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  • Writer's pictureNadine Almer

The Art Of Love: What would a person who loves themself do? (Part II)

The Art Of Love: A month dedicated to self-love and the exploration of Love itself

And we are in week two of our experiment. ‘What would a person who loves themself do?’ stands at the forefront of our thoughts throughout the month that we dedicate to being introduced to the other side of love, the art acquired through theory, practice and dedication.


For those of you who are familiar with what I am writing about and who listened to the podcast episode: Thank you and here is the link that will get you directly down to my own deeds and decisions in this week, led by the constant question ‘What would a person who loves themself do’?

To those who have no clue what I am talking about and have not yet listened to the podcast - stop right there, open a new tab by clicking this link… that will get you ASAP to the first episode of the four part series ‘The Art Of Love’. Or, if you don’t want to listen because you are more a reading type of person, this is the link to the essay by Erich Fromm, ‘The Art Of Loving’ that I took most of my inspiration and content from.

As gracious as I am, I will put the basics of what we discussed in this week's episode into text for you as well.

All in the service of love, of course!


We had the opportunity to dive straight into the first part of the two part series handling the theory, as outlined by Erich Fromm’s text. However, I want to emphasise here that his propositions, words and conclusions can in no measure be replicated with the elegance and wit he did himself. Thus, please be sure to either read it for yourself or listen to the audio version I discovered from The Innerity Podcast, linked right here. It is simply impossible to get all that he says into my half hour format of the podcast, nor is it possible to put it into writing this blog. And it shouldn’t be either. My goal is to get a spark going and maybe, if you resonate, you’ll find that once the curiosity is ignited, you’ll want to dive into it for yourself anyway. There is deep wisdom and healing in every action we take, and all we encounter has a meaning and purpose for us to be explored by ourselves as well.


With that disclaimer out of the way, that I by no means have all the information that he provides, we are able to focus on what I then did discover:

The very reason why we all are so obsessed with love, and why it is at the core of humanity and our existence, why there is craving and confusion and an insatiable longing for it.

The deepest need is to overcome separateness.

How to transcend one’s own individual life and find at-one-ment.

How to achieve union?


According to Erich Fromm we try to achieve this in four different ways. Obviously, I said it before and I say it again, this is a very washed down attempt to have the complexity of his arguments concluded. There is, on his part, a lot more about human history and numerous other factors he puts light upon, to make his points. For the sake of this blog and the purpose of giving a brief overview, the four ways in which we try to achieve union, escape separation and feel whole again are:


  1. Orgiastic, orgasmic or transcending experiences. From the old tribal and indigenous ways of group orgies to sacred rituals or sacrifices, dancing and drumming until an altered state of consciousness is achieved, to the very modern day of constant sexualisation (hookup culture, pornography and thirst traps as primary goal to induce desire on social media platforms as well as in ordinary advertisement and a quick injection of illusionary transcendence of walls between individuals through frequently repeated sexual encounters). There is a different approach to the times when we still were connected to nature of course, and the constant distraction it is aimed for in today’s world, underlying both is nonetheless the wish to feel oneness again, leave the flesh behind and come to a point of bliss. No matter how small the amount of time we spend within this state of bliss, it gets us hooked for more and can thus be concluded to fall into the third category of this same attempt to achieve unity again: addiction. Both drugs and alcohol (which I find in itself rather strange, to have to put alcohol after drug and mention it distinctly, because people seem to simply not count in alcohol as being a drug to begin with), serve the same purpose if indulged in too frequently. Of course what ‘too frequently’ does mean is very unique to everyone. However I would assume, as soon as the pleasure from it turns to a frantic way of seeking it out more frequently, to the point of not even being able to bear life without it, then one may talk of an addiction. Even the (sometimes) daily afternoon or evening ritual of having a beer could be a sign of addiction. Rule of thumb: If for some apocalyptic reason you would not be able to get any beverage, food, access to games or recreational habits of ‘power’ - shopping, even gym time, your computer, tablet or other smart-device, is not available for you at any point anymore - and this leads to anxiety, stress, fidgeting, meltdowns, depression or other intense emotional reaction, that may be a bright, big red flag to see that you have become addicted to something that we could call in general: capitalism. I digress. What Erich Fromm proposes is, that every act of either orgiastic, orgasmic or transcending nature are intense, spasmodic, transitory (meaning incorporating body and mind), with the flavour of periodical repetition in order to keep up the high from it, that is a sure way of us trying to compete our sense of being alone and separate through these actions.

  2. The second one I try to keep short and spicy as we all probably are very, intimately, personally familiar with it: Conformity. In early human history we were bound by bloodlines, with our tribes people and our village community, or through the soil we were born on. Needless to point out that trough the constant enlargement of our settlements to cities to countries, our society has morphed into a big, fat monster of labels by which we try to stay conform within these groups. Be it religions, countries, or if you prefer one brand to another, we have been raised to be good sheep of conformity. Equality has, according to Erich Fromm, been transformed from meaning that we all are one and made of divine substance and that the difference of all of us must be respected, to equality nowadays meaning sameness. Which in its essence is a paradox itself. How can we ever be the same when each one of us is a unique entity, a cosmos by itself? Equality, in its distorted meaning, has thus taken on a life of its own through various groups that fight for it, against each other, and in doing so defying the essence of the essential meaning of the word. No being must be the needs of another being, yes, yet in dividing us through fighting for equality we are opposing what equality means. And it only serves to divide us more by then making what we fight for a small and insignificant individualism that, on the grand scheme of things, does nothing to alter the structure of the powers that are the political and economic elites of this world. I digress again though. His point is to make us see that the symptoms of our herd conformity are addictions of any kind, over sexualisation and seeking compulsive sex as a stimuli (or in other words what we explored in point one), as well as the mental, emotional, spiritual cancer of society that is mental illnesses and suicide. Conformity is not spasmodic, like its counterpart pointed out in the point above, it is permanent. From the age of two, sometimes even younger, we are confined in the cage of societies structures that keep us in a routine, raise us to not think for ourselves, remain in a rut between work and pleasure, bread and games, livelihood and escapism. Until at some point we ask ourselves if that is all there is to life. Even our funeral is our last great social event of farewell. From womb to tomb

  3. From these two he moves on to creative activity. This includes anything and everything that requires you to be productive, meaning that you yourself plan, produce and see the results of. You as the creator, the creative brain behind an operation. The farmer, the carpenter, the painter, the teacher. As long as you seek oneness with an object outside of yourself, the outside presenting what you perceive as your reality, meaning that you take what you see, understand, know to be your truth and turn it into something else. The farmer grows food, the carpenter build a cabinet, the painter creates a picture, the teacher tries to pass on knowledge. This, nowadays, has been lost for the majority of people through the decompartmentalization of projects into sections and workers only fulfilling one part of a whole (example being a factory belt worker who mostly derives very little purpose or bliss from his way of making ends meet, seeing it not as an expression of themself but a burdensome necessity to survive).

  4. Lastly we have the difference between interpersonal fusion and a union through fusion without an interpersonal aspect. The first describes mature love in the sense that two become one but remain two by keeping their integrity, their uniqueness, their essence. The latter describes a symbiotic union, an immature love, in which two become one with a loss of integrity, resulting in passive states (or masochistic behaviour) or active states (sadistic behaviour).


A lot to take in.
How about we take a short break and breath deeply for a couple of minutes to calm our mind again.

Personally, I saw myself in all of the four ways in different periods of time in my own life. And it is sort of scary to lay bare and acknowledge the fact that I have sought out release from the constant feeling of separation. Sought it in giving and dishonouring my body through sex and addictions, sought it in overcompensating my values and morals through volunteer work and turning from a selfish person to a martyrdom of selflessness, sought it through only seeing my value in the level of production, artistically and creatively, I can put out on a daily basis, sought it through victimhood and blaming others when in fact I was the one playing a part in the either passive symbiotic ways or active symbiotic ways.


The point of this blogpost though is to come from the recap of what we discussed during the episode, to the more personal level of looking at how the question of self-love, in the form of a real question, can influence our daily life for the better. Our self-empiric research should resemble a loving observation:


What would a person who loves themself do?

To be honest, during this week I had quite a few occasions where I simply forgot.

What that means is that I lived, did whatever and then suddenly by the end of the day I snapped out of it and realised that not once did I ask myself the question above, not once. And that then got me thinking and journaling on why that is. The conclusion to it is the fact that on these specific days, there was no need for asking it in the first place. I felt content. I was in the zone, flowing, if you want to call it that. That then made me smile because I’ve come such a long way of healing that arriving at a point where I have created a life in which I don’t constantly have to question my motives, intentions or doings anymore, is purely rewarding and truly deserved. I don’t say that to sound arrogant, I am very proud of my progress, my process, my never giving up. And I am entitled to be because everyone of us is entitled to abundance and self-love and self-care and pride in one’s achievements. Which is exactly why I want to make this my number one revelation of this week’s summary. I felt proud that I had a balanced, relaxed attitude with self-care and healthy routines, along with a productive and successful achievement of my to do’s for the day. That was a first and this exercise brought awareness and attention to the self-love present within me , made me see it.


Secondly I eased into something else that only came to me once the week was halfway over. And that is that I am in the middle of achieving a longterm goal of mine. Longterm in this example means around two years. I have dreamed about it, tried to manifest it, had no idea if it would ever be possible and quite honestly, up until the very last month I had absolutely no clue if it would become a reality because I had no means to realise it. Still, somehow, it did. I am not sure how, but it did. This is not about the dream itself, it is more about the realisation that I am living in the time and space right now where it actually is about to become a reality. Yet I hardly take any notice of it. Oftentimes I reflect back on certain periods in my life when something came to pass and only in looking back do I make it a conscious experience. This time around, I came to the conclusion that I want to be present while it is happening. Because this is exciting, it is a celebration of myself and life. Something is happening and even before it is here I feel like I am not in a blurred dream, I am  awake in my own dream, lucid dreaming the reality, if that makes sense. I am here and now, everyday, step by step, coming closer to achieving this dream and not one single, little thing may disturb my exhilaration, on the contrary, every single, little thing shall enhance my experience of this period of time, to be edged across my awareness for the future to be remembered even more clearly.


And lastly we have a very hands-on approach on how I was minimising overwhelm this week. It’s simple, really.

And it scares me every time.

I promise though, its worth it.

And I can also promise that the world will still stand after you do it!

Scratched things off.

My days were filled and full this week, to the point where I knew if I would allow myself an hour more relaxation than usual, I would not complete one task, I would therefore fall behind and my whole, tall and fragile card house of to do’s, all would collapse, abyss and chaos ensue. That started rising within me on Sunday when I did the preview for the upcoming days. A small bile of constant pressure had remained when I woke up on Monday. But for some reason I was refusing to acknowledge the bile to be nurtured. In fact I had a hot cocoa to step out of the usual pattern and do me something sweet and good right then and there in the morning, irresponsible and unhealthy, naughty, little interruption of the usual pattern!

But it brought me joy and I laughed about how childish I felt having a hot cocoa in the morning without any veg yet in the stomach and without any real reason other than my own bliss.

From there it was a quick step to the resolution that I would not spoil my day. You can laugh at me but I stood by the side of the kitchen sink, sipping my cocoa and talked aloud to my brain, saying that I do appreciate it very much, in fact its survival mode has kept us not only alive but made us come this far and thriving, for today it was time to hand over the reigns. I ordered it to give the crown to our soul and take it one step at a time. From the get go I scratched one huge, time consuming thing off my list. Just to see what would happen and to wallow in my own given freedom to pass the sceptre of decision and choices to my soul for once. Immediately the day became brighter. I felt like breathing deeper again, I felt like a weight had been lifted.

Of course sometimes that is not possible, and I am recounting this tale because of the precise argument that sometimes there is a possibility to make it happen. I saw it, I choose it after asking me how a person who loves themself would handle this situation, and in the end, without even having this at the core of my intention, I achieved all of it, including the part I took off the list.


There you go, my beloved souls and fellow, healing onions: My list of things I encountered this week through applying our shared exercise of trying to enact a person who loves themself and thus falling in the trap of sometimes, maybe, actually doing what a person who loves themself does, resulting furthermore in a possible way to making it so we eventually don’t act like a person who loves themself anymore, but truly become a person that loves themself. The audacity, I know!

Whole-heartedly.

By appreciating what is and isn’t in our best interest.

By acknowledging the beauty of finding out for ourselves who we are, what each day offers and how we respond to it.

By applying the simple phrase into our everyday life and learn anew what it means to genuinely care for our well-being.


After all: The more we feed our own glass of water, the more overflow we have to pass on.

The light in me honours and salutes the light in you

My beloved souls, my fellow, beautiful, healing onions


Nadine

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