It may seem quite an statement to make, but truth be told, we have grown up to abuse our bodies pretty much every single day, from the food and drinks we eat, the way we sleep, out thoughts about ourselves or how we talk to ourselves, each other, the way in which we exercise, too much, not enough, how we dress, the relationships we have and many other things.
A big ouch for me, because one of the things I really hate is how people don’t care for each other, is that when we allow ourselves to get run down, exhausted, tired etc, we are part of the lack of care we so hate. So really I can’t complain or judge as I’m part of that.
Self-love takes care of the care we so crave.
And why is it, we pretty much only start to considered or look at ways of caring for ourselves, and our body when we get ill? Why don’t we care for ourselves all the time, so we aren’t exhausted?
Truth be told, it is out lack of self-love and deep care for our bodies and ourselves that leads to all the discontent in the world, disharmony in relationships, our bodies and to us being ill in the first place.
I was speaking with a psychologist friend the other day, and we were chatting about how we think and talk about ourselves, and it was startling to see and feel how hard I was and am on myself, and I am sure many other people will connect to this. But I was pretty brutal and harsh with the thoughts about myself, like there is no way I would speak to a child like that, or allow anyone else to speak to an adult or child like that, I would not allow friends or my partner to be that way with themselves, so why is we are so hard on ourselves, so self critical and negative.
At what point in our lives were we taught to criticise ourselves so much? Where have all the pictures, ideals and beliefs come from that we are not good enough? Or we have to be a certain way?
It’s actually scary to see, and something I’ve really noticed in schools this week, from a mixture of ages, as young as age 7 upwards ( and I’ve heard it from younger) is the constant self criticism of not being good enough, or work not good enough etc. Where do kids get this? Where do we get it, because we aren’t born like this, when we first start to colour in etc we don’t give ourselves a hard time for colouring outside the lines, or putting yellow all over the page, so where does this barrage of negativity and not being good enough come from?
Why and at what point ion our lives to we decide to stop loving ourselves, to stop caring about ourselves and think we are not good enough, or have to do more, prove more compared to someone else, to be accepted, liked, or to never meet that never obtainable picture? And, how does this affect our health?
This is not to beat our selves up, because that’s just continuing the unloving cycle, but to simply be honest, and be really honest about how we are with ourselves, being honest is one of the keys to truly self-care and healing, and beating ourselves up, pushing through and being critical isn’t.
We’ve all heard the old saying you can’t take care of someone else, if you don’t take care of yourself. This is so true, for how can we offer another true care and support to others when we have a body that is so exhausted and depleted of care and love ourselves. No matter how we might try to avoid it, we cannot escape the very humbling truth and fact, that, everything comes back to our body, to deeply caring for, and loving our body and ourselves.
So what are the starting steps? For each one of us this may be different, it is about simply beginning to listen to our body, honouring what we feel, acting on it, being responsible, open to making mistakes, our body speaks very loudly when we listen. And not beating ourselves up if we stuff up. Being open to seeking support if we need help, be that speaking to friends, or seeking medical support or help.
There is much more to self-care, the more we apply a few simple things, making the focus about our bodies, listening to our bodies, the quality we move and do things in, the more our body will speak loud and clear. There is no hard and fast one rule for all, in fact there are no rules, it’s about getting to know yourself, your body, and listening to your inner wisdom. And with everything self-care constantly evolves, so there may be something we did a while ago, that now doesn’t feel right anymore, so instead of continuing to do it, it’s asking our body to deepen, what’s next and where do we move on to from here.
For me it’s learning to apply one thing at a time, I’m a bit of an all or nothing person, but a pattern I’m seeing is if I go ‘gun ho’ I tend to give up or get smashed physically. So for me it could be as simple as saying okay, I’m simply going to focus on being gentle with myself, this can be how I move my body, how I get dressed, the way I am with my body, for example drying my hands gently, not being harsh, the hands for me are a good marker if I’m being too rough with myself, to saying no to any thoughts that are not loving and gentle in how I think about myself. And only ones this becomes a solid part of my foundation, my life, do I introduce something else. Plus it keeps things simple and joyful too.
Now by no means I am out of this, or have I nailed it, as yet, I’m a forever learning and will always be a student. Currently I’m learning to heal exhaustion , to deeply love and nurture my body and at times let myself rest.
On a finishing note, when looking for a photo for this, I came across a few of me as a little child, and there was not one ounce of negativity, lack of self love etc just pure brightest, joy, playfulness and love, So if we don't have any of that as a child, and we are absolutely full of ourselves in the truest and purest sense, just simply happy being us, Where does it come from?
This is something that has bothered me for years. The stigma around taking into depressants, or even admitting you need a bit of metal health support, you're struggling, stressed, anxious, down, not quite yourself. It's one of those things we almost pretty much don't talk about. That's it's not okay, that you'll be deemed not fit to do your job properly, that you're a bit weird. or people simply don't feel comfortable talking to you or maybe we don\'t feel comfortable talking about how we really feel, because we're meant to have it all together 24/7, the perfect life.
But let's face it, that is not true.
Since I'm a teacher, let's look at some stats there, in a survey a few years ago, "81% of teachers suffered from anxiety, stress and or depression" now I am in absolutely no doubt tis has risen. I see how exhausted, stressed out, overwhelmed teachers are every day. Even if we look about the streets, the supermarket, we can see many people are unhappy. I was speaking recently with an adult psychologist and there is a three month if not more waiting list to see the adult mental health service where we live for a review. So there is definitely a rise in mental health issues. People are genuinely struggling.
The sad thing is, that we as a society still stigmatise mental health, we've made it something taboo, that's its' not okay to say I am struggling, I need help or support, or even say yeah I take anti depressants.
We would take anti biotics if we had an infection, pain killers for a sore head, a bandage if we had hurt ourselves or a cast for a broken leg, so if we are struggling with low moods, lack of energy, would it therefor not be wise and actually very responsible to take medication to support us, to help us whilst we looked at other part of our lives we can work on changing, because lets face it when you are given up, withdrawn the last thing you want to do is make positive changes to your life. So, if going to the doctor and getting medical support help, the in my book, yes that is hugely responsible to get that help. But, also looking at how you can make self-loving chances to your life.
But we as a society, as friends, as practitioners, as people, brothers, partners, sisters, mums, dads, teachers etc need to stop stigmatising taking anti depressants, or making people feel like there is something wrong with taking them. I often hear people making comments such as oh they stop you feeling, numb you etc. No they don't. They don't stop you feeling, they don't mask how you really feel, or numb you as some people say, the are a responsible support if you feel it's the right thing for you to start making ,more self-loving changes to your life.
I wrote this blog four years ago, and found it clearing out, a little bit like an old letter that makes us stop, and reminds ourselves of things to appreciate. Still relevant in all it shares no matter what time of year, as our foundations can always be reviewed and strengthen as we let go of things that are not loving and no longer support us.
It seemed appropriate to write this as it was coming to the end of the year, a time when many make new year resolutions for the so called coming new year. But what if the year was not new, but simply another cycle round the sun, and opportunity to repeat the same choices again or to make different choices to grow and evolve, a time to be still, to reflect - to let go of things that no longer support us in our life.
Early this year I had an opportunity with an Esoteric Practitioner to let go of my old foundation and build a new one. By old foundation, I simply mean how I had chosen to live my life, the things I used to not feel hurts, to play games, to keep me small, lesser, to protect myself, numb, distract myself, to not be as aware or as sensitive as I am, basically everything I do and use to stop me from being me in full. And the new foundation; how do I really want my life to be, what do I want in my life – the things and way of living and being that will support me to keep building a deeper and more loving foundation to deal with anything that come up from a completely different place, because if I’m honest my old foundation full of judgment and hurt, was not working, at all.
So Out with the Old and In with the New …
Initially I thought this was going to be a simple and easy tool to use; I nominate everything in my old foundation that I do not want in my life anymore. I was able to rattle off a HUGE list of all the obvious stuff, all the things I did and used to protect me or not let me feel, here are justa few …
I began to realise that there was actually much more, this was just the outer layer;
There were many more layers than this, I could have written a book - but when it came to my New foundation, it didn’t quite flow the same – which exposed another trick …
So with that, I claimed my NEW Foundation, what I wanted in my life. I started with the simple stuff, some that I wasn’t allowing in my life and lots that I was, but I simply wanted more of, here are a few;
Then came more practical and personal things, such as.
Again there were many more layers to this, the more I claimed what I wanted it my life. As I wrote and expressed how I felt, the more I felt it was time to let go of the old buried and imbedded patterns, hurts and behaviours that have held me back for years, lifetimes if I am going to be totally honest, when all I am doing is prolonging the hurts, and then confirming to everyone else it’s okay to do the same … crazy! But it doesn’t finish here, this is the easy part, for me anyway, to nominate and write them on the page, but the real magic and change happens when I choose to live my New Foundation.
The more I embraced the love that I am, the joy, the grace, the divine miracles that are there for me each and every single day, the simplicity, the connections, letting go of the hurts (this is still a work in progress), being more gentle, understanding and more love, then my life flows and grows and is much more simple and fun. Sometimes I have a little blip, sometime a slip, or a tumble but I am learning to let go of these and not beat myself up, as that’s part of my old foundation too, and appreciate just how amazing I am, that we all are, and that every little thing in life that comes my way, is actually a blessing and a learning from God to grow and evolve to be all that I am.
With love and appreciation of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon and all he lives, presents and shares.
Many of us can see and feel the benefits caring for ourselves. The changes in our body, how we look, feel, maybe we have lost some weight, how we dress, eat, walk, the knock on effect it has on our relationships, our family, our work, our energy levels, maybe we react less and so much more.It’s totally understandable we want to run around and tell the world, shout from the roof tops about how amazing we feel, nothing wrong with that go for it, but what do we do when we see other people in our lives not taking care of themselves?
a) tell them what to do, what to eat, nag them, have a go at them for how they live? Preach and try to convert them, impose on them etc.
b) feel sorry for them and sympathiseor
c) do we observe what we see? Hold people in deep understanding and love; allow people make their own choices, respect those choices, knowing one day we all will come back to a way of deeply loving and caring for ourselves, by virtue of the reflection of those who already are keep deepening the care and love they have for themselves?
Let’s face it we have all been on the receiving end of been told what to do, how does that feel? If you are anything like me, you’ll hate being told what to do, or someone passing judgment on you. I hate hate it, like really hate it. It’s the sure fire way to put someone off, get their back up, turn them off, feeling like you are nagging them, it’s definitely not caring or loving, and often results in the other person saying or thinking stuff you, and sticking to what they are doing, even if it isn’t good for them, it’s a no win for everyone.
Often this kind of telling behaviour can be around food, someone telling us not to eat this or that, you should be eating this, that’s not good for us etc, or oh are you still eating that? And I don’t just mean in books or on TV shows or magazines, I mean us, how we talk to family, friends, work colleagues, even ourselves, sometimes we don’t even need to say anything, it can be felt in our look or thoughts of judgment. I remember sitting at a breakfast table at guest house and someone nagging another guest for what they were eating, I felt totally put off by this, it did not inspire me one little bit, nor was it accepting, allowing, loving, respectful or beholding of the other person and their choices.I got up and walked away. Sometimes I would say something, when its needed, but the best thing here was to observe and walk away,
There is no love in telling or judgement, nor if there is no understanding,
The truth is taking care of ourselves, the way (quality) in which we move in our daily lives, how we go about what we need to do, the food we eat, how we, walk, move, rest, talk, dress, when we go to bed (without announcing it round the office the next day with an air of ‘I’m so good because I go to bed early, drink smoothies or get up early and go out for a walk before work) is what will truly and deeply inspire people to take deep care of themselves.
People watch people, we all watch everything that's going on all the time, we clock everything, though we may not be aware of it, we see something different in how another lives, it’s not about telling someone what to do, or trying to convert them, but simply people seeing how we live, how we take care of ourselves, are gentle, self-honoring and loving with ourselves.
True inspiration comes from how we live.
There's a really amazing woman I know, whom I love deeply and dearly, a true inspiration to me, One thing I deeply love about her is the simplicity, absolute deep love, clarity, understanding and care she lives. What I always love and what blows me away is that I can get the most simple email form her, it could be about work, whatever, even some so called mundane, but you cannot help feel the love she lives through every word in her email, how she lives is felt. the same words could be written by someone else, and they would feel absolutely different, She never tells me what to do, I am inspired by how she chooses to live for herself first and foremost and with that all others. Whilst this may not be my Livingness as yet, i know its there inside me and will be one day. She is a true inspiration to me to love myself deeply, enjoy my life, myself and take deep care of my body.
Having someone we deeply love and care for die can be one of the most difficult and toughest times in our life.
Often this can be magnified by how they passed over, for example it may be a cancer, or a traumatic physically shocking event such as suicide. That is not to say one way of passing over is more or less that another, but simply how grief can play out in our bodies in different ways.
Some people may feel more grief or trauma in the body due to the nature of a person’s passing such as sudden death or other circumstances. Some people may find with a long term illness or disease that they have space to come to terms with what’s happening, or some of us may find that we are still dealing with a loved ones passing months or years after it has occurred. Everyone feels and deals with grief in different ways, be it a long-term illness or disease or a sudden death.
What often happens when we know of someone’s imminent passing is that we come together to support this person and our/ their family. All the little quarrels, niggles and grievances are forgotten about with this greater purpose in mind.This is a great reminder and learning for how we all can live life all of the time, not just wanting to connect when serious illness or death is imminent, though unfortunately and sadly it often takes a passing over or a serious illness for us to do this.
But there is one thing we often forget aboutin this time in our lives, and this is ourselves. We so easily give ourselves over and busy ourselves in the affairs of others and forget to self-care, self-love and support ourselves.
We often run around making sure everyone else is okay, driving from here to there, non-stop from the minute we get up till we drop in bed at night; and of course it is absolutely natural to be there for people who need support, it needs to be done. But, why does caring stop when it comes to ourselves? And what is the quality of care that we deliver when we are we forgetting about our own well-being and exhausting ourselves? And what sort of message is this putting out to others.
By absolutely no means, does this mean that you lock the door, put your feet up ‘sorry guys no can do’ - whilst our family needs support we are there, but it does mean to we need to ask ourselves the question what quality of care are we bringing to ourselves?
Are we deeply loving ourselves and self-caring, or are we forgetting about ourselves completely? We all know that old wise saying, you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.As hard as that may in a time such as passing over and grief, it is absolutely true.
We may think, but this person and their or my family need my support just now, and it’s true they do, but what quality of support and care are we truly bringing if we let ourselves get burnt-out, exhausted and or run down?
Some very simple steps to self-caring can be asking our selves questions like;
Am I making the space to go for a walk, to exercise[r taking a moment for me, to connect to my body, to feel, process everything that’s going on?
Do I have support around me? Am I supporting myself?
Do I have people to talk to or support me?
Other things we can ask ourselves is;
Am I taking care to dress myself for the type of weather it is? And what I feel will support me that? Now this may seem crazy at a moment in time like this, truth be told it’s these simple self-caring steps that really deeply support us.
Am I going to bed when I’m tired?
Am I eating well, lovingly preparing food that my body needs just now? Having it ready in the fridge or freezer or asking someone to help me with this? So that when I come home, there is something nourishing and supportive there to eat.
We all need support at various times in our lives. As the saying goes, no man is an island, that’s not why we are here, even if many of us have the belief ‘I can do it on my own’ – we can’t - we are here to support one another, to care, love, learn, to grow and evolve.
When it comes to work, some people may find they have no issue with going to their jobs, they may actually find it supportive, some people may need to take time off, and that is absolutely okay and allowed. Often what can happen is that we feel guilt creep in where we feel we have to be at work, we can’t let people down, what will other people think of me, but really that doesn’t matter. If we need to take space off for a families serious illness or bereavement then that is okay. Most work places have a good support network in place in instances like these, where they do care about your wellbeing and want to support you. As scary as it may be it’s important to open up and talk about how we feel and the support we feel you need.
What about self-care after someone passes over and we are experiencing trauma and grief?
For many of us this can be a really tough, vulnerable and fragile time of our life, for some the toughest thing we will ever go through, where all manners of emotions and feelings are coming up, anger, rage, frustration, sadness, joy, hurt, it’s important to not bury these or push them down. To let them come up, feel all there is to feel, as often in times like these it can trigger old hurts, down to when we were kids.
A hugely self-caring choice is to talk to people, to get support, sometimes people don’t want to talk about what’s going on because it may bring up too much for them, or people don’t want to go there and that’s fine. We need to respect people’s choices. We can always get professional support if needed, from a doctor, there is nothing wrong with taking medication to support us if that’s what is needed. It is a very self-loving and responsible choice, but we also need to address, ourselves or with support, what else is going on in our lives and how we can make self-loving and self-caring choices to help us, for example sleep restfully again. We may get support from psychotherapists, psychologists, family , friends and or our partner.
It’s doesn’t mean we have to open up about everything, it can be a 5 minute conversation or an hour, it’s the process of starting to talk about how we feel and not bury it all down or pushing it away, for it will only come up with greater force down the line. Sometimes all we need, more than anything is for someone to listen, not to try and tell us what to do, judge, fix things or offer solutions, but to truly listen.
And if we are someone who knows a person who is grieving, we may not always hear back from them straight away or ever, but they will absolutely feel our support if we truly mean it, and that can mean the world to someone. We should never be to frightened to ask someone honestly how they are feeling, and mention what’s happened. We will know if they want to speak about it or not, but often it’s that caring enough to ask that people can feel, as long as our words are truly genuine.
Alongside talking, medication if needed, or getting other forms of support, there are other ways to self-care and that can be things like committing to getting up everyday at a set time, going out for a walk, exercising, even if it’s 5 minutes to start with a couple of days a week, and building it up from there. Letting yourself cry, feel sad; express all that’s going on. Taking care with food, and that might be the last thing that we want to do, it can be all too easy to want to go for chocolate or take away food, but taking our time to eat well and prepare nourish foods reaps benefits to our body and wellbeing. And know that it will be a process, feelings can come up at the most unexpected times, for example walking through a supermarket. Grief won’t disappear over night, for some it may take months, others years, but knowing that there is nothing wrong with feeling sad, it’s normal, it’s natural and part of the process.
The most important thing is do not give up on yourself, to not let yourself go. It can be all to easy to let ourselves go, to get out of a routine, to not want to get up, the can’t be bothered getting dressed, eating properly or exercising, to shutting people out or pretending we are okay, this is often when depressive thoughts can kick in.
For us to heal, through really tough times like these, is to know that there is nothing wrong with feeling all that we do, feeling sad, part of us is human after all. The key is to get support, and know that we, and our body are deeply worth and deserve loving and caring for.
We see multitudes of articles on self-care, but what does it truly mean to self-care?
Self-care is not something we only do at the weekends, such as going for a pamper or to get our nails done, now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with either of them, but self care is about how we are with ourselves, and I would say more so our body, every single moment of every single day.
Many of us can see and feel the benefits caring for ourselves, how the self-caring choices we have and are effecting our lives in great ways. The changes in our body, how we look, feel, maybe we have lost some weight, how we dress, eat, walk, the knock on effect it has on our relationships, our family, our work, our energy levels, maybe we react less and so much more. It’s totally understandable we want to run around and tell the world, shout from the roof tops about how amazing we feel, nothing wrong with that go for it, why hold back how amazing we feel when someone asks, but what do we do when we see other people in our lives not taking care of themselves?
I have worked as a teacher for several years, in the primary, secondary and further education areas. I deeply care about people, and what I see is that our incredible teachers are tired, burnt-out, exhausted, stressed out and many are leaving the profession across the globe, Recent recruitment numbers show there is a significant drop in those applying for the profession, and there have been recent articles in the press about the levels of teacher mental health issues.