Steady rock

Self-love is such a misunderstood concept. I’m able to digest Ph.D level material in no time, but things to do with my own self? My mind goes blank. I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the concept of self-love for years, and it’s been like explaining Facebook to a Somali nomad in 1820! 
Partly because I’ve been conditioned to equate self-love with selfishness, but mostly because only parts of me were celebrated and encouraged, whilst others were shunned and discouraged. While my intellectual side was given free reign, my emotional side (which is bigger than my intellect) was relegated to the shadows. And what is suppressed and relegated to the subconscious grows disgruntled and toxic. Much like how a person marginalized and silenced would react. 

I did everything right:I studied, I developed an iron will, I drank my milk, I obeyed, I stayed out of trouble, I prayed my salawaat, I was polite, I was positive. But each construct I built was undermined by my suppressed side. 

I hated it. I hated my guts. I was weak weak weak for not being able to stifle that emotional side. Why did I have to feel when others seemed to have no issues with their emotional side? 

Emotions are the balm and oils to the soul. It’s what protects us from friction when we interact with the world. It’s what soothes our aching hearts. It’s what allows us to love and be creative. It’s the thermometer and litmus test of souls. It’s the wind in our sail, the pillar in our home, the anchor. 

Self-love then is seeing one’s self in its entirety, without cutting parts out, without blurring parts. It’s accepting oneself unconditionally and understanding that souls only grow when their lamentations are heard. Hearts recover when their pain is validated. Self-love is like watering a plant; it’s giving oneself what one needs without imposing on it what the world – or one’s intellect- thinks it needs. A plant will let you know when it needs more water, it’ll let you know when it’s wilting, when it’s crooked and needs support growing. You just have to give it space and trust that in the absence of your control, it knows how to grow.

In the absence of self-love, the heart seeks its balm through unhealthy channels like codependent love, substance abuse,comfort eating, status obsession. A person who hasn’t been listened to can’t hear others. A person who shuns parts of themselves will shun parts of others. A person who hates themselves for what they see as weakness will mock others who show emotions. 

The truth and reality of this world is this: You can’t give goodness, wholesome and unconditional goodness, to the world if you haven’t given it to your self. You can’t fight and help bring down evil in  the world if you haven’t fought the evil in yourself. And the evil in yourself isn’t fought through silencing, but through shining the light of self-awareness and self-acceptance on your darkness. You can’t reconcile between people in earnest if you haven’t reconciled between your broken parts. You can’t discover in the world what you haven’t discovered through your own soul. 
Once you go through that journey, you’ll realize that the world and everyone in it are cut from the same cloth. You’ll know others the way you know yourself because just like beneath the superficial differences in skin colour and hair texture, runs crimson red blood, lies skeleton, beats a heart. Beneath our life stories and emotional makeup lies the same core that seeks growth and awareness and love. Unless that core becomes malignant, in which case it needs to be fended off by other healthy cores.

“ Selfishness is not identical with self-love but with its very opposite.

Selfishness is one kind of greediness. Like all greediness, it contains an insatiability, as a consequence of which there is never any real satisfaction. Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.

Close observation shows that while the selfish person is always anxiously concerned with himself, he is never satisfied, is always restless, always driven by the fear of not getting enough, of missing something, of being deprived of something. He is filled with burning envy of anyone who might have more.

If we observe closer still, especially the unconscious dynamics, we find that this type of person is basically not fond of himself, but deeply dislikes himself.
Selfishness is rooted in this very lack of fondness for oneself. 
The same holds true with the so-called narcissistic person, who is not so much concerned with getting things for himself as with admiring himself.

While on the surface it seems that these persons are very much in love with themselves, they are actually not fond of themselves, and their narcissism – like selfishness – is an overcompensation for the basic lack of self-love.”

– Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Body & Soul

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This morning I realized that achieving my goals would only create more space for more goals, more scurrying, more haste. I won’t be content. All my life I wished to be in the headspace that I am in now; self-aware,self-conforming, living courageously, authentically vulnerable. And yet, I don’t see all that. I don’t appreciate it. My eyes are set on reaching an illusory horizon, and all the while I miss every sunset and sunrise that is my life.

 

Letters of contemplation

Arthur Schopenhauer

I have not yet spoken my last word about women. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself from above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man.


 

Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.


 

The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain… Music expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves.



Just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding
and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment. For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read. If one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost.


Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them; but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.



The cheapest sort of pride
is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings will be constantly before his eyes. But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.



I have long held the opinion
that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.



There are very few who can think,
but every man wants to have an opinion; and what remains but to take it ready-made from others, instead of forming opinions for himself?



What a man is
contributes much more to his happiness than what he has or how he is regarded by others.



Authors can be divided into
meteors, planets and fixed stars. The meteors produce a loud momentary effect; we look up, shout ‘see there!’ and then they are gone for ever. The planets and comets last for a much longer time….The fixed stars alone are constant and unalterable; their position in the firmament is fixed; they have their own light and are at all times active, because they do not alter their appearance through a change in our standpoint, for they have no parallax. Unlike the others, they do not belong to one system (nation) alone, but to the world. But just because they are situated so high, their light usually requires many years before it becomes visible to the inhabitants of earth.



The actual life of a thought lasts only until
it reaches the point of speech…As soon as our thinking has found words it ceases to be sincere…When it begins to exist in others it ceases to live in us, just as the child severs itself from its mother when it enters into its own existence.



Scholars are those who
have read in books, but thinkers, men of genius, world-enlighteners, and reformers of the human race are those who have read directly in the book of the world.


However, for the man who studies to gain insight, books and studies are merely rungs of the ladder on which he climbs to the summit of knowledge. As soon as a rung has raised him up one step, he leaves it behind. On the other hand, the many who study in order to fill their memory do not use the rungs of the ladder for climbing, but take them off and load themselves with them to take away, rejoicing at the increasing weight of the burden. They remain below forever, because they bear what should have borne them.



Compassion for animals
is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.



Our civilized world is nothing but a great masquerade
. You encounter knights, parsons, soldiers, doctors, lawyers, priests, philosophers and a thousand more: but they are not what they appear – they are merely masks… Usually, as I say, there is nothing but industrialists, businessmen and speculators concealed behind all these masks.



It may sometimes happen
that a truth, an insight, which you have slowly and laboriously puzzled out by thinking for yourself could have easily have been found already written in a book: but it is a hundred times more valuable if you have arrived at it by thinking for yourself. For only then will it enter your thought system as an integral part and living member, be perfectly and firmly consistent with it and in accord with all its other consequences and conclusions, bear the hue, colour and stamp of your whole manner of thinking, and have arrived at just the moment it was needed ; thus it will stay firmly and forever lodged in your mind.


 

ninja skier

Dug up an old blog post from the first blog I created eons ago, and although I was 19, it feels like lifetimes ago. It was in the midst of my trying to discover myself and make sense of my intense emotions. I was going through a very turbulent existential depression that reigned strong for a decade. I fall prey to it occasionally when I’m under extreme stress, but I’m mostly able to answer the countless questions my mind conjures day in and day out.
sylvia plath
 
 
Sunday, January 4th, 2009
 
I have been in Kenya for over three years now.It wasn’t the first time,I’ve come on vacation several times,but settling here didn’t just mean racing to find the biggest room with the best view in the house.It didn’t just mean unpacking and making myself at home,trying to get used to sleeping alone with an intense fear of darkness.It meant settling my mind aswell.It meant stretching my world to fit this.It meant readjusting my life as I knew it in Sweden,and fit in.
But three years down the road,i still seem to be jet lagged.I still haven’t unpacked my mind.
 
 
The first months were ok.It wasn’t too bad living in a mansion.Or having a 30 degree celsius weather in December.But something felt empty.Like a vacuum.I tried shrugging it off,like an annoying mosquito.I didn’t understand what my mind was saying.I didn’t understand that my mind could say anything.But oh yeah,it did.It said it out loud.And everyone heard it crystal clear.Everyone but me.
 
I couldn’t cope with being in a foreign country.I went to school and couldn’t cope with not being the brightest student in the class no more.I became apathetic,frustrated,alternated between extremes.My mind was sending me a signal that I never picked up.I didn’t care about school any longer or anything else for that matter.I didn’t know what was happening.It was like a was an observer to my life.Mute and mutated.
 
So I wonder,could it ever be prevented?Or did I need to be a 16 year old psychologist to understand it?What evolved after that was extremely extremely traumatizing.That remains my trauma.At least until i can put it behind me.
So i dropped out,for about 2.5 years and would jump at the sound of ‘school’.I couldn’t manage opening a book without breaking down.I found myself more than ever slipping back to the time before.When i had planned my life into the minute.When i had top grades with no one challenging me.I found myself being more in the past than the present.
 
To rub salt in my wound,my classmates,whom i thought never could beat me,graduated from high school and my chief rival went to medschool.I feel terrible,utterly sodding completely terrible.It’s like a half step forward a mile back.I did go back,in February last year.I dropped out after 3 months because it kept coming back.My Post traumatic stress.My parents are equally frustrated,not knowing what to do.They can’t just stand there,watch while i destroy my life.Or rather,my mind destroys my life.In November again,i went back.I think between November and now I’ve skived more than i have actually attended a class.It’s breaking down again.My mind is destroying me for not picking up signals.For not listening.But to what???It’s so complicated,i know…
 
 
 

What exactly is personality?

Hearken ! You guys, I’ve fallen in love!


 

…with a book that is! Syke 😛

But seriously, I’m enthralled and completely taken with this book that has set my soul on fire; The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis. I transcribed some excerpts from another book by the same authors; The Heart of the Soul. I hope I won’t be violating any Fair Usage policies, because I have a feeling I’ll be referencing these books A LOT! I kid not, I’m enamoured – complete with the butterflies and starry eyes. 😀

Without further ado, here’s my soulbook    😉


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