Florian Dormont created the gamification of the dangers of selflessness today. It was the most relatable Meditations game yet and made me remember when I was way too selfless, and why I still choose to be selfless today. You play as Dormont having conversations with his friends who he is trying to support while they struggle. He wants to be a good listener and allow them to vent their problems to him and hopefully work with him to find solutions and make their day better. Dormont is me for the past five years.
During his time of being a selfless emotional support man, Dormont’s mental health slowly deteriorates, and by the end of his time of selflessness, he becomes an emotionless shell of a human. When you dedicate your time solely to helping everyone around you out of their sadness, their sadness rubs off on you and can ruin your day. This isn’t an argument for ignoring the troubles of your friends, but it is a warning to take some time to yourself and use resources to help your mental health when you need it.
The game consists of you pressing the spacebar and examining the protagonist talking to his sad friends. It is very simple but conveys the message of the game very well. It isn’t fun, but it works as intended. I enjoyed the game design and thought that it showed the dangers of selflessness well, as Dormont fades away at the end unable to show emotion.
When you make yourself so selfless that you believe that you have to try to fix everyone around you, you quickly lose every piece of yourself. You are stuck thinking about everyone else’s problems and you are unable to think about your own. Your problem is everybody’s problems, and you don’t know that, because you can’t stop thinking about everybody’s problems. Confusing? Yes. True? Yes.
During my freshman year of high school, a lot of things were wrong. I was a pretty bad person in junior high and made decisions that I regret. I wanted to have a redemption arc, so I decided that I was going to live the rest of my life as an incredibly selfless individual. Soon I would be listening to all of my friends’ problems, and planning how I could help them, whether it was emotional support or action.
I was also dealing with a lot that year emotionally, which was described in a different Meditations article. Juggling my own problems with anxiety with the problems of my friends was difficult, but by late freshman year, everything crashed. I was in a pretty bad place mentally and thought I was powerless and that I could not help the people around me.
After my mental problems resolved, I was still determined to help everyone I possibly could. It hurt sometimes, but it was a punishment that I thought I deserved after I was awful in the years prior. I caused problems at home, joined a group of outcasts at school who encouraged hateful behavior, and bullied people due to their encouragement.
Sophomore year was a great year. I joined an amazing debate club, developed meaningful bonds with great people, and continued being a selfless person. It became easier to listen to people’s problems, and my mental plate was empty and I was ready to fill it up again so I would have something to think about every day.
During my junior year, my plate was full once again and had to work my way out of it. This is when I realized that I had a selflessness problem. I thought that freshman year’s despair was from my own mental health, but it was a mix of both my life and the people around me. This time I slowly dug my way out of the problems and developed a good routine where I took some time to myself and told people when I was not feeling well.
Senior year I continued my selfless life, and also relied on my friends through my grieving process. It was nice having people to talk to about my problems, and it was nice that people could rely on me as well. This is when I found out how to be selfless while having respect for myself. If you are destroying your mental health, then your ability to help others diminishes as well.
The best way to be selfless is to respect and love yourself. You can’t help others if you aren’t the best you can possibly be. I see where Dormont is coming from, but with the right routine you can help yourself and the people around you, and you can make the world a better place. I still plan on living the rest of my life being as selfless as I can be, but I don’t think it is a punishment to myself or a redemption arc. All of that is over. I am selfless because it is the right way to live my life.