Impostor Syndrome, Feeling Like a Fraud

Impostor Syndrome: Understanding the Hidden Challenge

At the end of October, I have a presentation for a psychology site on YouTube. It will not be the first time first presentation. I have been on radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and television. Each time I do one of these things, I face the same dilemma. The dilemma is my fear that I do not know what I’m talking about and will make a fool of myself. Underlying this fear is the belief that I am a fraud, an impostor. At eighty years of age, I continue to confront the same insecurities. I accomplished a lot, but I continue to be plagued by self-doubt.

Impostor Syndrome is when people doubt their accomplishments and fear exposure as a fraud. People with Impostor Syndrome feel like frauds and believe they don’t deserve their success, even if there is evidence that they are competent.

The syndrome elicits complex emotions, such as guilt, fear, shame, and anxiety. It leads to chronic stress, burnout, decreased job satisfaction, and reduced self-confidence. Many high achievers end up in a ceaseless cycle of overwork as they try to keep up with a false image. Social media has made it easy for people to compare their achievements to others, amplifying Impostor Syndrome. People must face their self-doubt and differentiate between thoughts and reality television to manage it. Here are a few strategies to address making mistakes. It is essential for learning and can help to disprove negative beliefs and improve achievements.

  1. Connecting with others who feel the same way and seeking mentorship or professional help with coping mechanisms.
  2. Set realistic expectations and goals can help to overcome the fear of exposure as a ‘fraud gradually.’

The False Self

Those who struggle with believing they are frauds realize they are not being authentic with others. Instead of being their “authentic self,” they attempt to look good, please others, and avoid the pain of embarrassment if discovered. It is a distorted way of thinking. The distortion is believing they are presenting a false self. False self is a defense mechanism to protect oneself from emotional pain and rejection. It involves giving a version of oneself that is not authentic or genuine to gain acceptance or approval from others. 

There are various ways that people can create a false self. Examples include conforming to societal norms or adopting a more socially acceptable persona. However, relying too heavily on this false self often leads to feelings of emptiness and disconnection from one’s true self. The authentic self is the real version of you with no outside influences. It is about accepting yourself for who you are and being comfortable in your skin.

The Authentic Self

The authentic self is the most genuine version of oneself. It is the person who exists beyond societal expectations, peer pressure, and external influences. The authentic self is the individual in tune with their thoughts, feelings, and desires. The authentic self lives in ways that align with their values and beliefs. Being true to oneself and embracing the authentic self leads to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Being true to oneself helps form deeper connections with others.

And I have those deeper connections. However, doubt haunts me when things like this presentation are available. It does not stop me from moving ahead. But I cannot get rid of the doubt. It’s like an itch that won’t go away.


Why Do People Blame The Survivor


When I was a boy, my grandmother was famous for blaming the survivor. How did she accomplish this? If anyone in the family caught a virus, she would immediately declare, “Well, you didn’t wear your hat!” Other variations on the theme were such comments as, “You didn’t button your coat, you didn’t wear your scarf, you didn’t wear your raincoat when it was raining.” I will say in her defense that she meant no harm and was sincerely worried about the entire family.

For example, I have worked with many people over the years who were blamed for the unfortunate things they experienced. One terrible example was of rape. On several occasions, young clients told me their mothers refused to believe any rape occurred. On other occasions, female clients told me that family and friends blamed them for the rape. These clients were blamed for wearing sexually provocative clothes. Of course, what does someone consider provocative clothes or behavior?

It is always a heartache when a woman has a miscarriage. I know several cases where the pregnancy during the first trimester was going quite well. Both the father and mother were excited about having a baby. Suddenly, the worst happens, and the pregnant woman suffers a miscarriage as if this isn’t enough of a misfortune to be told by mothers or mothers-in-law or extended family members and friends that the miscarriage was her fault. The blame usually comes from being told that she exercised, got too much rest, or ate too much or too little. The list goes on.

Why do some people blame the survivor of a trauma?

Several factors can contribute to blaming.

  • People who have not experienced a similar situation may struggle to empathize with victims. With firsthand knowledge and understanding of the emotions and challenges involved, it’s easy to relate to the experiences of others.
  • People with cognitive biases are defined as systematic errors in thinking. It occurs when people process and interpret information in the world around them. It causes people to believe the world is fair and just. This bias makes it challenging to empathize with people because it conflicts with their belief that bad things only happen to those who deserve it. As a result of a cognitive bias, when someone is traumatized, they must have caused it to happen. Therefore, the trauma is their fault.
  • Survivors feel dehumanized by those who lack empathy. It can occur because of stereotypes, prejudices, or a lack of understanding about the victim’s experiences and emotions. Dehumanization makes it easier for individuals to distance themselves emotionally and dismiss the suffering of others.
  • Some individuals may feel threatened by the victim’s experiences or circumstances. After all, if that’s what happened to him, it can happen to me. No, it must have been his fault. This fear can lead to a lack of empathy as people prioritize their safety and well-being over understanding and supporting the victim.
  • Societal attitudes and norms influence empathy levels. In some cultures or communities, victim-blaming or stigmatization of certain groups may be prevalent, leading to a lack of empathy for victims within those communities.

Empathy can be cultivated and developed through education, exposure to diverse perspectives, and fostering a culture of compassion and understanding. Empathy is crucial in supporting victims, promoting social justice, and creating a more compassionate society.

It is crucial to approach these situations with empathy, understanding, and support. Encouraging open communication, providing education about sexual assault, and connecting parents with resources such as support groups or counseling can help them better understand and respond to their child’s report.

Tragically, I lost my wife to pancreatic cancer almost eight years ago. I will never forget the day we received the diagnosis. I was in the doctor’s office with my wife when he gently told her about the cancer. Then, he looked at her intensely and said, “There is nothing you did to cause this.” He expressed this with great empathy and compassion. Those words were a great relief for both of us. It enabled us to plan how we would handle this fatal illness. 

This world needs a lot more empathy and love.

And a lot less blame and judgment.

When Grief Never Ends: Complicated Grief

Complicated Grief, Also Known as Prolonged Grief Disorder.

“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.”


Aeschylus was an ancient Greek author known for his tragic plays and poems.

I lost my wife to pancreatic cancer eight years ago after 50 years of marriage. Many well-meaning people told me I have wonderful memories of our marriage. However, Aeschylus said it best in his quote above. Yes, I have sweet memories of my wife and our marriage. But those memories bring pain because they remind me of what I lost. That is one symptom of Complicated Grief.

Grief and mourning are terms often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings and processes.

Grief refers to the emotional response and reaction to a loss. The internal experience of sadness, pain, and other emotions occurs when someone or something significant is lost. Grief can be triggered by various types of losses, such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, losing a job, or the diagnosis of a serious illness. It is a natural and normal response to loss. It can manifest in different ways, including sadness, anger, guilt, confusion, and even physical symptoms like fatigue or changes in appetite.

Mourning is the outward expression of grief. It is adapting to the loss and coping with it. Mourning involves rituals, customs, and culturally influenced behaviors that vary from person to person. These may include funeral ceremonies, memorial services, wearing black clothing, creating memorials, or engaging in religious or spiritual practices. Mourning provides a structured and socially acceptable way to express grief and seek support from others.

In summary, grief is the internal emotional response to loss. Mourning is the external expression of adapting to that loss. Grief is a personal and individual experience, while cultural and social norms influence mourning. Both grief and mourning are important aspects of the healing process after a loss.

Part of this blog article is taken from the Mayo Clinic.

Losing a loved one is one of the most distressing and, unfortunately, common experiences people face. Most people experiencing normal grief and bereavement have a period of sorrow, numbness, guilt, and anger. Gradually, these feelings ease, and it’s possible to accept loss and move forward. However, when the grief is prolonged, it interferes with daily life.

For some people, feelings of loss are debilitating and don’t improve even after time passes. It is known as complicated grief, sometimes called Prolonged Grief Disorder. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long-lasting and severe that you have trouble recovering from the loss and resuming your own life.

These differences are normal. But if you cannot move through these stages more than a year after the death of a loved one, you may have complicated grief. If so, seek treatment. It can help you accept your loss and reclaim a sense of acceptance and peace.

During the first few months after a loss, many signs and symptoms of normal grief are the same as those of complicated grief. However, while normal grief symptoms gradually fade, those of complicated grief linger or worsen. Complicated grief is like an ongoing, heightened state of mourning that keeps you from healing.

Signs and symptoms of complicated grief may include:

  • Intense sorrow, pain, and rumination over the loss of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one

 It is also be indicated if you continue to:

  • Have trouble carrying out normal routines
  • Isolate from others and withdraw from social activities
  • Experience depression, deep sadness, guilt, or self-blame
  • Believe that you did something wrong or could have prevented the death
  • Feel life isn’t worth living without your loved one
  • Wish you had died along with your loved one

Complicated grief can affect you physically, mentally, and socially. Without treatment, complications may include:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Anxiety, including PTSD
  • Significant sleep disturbances
  • Increased risk of physical illness, such as heart disease, cancer, or high blood pressure
  • Long-term difficulty with daily living, relationships, or work activities
  • Alcohol, nicotine use, or substance misuse

Potentially, there are also physical consequences from this type of prolonged grief. The stress and emotional turmoil associated with the loss can manifest in physical symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and changes in appetite. These physical symptoms further contribute to the individual’s overall distress. They can make it even more challenging for them to cope with their grief.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her Five Stages of Grief:

The five stages of grief, also known as the Kübler-Ross model, were first introduced by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969. These stages are not experienced linearly or sequentially; individuals may move back and forth between or experience them in different orders. The stages are:

1. Denial: The first stage of grief is often characterized by disbelief and denial. It is a defense mechanism that helps individuals cope with the overwhelming emotions and shock of the loss. During this stage, individuals may find it difficult to accept the reality of the situation. They may cling to the hope that the loss is not permanent. Denial can provide a temporary respite from the pain, but it is not a sustainable coping mechanism.

2. Anger: As the reality of the loss sinks in, individuals may experience intense anger and resentment. This anger can be directed towards various targets, including the deceased, oneself, or others who may seem unaffected by the loss. It is important to note that anger is a normal and natural response to grief, and it is essential to find healthy outlets for expressing and processing these emotions.

3. Bargaining: In this stage, individuals may attempt to negotiate or bargain with a higher power or the universe to reverse or postpone the loss. They may make promises or seek ways to regain control over the situation. This stage is often characterized by “what if” or “if only” statements as individuals desperately search for ways to change the outcome. Bargaining can provide a temporary sense of hope and control. Still, ultimately, it is a futile attempt to avoid the pain of grief.

4. Depression: As the reality of the loss becomes more accepted, individuals may enter a stage of deep sadness and depression. This stage is marked by emptiness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. It is important to distinguish between normal grief-related sadness and clinical depression, as the latter may require professional intervention. Depression is a natural response to loss, and it is important to allow oneself to grieve and seek support during this stage.

5. Acceptance: The final stage of grief is acceptance, where individuals come to terms with the reality of the loss and move forward. Acceptance does not mean forgetting or getting over the loss but integrating it into one’s life and adjusting to a new normal. It is important to note that acceptance does not mean that all the pain and sadness disappear but that individuals have reached a point where they can live with the loss and find meaning and purpose in their lives again.

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