A love that’s self given

There can often be a lot of confusion, guilt & some resistance to the idea of loving one self. That it seems selfish , indulgent, narcissistic. Yet Self love can be an incredible thing, a special kind of intimacy that seems so very rare right now. I’m not talking about vanity, or self aggrandisement. Constantly putting your self on a pedestal because you have acquired something, accomplished something that requires continuous attention & applause. If we start with the premise that all living creatures are fundamentally insecure. That the nature of existence is a vulnerable physical body in a constantly changing environment, Then this goes a long way to explain why we all require an immune system & have built in fear & flight mechanisms. Out of those fears, depending on how we engage with or respond to the world around us, arises a whole spectrum of learnt & pervasive patterns of insecurity & uncertainty.

We only have to consider the way most people are raised & parented. To understand how far away we are from our own integrity, how ill fitting our lives have become. You were raised in an environment that was deeply conditioning, some of which is positive, essential to our social intelligence & survival. But we are very rarely if at all raised according to our own specific nature. We are not nourished appropriately for the unique needs of our individual unique shape & expression. We are not given the freedom & opportunity to develop in a way that’s correct for us. So if nobody takes the time to consider, really look, deeply listen to what we are. Then we ourselves will resign that self enquiry to a self image handed to us. A reflection we then spend a lifetime impersonating, accommodating, serving. Yet it always feels like a stranger staring back at us. Something that is not quite us and we suspect never will be.

If we internalise the belief that we are never enough it’s no surprise that from an early age human beings don’t think very much about ‘themselves’ I was struck very early on when I started teaching, sitting with people from all kinds of backgrounds, different cultures, other countries. That they all seem to suffer from the same malaise, the same ideology, the same prejudice or disappointment. A profound lack of respect for their lives & a deep discontent, even loathing of themselves. So how disheartened, destitute must you feel in your life to find there is no choice, nowhere left to go but to keep going, keep avoiding , postponing what’s always available, waiting for you to notice it again, feel it again. It doesn’t say much for what we have inherited & promote as a way of life. A way to being fully human. So inevitably self love is the rarest of things because it is established & rooted in your own self awareness. Your indwelling consciousness & inner authority.

The source of your purpose & personal power. This is what we lose contact with, trust in. We are conditioned to follow a course that leads us continuously from this self assurance, losing authority & orientation. And are trained to surrender our stewardship to our parents, peers, partners, teachers, governments & gods. Or any external authority figure. So the world becomes more and more homogeneous, less diverse, unique, accepting, inviting. Systems of control Keep us distracted, disenfranchised & herded towards goals & by virtues signalled from our own cultural mechanisms. The moment you give up your authority, your loyalty, your integrity. You will never be able to trust yourself again. Never feel whole, never feel that anything you do is ever complete, ever enough. Then you end up in a life where you overthink, overwork, stop being able to make decisions as yourself. For yourself. And lose the grace & adaptability to accept the consequences & learn from them. We need to take a step inwards, reunite with our most fundamental relationship. A place from which we can rise into life again guided & enabled. Mastering our own unique tools, served and sustained by our own intimate intelligence. Not a fabricated, philosophical, spiritual prescription. But one that is known directly, through the immediacy of our embodied conscious experience. Our dynamic and sensitive surfaces. An ancient intelligence that doesn’t require a strategic mind, or calculating ego ( but will integrate them both generously and put them to good use) It is an awareness that allows you to operate with presence & response-ability. Helping you to navigate through life as ‘you’ with all its rich promise & diversity. The moment you start to acknowledge this ‘feeling understanding’ you discover something remarkable. You discover that you are not broken, incomplete, unworthy. But are absolutely tailor made to be here.

And begin to accept more and more the way you have been made. You realise more and more that ‘ I can deal with this, I can accept that’ with grace, understanding, and creativity. Then life suddenly becomes something that is much more frictionless. And maybe for the first time you begin to experience the power & potential inherent in you. This is where the first stirrings of self love begins. It begins with trust. Not trust in something other or outside of you. Trust in holy lines, headlines, click-bait propaganda, gossip. But trust in your innate intelligence and know that you are perfectly placed, elegantly equipped to live as part of this unique & precious living process. Does that not deserve your love? When you find this buoyancy, this inner security that is always self righting, self accepting. And begin to really live it. Begin to feel that self love, loving yourself. It is unmistakable & indelible. To live with this intimacy is to open yourself up to fully to loving life. And everything & everyone that arrives and becomes a part of you and everything that has to change and take its leave. No longer rooted in dependencies. Your inferiority & inadequacy no longer have purchase or power over you.

To be aligned by this understanding is to appreciate your own magic, your own depth, your own beauty.

Portraits of Kat

Andres Noren