20526282_339893343123882_7323069464058049646_nHello. My name is Daniel. I am a university student, and I have personally gone through mental health challenges — challenges which will always be part of who I am.

22552395_1575364842501932_775337638175336885_nMy inspiration comes
from the hard times.

Through my internal battles with these challenges, I feel that I have bettered myself, and now feel ready to tackle the stigma associated with mental health. I feel this is of the utmost importance, because I want the future of our world to be better than how it was when I was dealing with depression, and my other insecurities. I want to help build a world where people feel completely comfortable with expressing how they feel, and in asking for help when they need it, before it becomes too late.

I have a stutter, and growing up has been hard. I’ve been bullied — pretty profusely in grade school — and I’ve always felt more or less alone. I’ve gone through my own trials and tribulation when I was younger, in dealing with my feelings, and I’ve come to a spot in life that I owe in large part to my parents and other family members (blood and otherwise), who have been there to support me and who have always jogged me back onto the right path, when I went a-stray.

I feel confident enough now in myself and in who I am as a person; that there will be hard, sad, or lonely times, but that I can press through them, as my feelings make up me as a person and should not be shunned — something I didn’t quite grasp until quite recently, within the last recent few years. Now, I want to help others. Though I still may have bad days, this is okay, as I know I am not alone in my struggles. This is something I wish I knew back in the day when I was truly struggling. Time to change society so no one else goes through what I did: feeling alone.

TheoryOfLove aims to advance other social initiatives’ growing efforts in encouraging people to remove their masks; TheoryOfLove, like other ongoing initiatives of similar missions, aims to facilitate the thriving of a society whose members truly feel purposeful, loved and at home, in a world where — though we have made some social progress — there is still so much hate, isolation, greed and discrimination. Through facilitation of social gatherings and opportunities for connection, we, as committed change-makers, can make this happen. 

Though inspiration for this project primarily stems from watching inequality after inequality unfold in the world around me – myself feeling alone and isolated off and on throughout my life so far, in part due to my lack of confidence stemming from my speech impediment – the inspiration for this project also comes from other actors who take bold and truly admirable stands in the face of social inequality. One example of this, in the sphere of mental health, is Jordan Axani’s What’s Your Big Lie? project, a program for schools and community groups to combat the stigma and silence which traditional social norms bring to the tabooed topics of mental health and mental illness.

Another inspiration are authors like Matthew Lieberman, who discusses in his book Social, that being vulnerable and our emotions, feelings, etc., entrenched in the world of socialization, is all part of our condition of humanity.

As such, it is time we start bonding over a commonality that unites us all: humanity, and our desire for connection. Hence, TheoryOfLove.

Finally, Canada 150 is a great opportunity to push forward on Canada’s commitment to inclusion. Through past atrocities with marginalized groups, specifically Indigenous populations, we should be learning from our mistakes and moving forward with true equality of opportunity for all — a key component of which is being able to be honest and transparent about how we feel, and what we are going through, and to seek the necessary support.