Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Love and Self-esteem

Posted: 19/05/2018 by zandtao in Insight, Struggle
Tags: , , , ,

In the car I have been listening to bell hooks, such an interesting writer. I have downloaded a series of audios on bell hooks – it is readings from several of her books. I had to check the USB because I wasn’t sure even though what was being said sounded like her. But there is a problem, unlike Russell’s conversation podcasts there is too much content for when I am driving.

But it is about love and self-esteem, and she said “go back to your childhood”. This is a strategy I like, and on love and self-esteem again I feel incredibly lucky. I have to assume as context what I have described in the , in this case especially Ch 21 – My Path. I am unwilling to be specific about my home as my mother would not have liked it, but I can describe it in general as I have in being middleclassed as described in the chapter on My Path. Characteristics of being middleclassed are emotional repression and a focus on education leading to house car and education for children. As I have said previously, from my upbringing I emerged middleclassed but, significantly, relatively undamaged and with sufficient bits of paper for passports into life. When I look around this is more than I could have asked for.

In terms of self-esteem being middleclassed makes it easy to understand. I had the arrogance of academic success and as the middleclass straitjacket only really measured this my self-esteem was well intact.

As for love, self-love and other issues that Bell discusses, in my childhood these were de rigueur. In middle-class homes there was love but it was not expressed as emotion, passion; it was expressed as the straitjacket. The first thing I did when I hit bottom was to run back to the straitjacket, this is what being middleclassed provided. When I went to uni I questioned this straitjacket because I was beginning to remove it, but now I don’t – it was a comfort. I cannot advocate the middleclassed home but all-in-all it served me well.

With regards to teen and young adult relationships I was incredibly shy and awkward – undoubtedly in part a product of being middleclassed. In my early teens I dropped opportunities for relationship learning until I left new possibilities behind as too difficult. At uni I was drunk and most undesirable. At these times wanting a relationship was a conditioned thing, it was expected to have one; the “alpha males” I looked up to at that time flitted through relationships (people I later derided as Martin Smoothchatter). I say this in part was due to my being middleclassed but I also feel the path saved me – no idea how the path did it. I can think back to times where my awkwardness prevented me from relating to some wonderful women, but women who that underdeveloped self would have adored and left that adoring self very distant from the path.

In terms of self-esteem I had that in spades because all that mattered was education. Self-love never rose at that time because I so identified with the self-esteem of academic success. But then came the upheaval that started me on the path (again I refer you to Ch 21 for details). As path is unconditional love, this of course changed everything – including with regards to relationship. I became the wandering compassion at the time confused in terms of conscious awareness, but driven by path I was just learning. To begin with love of an other wasn’t the priority although the conditioning to have a relationship was there, I still had the conditioning of the cosmic love of an other. This conditioning confused me especially as in terms of the world I was so immature but the path priority drove me through the conditioning; I still had my awkwardness that prevented formation of relationships.

Once I settled into teaching a self formed. This self was based in the path, I knew who I was and relationships happened because of who I was – the self that the path had formed. There were two women I loved, and they are important in understanding the love that is now me – now part of my path. My first love happened when the woman was still in a relationship. You have to remember that I was immature and did not understand the world. The three of us spoke about this love, my lover’s relationship fizzled out, and this erstwhile lover who I thought was a friend didn’t want to know me – I am sorry it was my immaturity. There were further barriers on my lover’s part in this love, and by the time she really started to respond to my love my love was waning. And my path and independence took over until the relationship petered out and she left London.

My second love was an absolutely intense disaster that I described as worse than Peyton Place. I deeply loved this woman and I got absolutely hammered by pain. By the end of the relationship of nearly three years I was very much an alcoholic – the relationship did not cause the drug dependency but made it worse, much worse. When we separated she still agreed to see me, but very rarely and that petered out after a further 2 or 3 years.

With both of these I had deeply loved an other, but neither lasted a lifetime. Love however did. I had experienced love and that experience meant I knew love, love was always there. And that love can best be described by this Eckhart Tolle meme:-

It was only when I was mature (since retirement) did I realise that I was grateful for how I came to know love. The pain of the second love had been internalised and lasted a long time. Maybe 8 years after the start of that relationship I was in Nyanga and managed to dig out a significant part of that pain, relived it and let it go. And then maybe three years ago I finally came to the realisation that I had loved, love was in me and that I was grateful for the women I had loved – especially the second one.

To return to Bell’s books. I never really had self love. Because I started on the path so young, there was the love that belonged to the path. The path and conditioning and lust took me into relationships (2 significant loving ones) – my path had not matured enough to go beyond this conditioning; remember, this is how I describe path:-

I never loved when I was still relating to self-esteem. When that self-esteem blew up in the upheaval there was path, I never had to love myself as Bell describes. Path is unconditioned love, to think about loving it is a dichotomy that just doesn’t apply. I developed a love of others, but the love of self didn’t apply because the path was beyond self – anatta – no-self. I can relate to the love Eckhart describes but Bell’s descriptions are based in self and in terms of love I bypassed that self mostly – I of course had self in other ways as described in Ch22 on addiction.

The following is speculation as I did not experience it. I want to try and relate to what Bell says – as she is my feminist guide. Because I was middleclassed I grew up with self-esteem but I was completely awkward – lacking in any self-esteem in terms of relationships. My conditioning turned me to drink at uni, and relationships became secondary. I had many passions, a combination of conditioning and intellectual constructs that I should love, and occasional near misses where I was lucky that my awkwardness did not allow adoration. And then came the path. I never needed self-love because I had the path. Self-love conceivably is a stage before anatta. Many never move to anatta, and self-love is an important instinct for survival as Bell describes. For me this is conjecture.

Because I loved, once the pain had passed there was conscious love in me; love that was always there emerged without much pain – intense pain for a short time.

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