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Self-Respect“Whoever despises himself nonetheless respects himself as one who despises.”Friedrich Nietzsche

The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.” ― Joan Didion

In this post I am continuing to walk the point of redefining and changing my relationship to my body. Like I mentioned in the previous post, the way we currently exist in relation to our physical bodies – our bodies aren’t even our own. Everything and everyone else own our bodies, including our own minds, which is really absurd once you look at it. Our bodies are owned by thoughts, by beliefs, by fears, by body-image ideals promulgated by consumerism. However when I talk about redefining and changing my relationship to my physical body I am not talking about us now becoming the ‘owners’ of our bodies. Because that would again be a point of making the body a lesser ‘vessel’ that exists like a slave to serve our needs. So when I’m talking about redefining my relationship to my physical body, I’m talking about actually establishing a relationship based on Equality – a relationship of respect, integrity, humbleness and care for our physical bodies – as equals, as ourselves.

The way that I see self-respect it is to see what is best for oneself and then adhere to that in one’s daily living. In my life self-respect has not been a prominent aspect of my living. In fact I have been very ‘flexible’ towards bending myself in order to fit in and I see how the physical body suffers the consequences of that. But for example when it comes to drinking alcohol that is something that I never liked doing. But I did it anyway to be accepted and to fit into the group I was a part of. I hated waking up with a hangover and eventually I made the decision to stop drinking. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in probably 6-7 years. This was an act of self-respect. I respected myself enough to place my physical body’s wellbeing over the need to fit in. And within doing that, I regained a part of myself. It is interesting because I see that what actually compromises our self-respect the most, are the ideas and beliefs that we accept to be true while knowing that they are not. The reason for holding onto such ideas and beliefs could be fear of being rejected, it could be fear of not fitting in or it could be based on preferences we’ve developed for certain energetic experiences throughout our lives. But what is interesting is that it actually isn’t ‘other people’ who prevent us from living self-respect. It is ourselves in our relationship to our minds, where we let the mind dictate the principles with which we live – and that is the most enslaving place of all; our own minds. Because they’re always with us, they never shut up and they function only because of our acceptance and allowance – which makes the mind a self-enslaving mechanism. So often we think and believe that we are holding ourselves back because that is what other people forces us to do, but really that mechanism of compromising one’s self-integrity only exist in one place and that is our own minds. Others will affect obviously growing up we, by group pressure and various forms of brainwashing. But eventually we become our own keepers, making sure that we never step out of place, even if it means contaminating our own bodies in the process. So what is self-respect? Self-respect is to do what is best for me in every moment. And by ‘best’ I don’t mean necessarily that which ‘feels good’ or that which I prefer doing, because not even such experiences can be trusted.

So what I see is that implementing self-respect in my living doesn’t actually have to do with ‘standing up against others’ – but actually standing up from within and as my own mind, seeing and recognizing those moments of self-compromise where there is a program running within the mind prompting us to do something that isn’t best for us because of fears/ideas/beliefs/desires that we’ve accepted to be true and real. Self-respect is to take responsibility for self in doing that, which is best for self – and in the context of our current relationship with the mind, where we’re governed by anything and everything but our own dignity and self-honesty, self-respect is also an active decision to change who one accept oneself as. If we see the body is a ‘vessel’ only, a lesser creation that we perceive ourselves to own, then obviously we aren’t going to respect the body. Because within seeing the body as inferior, we separate ourselves from the body and we give the mind the prerogative to govern us as a superior entity – which means that the mind’s ‘needs’ will come before the body’s, we will listen to the mind before we listen to the body and the mind will be what we respect. It is the same in our relationship as humanity to the earth. We perceive the earth as a place that we use to suit our needs, we don’t see or respect the earth as a life-force on its own, a life force with which we must live in an equilibrium because our needs are intertwined and interdependent. Our disrespect for the earth is so total, that we don’t even recognize or care about the fact that we are destroying the earth, because we have become so submissive to the mind and its dominion over life. We exist as though our lives are separate from the life of the earth, as though the earth doesn’t even exist except for as a ‘playground’ or ‘backdrop’ to the delusional fantasies (and nightmares) we play out through and as the mind. As such, self-respect is to understand the equality of life and within that the interconnectedness of life and to live accordingly to stop the separation between the mind and life, the mind and the physical. My physical body is an equal part of life existing here on this planet, with an equal life to right – the only part that in fact support me as life and that supports all life. As such self-respect is to respect life, is to value life. Because otherwise what are we valuing? What are we respecting, but an illusion through which we bring our own destruction upon ourselves – in an attempt to get somewhere, to get something, to be someone, that was here all along.

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