Self Love

My journey into self love has been life changing.

It began with being made to realize that I was bestowing the kind of love, care, attention and financial benevolence I’ve always craved, on people I love, as an attempt in satisfying my own need for affection. That’s what I learnt growing up, to go out of your way to help people who have not had your advantages in life. “Be generous with your time and energy.”

I might be famished by the time I get to the tenth person and still be wondering why I keep getting hungrier. Which then begs the question as to how can I ever hope to have a full stomach if every time I am hungry, I feed a loved one? The answer is likely rooted in my belief that, “love begets love”; and apparently that belief has not served me well because while I am famished I feel a sense of fulfilment because feeding others has been somewhat therapeutic, and this state of starvation while simultaneously feeling satiated is not sustainable.

I received this feedback when I shared my thoughts, and that finally got me unstuck —

You are just desperate for company, love and for your loneliness to go away so you give a lot of what you need because that’s your perspective, and you give it because you think that’s what everyone needs too
But you don’t get it back
Because the truth is that’s not what everyone needs
Or wants

Wow, time to reevaluate my beliefs and the saying, “Do unto others…”. What am I doing unto myself? Everything in excess is poison, even giving of myself to the point that my emotional investment breaks my bank when I feel unreciprocated. In that regard, I decided to do —

  • only that which makes me feel good about myself
    Reducing how much I invest in people, especially in those that don’t bring value to my life, or worse still, make me feel less than satisfied with myself.
  • in only as much measure as I can emotionally afford
    Not over-stretching myself in time, effort and money as these are all means of getting emotionally invested. Once the investment is less, it’s easier to adopt the “send and forget” strategy I use for e-mail (viz. deleting the message from my sent mail so I forget having sent it before it gets filed in long-term memory), and delete all memory of having made the investment. That way you’re not expecting dividends as in you’re not awaiting reciprocity you might never get, and can move on with your life, and it’s easier because the investment was from your emotional petty cash.
  • unto myself as I would do unto others
    Which is, to protect, nurture and pay heed to the needs of my inner child like a loving, caring, affectionate and doting parent.

Which then begs the question, is that the right thing to do? My go to is this blog post from which I have derived that right and wrong are societal constructs whose definitions are constantly changing, so I am not afraid or embarrassed to follow my internal compass. When I brought this up, I was asked with good reason, “But isn’t embarrassment a reflection of social constructs, rather than good or bad?” Fortunately I am privileged enough to not have that to worry about, as I answer to no one but myself.

So armed with recent beliefs that —

  • doing what pleases me seems to be the only “right” thing to do, if my other beliefs are true that
  • the purpose of life is to be happy, considering
  • life is random and
  • the only consequences in life are those that we wittingly or unwittingly bring upon ourselves through our exercise of our power of choice,

I have decided to not be collateral damage in another person’s story.

You may be justified in feeling hard done by, especially if you have done things for others that don’t seem appreciated, but don’t waste time brooding about it. You are captain of your ship of fate, so it’s your responsibility if you’ve been sailing off course.

Teachers

Extraordinary leeway is awarded by society to teachers when it comes to tolerance of their being authoritative while being wrong, without considering the impact to student morale and the diminished quality of education thus meted out and its greater impact on society.

I have come across educators who have been exceptional people, which I believe is what made them good teachers or principals, as students imbibe more from a teacher’s actions than their words. When actions don’t corroborate words, then comes disillusionment.

One of my first memories: I once found a wad of money while picking litter from the school grounds, which I dutifully handed to the supervising teacher, specifically stating that someone might have lost it. The teacher shamelessly pocketed the money right before my eyes! The incident has stayed with me for several decades as I write this. I had the morals to not keep the money, but a teacher who is supposed to be one teaching them had none.

The most consistent issue I have encountered with educators is ego. I have experienced, seen or heard of everything from a student being reprimanded, to being hit or caned, because a student bruised a teacher’s ego. The other teachers, support staff, vice principal and principal all have each other’s backs in their self-contained ecosystem, whereby they lose all respect, as students are very perceptive. Whereas outside the school, power is divested between the police, judge, jury and prison warden. A judge would not be automatically inclined to issue a warrant just because a police officer believes someone committed an offence and as such are held to a much higher standard of conduct.

Often teachers become loud, obnoxious and obstinate in the face of reason, in an attempt to assert their authority. The only thing it affirms is their frail ego, insecurity and poor character. Personal baggage is likely another form of low sense of self worth and corresponding efforts to feel good about oneself, that results in the unfair treatment of students.

A pseudo-feminist teacher reprimanded a male student for so much as defending himself from a larger, tougher and older female bully, stating that a boy can hit a boy, a girl can hit a girl, a girl can hit a boy [and they would look away], but never can a boy hit a girl no matter how extenuating the circumstances. Does that not just go to create misogynists?

Makes Kurisu

Another teacher viewed an innocent drawing of a girl, reproduced from an anime character, as being, “degrading to women” and asked the student to change it; whereas when shown to another, older teacher, as a [true] feminist she had absolutely no issue with it. As a consequence of telling on the teacher, the teacher prohibited the student from ever handing in reproduced art for her class. This once again demonstrates that the student always pays for the teacher’s insecurities. A female teacher who carries her sentiments with respect to patriarchy to school and punishes students to feel superior, is what is really degrading to women.

Picking on a student is extremely abusive. If a student disobeys, a teacher makes his life miserable. A student used a laptop to accomplish a task instead of paper. The teacher retaliated with revoking his privilege to eat or drink anything (except water) or listen to music, or talk in class. Yes, the student should be following instructions, but the teacher should not be punishing him with power play either.

Teachers seem to forget that it is us taxpayers that put food on their table, and they not only fail to do their job of giving our children a quality education that includes imparting good human values, but are also abusive and hurtful towards and disillusion them. Being rude to students seems to be the norm, like they are cattle to be herded, not young people with feelings that get hurt. Like a student said in jest, “You [the teacher] are like the dominatrix that is paid to dominate us at school”.

It’s said that “power corrupts”, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.

David Brin

While job security, generous health benefits, a safe environment, perhaps even a love for teaching all attract teachers initially, what keeps the damaged ones is the ongoing ability to feed one’s ego, and they are the ones in turn damaging students.

Why then are we surprised when world leaders act authoritarian with total disregard of democratic process; considering they are products of the education system and as such are merely modelled after their educators?

Meditation

If I say, don’t think of a flower, definitely not a rose, what are you going to think of?  First a flower, maybe even a rose, then definitely a rose.  So what do you think will happen when you are told that you need to be thoughtless and that is meditation?  Your mind will run rampant as you try to not think of anything, and you will be frustrated.  So how to meditate?

With meditation being cited as the universal cure-all and solution to every problem in every religious and spiritual discourse, without ever being told how to go about doing it, dissemination of unhelpful one-liners like it being ‘a state of no-mind’ or ‘being thoughtless’, and worse still spiritual elitists saying it is not something one does but rather something that happens, it can be confusing and frustrating to the point where one just gives up.

Thought substitution is more doable, as in exchanging negative thoughts for a relatively pleasant one.  Just like we distract ourselves by watching a movie.  I find thinking of something I like and which scenario I can play in my head works very well for me to go off to sleep.  In day-to-day work, it is easier to be mindful; single-mindedly consciously thinking of only the performance of the task at hand and not what I am going to do next or another such stray thought, but that is definitely easier said than done.

The second technique is ignoring.  The thought comes, you know it is detrimental, so for example, I would say, “Okay, hello thought, thank you, but I need to move on”.  That way I am kind to myself, not reprimanding myself for the thought and not dwelling on it either.

Meditation is the third technique.  Now I say technique because the practice of instructions to train oneself to be in a meditative state is commonly referred to as meditation.  Hence the debate about what meditation is.  The purists say, “meditation cannot be done, it happens”, and mock those trying to practice a discipline.  That is not helpful; it is demoralizing.  Recognizing that meditation is a commonly used term for a practice and not for the meditative state itself helps bridge the gap – just as ‘medicine’, while a discipline, is a word commonly used in place of ‘medication’.

Meditation is not the exclusive domain of people who consider themselves spiritually accomplished either, just as breathing is not.  It is not difficult; just different from the other two techniques.  It is observing.  So, say you close your eyes and these random thoughts begin.  Observe the thoughts like a third party witnessing the goings on.  Being thoughtless, in a meditative state, should follow as a consequence of merely being that observer.

One cannot really try and meditate.  One can reach a meditative state by observing one’s thoughts.  Such a meditative state is a temporary respite.  In that sense too it is a practice – towards constantly being in a meditative state, being an observer, whereupon the practice is no longer needed.

If you are lost in thoughts, then that is agitation.
If thoughts are lost in you, then that is meditation.
— Swami Tejomayananda

Divorce

The mantra about ending a marriage based on, “It’s better for children to not grow up with their parents in an unhappy marriage”  is typical feminist pork for putting one’s happiness before that of one’s children, to divorce women from the responsibility that comes with being a parent. Despite anti-male activism and exalting pro-divorce, anti-children values, these feminists call for mother-headed households!

Marriage and children are a commitment — it can be joyful, challenging, stressful or even downright miserable; but that is life itself. When there are marital troubles such feminist-minded women seize the opportunity to manipulate the man to believe that it is his fault, then capitalize on his guilt to broker a deal on marital assets to become financially independent and exit the marriage to lead her dream life built upon the graves of the well-being of her children and ex-husband.

Rights and Duties

If there is fondness and trust in a relationship, care and respect follow. It is like breathing, one does not even have to think about it, let alone make an effort.

If, for example, a man commits an indiscretion, the fondness, trust, care and respect can be interrupted. While a woman in an oppressive relationship has the right to squelch the excesses of a man, when a woman takes her rights too far and stoops to herself committing excesses by taking drastic measures, one thinks such rights be damned, that divest a woman of her sacred emotions like forgiveness, compassion, sacrifice and devotion.

We have broken homes when the glue of forgiveness, compassion, sacrifice and devotion that binds people with fondness, trust, care and respect is diminished due to one, usually due to haste or vengeance, being focused on one’s rights as opposed to one’s duties.

Education has given us a scenario of knowledge without good sense, rights without duties, spending without earning and utilitarian relationships without love and care.

All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction.
— His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV

Happy Children’s Day, with my, as always, sincere wishes that with every parent focusing on their duties instead of their rights, every child has the amazing parents that they deserve.

Legalized Child Abuse

It is “normal” practice for separated or divorced parents to share children, much like time-sharing of real property. This practice is “justified” by the belief that children are resilient and as such will “adjust” in time to being shunted like chattel between the parents who own them.

Why should the child be made to “adjust”? It is the parents’ job to sacrifice for the sake of their children, not ask it of their children. Getting a child to adjust is child abuse, and the justification is obviously a workaround to believe and make society at large believe that there is no abuse.

Why does the law support such injustice?  Obviously because either the lawmakers themselves might be separated or divorced parents or ill-advised by professionals who in turn might be separated or divorced parents engaged in such a practice themselves. There certainly are no children consulted in framing such laws, lest the law work against parents who might be judges, lawyers or the average taxpayer.

Law in general does not permit the exercise of one’s rights in violation of the rights of another. But not so in Family Law. The parent or parents choosing to separate or divorce are permitted to exercise their right/s impeding upon the rights of the child. Unless one or both of the parents advocate the child’s rights, no attempt is made to discover the child’s views or wishes. And even so, depending on the age of the child, little to no consideration is awarded for what the child desires as an outcome for his or her own life and no real attempt is made to ascertain what the child’s wishes are. So even at best it is an uphill battle for a child.

Tomorrow is born out of today. You reap what you sow. It is ludicrous to surmise that a child who is unhappy today with being herded like cattle between the parents would miraculously be happy tomorrow.

Appearances are Deceptive

If a car and a bicycle collide, the driver of the car is more often than not held to be the one at fault, even if he or she might be the victim, because the car has the greater physical potential to cause damage, and only physical characteristics are ordinarily considered. The same goes for abuse in relationships. Men are ordinarily considered to be at fault due to their physical characteristics; and feminist dogma leverages such gender profiling by dictating that men are naturally oppressors and women are naturally victims.

Women are acutely aware of this societal advantage and a large proportion of them, citing patriarchy and oppression by men as a weapon of covert emotional abuse, guilt men into submission so they can dominate and ill-treat them on an ongoing basis. This form of abuse while rampant is never made an issue of, because men often endure oppressive relationships just for fear of ‘rocking the boat’ of their seeming smooth-sailing relationships, because they are too weak to be without the woman.

Do you not hear women refer to themselves in the collective, as in “we women” and putting-down husbands, boyfriends and men overall?

Child’s Rights

The law fails to recognize the upsetting of the balance of rights in allowing an individual to terminate his or her marriage, thereby causing an adverse change to the circumstances of another, perhaps weaker individual. A child’s rights are the worst affected.

Children need to participate in actions concerning their future. They must have standing as an absolute right; it cannot be conditional on being verbally articulate or on age. The form of participation should be full automatic legal representation and party status. The form of participation whereby a child’s views, in an age-appropriate and sensitive way, are solicited and made known to decision makers might be acceptable only if indeed the child’s views, and not the professional opinion of a psychologist, are made known to the court.

Legal representation is a child’s right under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lawyers have a responsibility to determine whether any client, adult or child, is competent to instruct counsel, but when it comes to taking instructions from a child, most lawyers do not bother to assess a client’s capability since they do not want to take cases where they receive instructions from a child.

If children are not given the opportunity to participate, if they feel that important decisions about their future are made without consulting them or considering their wishes, then children will not easily accept the decisions made about them. This could have dire consequences for a child’s ability to adapt to custodial arrangements, with long-term mental health or other negative implications for that child.

For a child to be subjected to a court decision as to where he or she should live, made without any attempt to consult with him or her, sends an inadvertent but potent patronizing message of judicial disrespect; a message about “justice” that the child may later dangerously seek to return in self-destructive behaviour.

It is not about forcibly putting a child in the position of having to choose between his or her parents; it is about the child being treated with respect, especially one who is determined to live with a parent of his or her own choice based on the child’s existing relationship with each parent as it has developed during the course of the child’s lifetime.

The language of the law connotes the ownership of children. This perpetuates the notion that children are chattel, is antithetical to what is implied in the UN Convention, and is disrespectful to children.

Two child witnesses had this to say to the Senate of Canada during hearings which culminated in the 1998 publication For The Sake Of The Children:

“They think you are nine years old and you don’t know anything. But it’s your life.”

“They’re deciding your life and your future but they don’t even know you.”

Love and Care

If a woman were to tell her friends that she is the one that cooks and cleans, her friends would think that she was being horribly oppressed and they would tell her so, perhaps offering to confront her husband. Conversely if she mentions that her husband does all of that for her, her friends would say, “He really loves you”.

Women should not be embarrassed of admitting to caring for and serving their spouse and children, as their grandmothers and mothers have, and their marriages lasted longer.

Men like a woman who respects and appreciates them, cares and cooks for them, makes them feel important and on occasion even assumes the traditional role of a man, such as paying for a meal or initiating intimacy.

Women should not mar the kind act of caregiving by construing it to constitute gender privilege, weakness or subservience.

Female Chivalry

We all have strengths and weaknesses, and where we possess special powers or talents, we are supposed to use it for good, to help the weak, not to harm others.

Chivalry in medieval times called for male physical strength to be used constructively, such that women be treated better than how they were being treated at the time. Women possess greater emotional strength, and chivalry in modern society calls for this emotional strength being used for good; to protect and nourish men emotionally.

If a woman were to slap a man in public, other women would likely cheer her, and men might say he asked for it. If genders were reversed, other women would be appalled and protest, likely report to the police and a chivalrous man would step in to protect the woman. Why the difference? Women have men convinced that they are always the ones at fault, which in itself is abusive, so they believe that the man deserved it, whereas women as a collective look out for each other. The sexist double standards of modern society are evidently in reverse.

Women too need to be chivalrous and step in to defend a helpless man against a vile woman, since they have the emotional strength to deal with another woman. There should be no hesitation lest it be construed as emasculating. Chivalry is charming, and as long as it comes from a good heart it is not at the mercy of how it is perceived. If it is not appreciated, it is the recipient’s loss.