Self-care and Learning To Respect My Body

It’s only in recent years when I first began attending courses run by Universal Medicine and listening to Serge Benhayon present on the topic of Self-Love that I began to acknowledge that my body is actually something to be respected and treasured. When Serge talked about all the different ways in which we numb and override what our bodies are telling us, I could feel the truth of this – it all made perfect sense. I could see how some of the choices I had been making – such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs, staying up late, working till I was exhausted and certain food choices – were all ways of living that I considered normal.

I certainly had never considered these were all choices that I was indulging in to override and numb myself from feeling the fact that I had very little self-worth and didn’t feel that I deserved taking care of.

When I stopped these activities and gave myself space to truly feel my body, I became aware of a huge amount of hardness that I had built up in order to protect myself and to not feel what was going on in my body.

It was enlightening and empowering to hear that my body is a marker of truth: if I were to stop all of the indulgences, activities which serve no purpose other than to harm me, and all the ways in which I choose to numb and override what my body feels, then it would be my best friend – supporting me to live the Love that I know I am.

This understanding was a breakthrough for me although I still found it difficult to let go of certain aspects of how I was choosing to live that affected my body, keeping it in a state of tension.

I’m much more respectful of my body now compared to how I used to be but it’s taken me a long time to acknowledge the depth of disregard I’ve had and still have for my body.

My understanding of Universal Medicine’s teachings is that self-love is the key to healing and re-awakening the truth that lies within us all.

Self-love means living in a way that is respectful of myself – making loving choices for my body. This I understand, but I found this to be a simple concept that was/is a stretch too far for me. So long have I lived in disregard that is driven by a deep lack of self-worth, I found that I have a fair amount of resistance to bringing self-love into my life.

I’ve now had to be honest about this and bring myself back to basics – self-care was initially for me a more real and appropriate starting point – and even then I didn’t find it easy to change my approach to the level of self-care I had for myself.

Simple things such as showering, bathing, the way I brushed my hair, the things I chose to eat and drink were already a part of my daily routine of self-care, however when I chose to bring more presence and a deeper level of care to these everyday activities I noticed just how much I lacked bringing any true quality to these moments.

I now have a growing awareness of the choices I’m making on a daily basis which keep me feeling racy – avoiding the stillness that I have felt at times within me. I find myself in a momentum of making these kinds of choices but my body is telling me loud and clear that it’s not happy. It’s uncomfortable but interesting to observe the patterns where I’m still disregarding my body because of external pressures.

For example, when I put pressure on myself at work to get things done, it’s so easy to skip breaks and shorten my lunch break: these are opportune moments when I can check in with myself and re-connect with my body, and by not giving myself this time I feel exhaustion and tension when I do finally stop.

Also, wanting to please others and not honouring how I feel is another great way to deplete myself. What I used to see as others putting pressure on me, I now see that it’s actually me putting the pressure on me to please!

Also I see situations that I’ve put myself in which reflect the beliefs I have about myself, people and life – these all affect my body and I’m learning to observe and slowly change the way I am in these situations.

I’ve observed how believing that I’m not good enough brings in thoughts, people and situations that will confirm that belief.

I’ve become more aware of how I hold myself back from expressing what I feel for fear of what others may think of me! When I see these patterns and feel the stifling effect they have on how I choose to express I can then stop and say ‘no’.

The choice to be true to me, and my body, can at times be a little uncomfortable but I can also make it fun – enjoying the ever-unfolding journey… when I choose to listen to and respect my body!

With great appreciation to Serge Benhayon and all of the inspiring practitioners who have consistently shown me that there is another way to be.

by Heather Hardy, Workshop Manager, Worthing, UK 

Further reading:
Before and After My Self Love Program – Forever Unfolding the Real Me
Healthy Body Healthy Mind

833 thoughts on “Self-care and Learning To Respect My Body

  1. Because we are all one and interconnected with one another, the care we develop for ourselves will be equally available for all.

      1. Indeed fiinacochran01, we either are an inspiration for others to develop taking care for themselves too and in that evolve or we allow the others to stay in the same indulgence as we do. That is in fact our responsibility in life, to live in such a way that we are an inspiration not only for ourselves but for all the people we are with and are connected to.

  2. Thank you Heather! I enjoyed reading your sharing again and reacquainting myself with your wisdom. I can see it has been a long haul for me to self nurture and this I know has been through my giving myself away to doing for others and not self first then the rest naturally follows. Love is where we learn to do this.

  3. Self-love is the key to healing and re-awakening the truth that lies within us all. This is absolutely true Heather, as when we choose to stay with our bodies and listen to its constant promptings and honour them, our bodies not only feel joyfull, they are so much healthier and vital, and this is our natural way.

  4. Heather what a great blog! Thanks for all you have shared. You’ve given me awareness today of how I also choose activities that make me racy and disturb my own stillness. For me the resistance has been in admitting responsibility for where I am at, and allowing myself to therefore take responsibility where I would like to be at! It all boils down to observing the cause and effect of our choices, and as you say – making it fun.

  5. So true Heather. When we start to treat ourselves and our body with more love and appreciation it reveals a deeper level of love that we can live.

  6. So long have I lived in disregard that is driven by a deep lack of self-worth, I found that I have a fair amount of resistance to bringing self-love into my life. I recognise this too and started with the baby steps of self-care and self-nurture which has continually refined and which has supported me greatly to love and accept myself.

  7. ‘bring more presence and a deeper level of care to these everyday activities I noticed just how much I lacked bringing any true quality to these moments’. A lot to ponder on here……

  8. Thank you Heather, for showing us that self- care and building a relationship with your body is never ending, and at times can be very revealing of what ways that we had not chosen to love our bodies before. So beautiful example for us to see and if so recognize ourselves in…

  9. Everything changes when we consider the quality we are bringing rather than simply functioning through lifes daily tasks and seeking a reward or sensation.

  10. “Self-love is the key to healing and re-awakening the truth that lies within us all.” Being respectful and gentle with how we care for ourselves brings a whole new awareness to our quality in movements and this in turn awakens a new level of love for who we are. The reflection on offer from this quality is a shining beacon of inspiration for others too. Self love opens up a door to connection and one that is so much fun to explore.

  11. Thank you for the inspiration to look at the quality in which I go about my self-care routine and how easily it can slip into being perfunctory but also to remember to have fun with it and how that brings in a lightness that has been missing from the way I have cared for myself for so long.

  12. There is an old saying ‘ you are your greatest asset’ which is funny because the last thing we focus on is ourselves, we have been conditioned to be selfless and think of others, but that clearly does not make sense as if we are not supporting ourselves how can we support another. Since turning this around and establishing a self loving and caring relationship with myself, I am naturally a reflection of self care and self love to everyone around, which can support more than all the assistance you can give, as it empowers another to support themselves

  13. Thank you for your honesty here Heather – and for presenting a way of initiation in which many have walked, and many more will walk.

  14. When we feel into the quality of what we are bringing in every movement we make in our lives, we naturally bring a deeper love to our presence and consider the responsibility we have to humanity

  15. I recognised myself in so much of this blog Heather. Bringing self care and then self love into my life has me examining the quality I live in. This has made a huge difference to how I feel in my body and the joy I feel. Realising that the way I was living and thinking about myself, when it was negative, allowed all sorts of things to reinforce the low self esteem, and the opposite is true. When I am really loving myself things that reinforce the loveliness come my way.

  16. Wanting to please others and not honour how I feel is a great way to deplete myself.. I can relate to that one Heather. I’m learning that pretty much everything I’ve ever done has been for recognition.. admitting this to myself has been pretty huge as it plays out in so much – the way I am with people, in relationships, at work.. but once felt and acknowledged, it’s harder to ignore – it actually feels uncomfortable in my body, which helps to explain why I’ve resisted connecting to my body for so long – not wanting to have to change my behaviours and give up the need for recognition.

    1. Seeking recognition is very common, I see this play out in myself and in others, and I agree, it does feel very uncomfortable. It feels false, empty and needy. I find the more I appreciate myself and value what I bring, seeking recognition is no longer active.

  17. It seems such a simple process doesn’t it…self care…but it is not something that is very understood from the small nuances that affect the body in big ways. “although I still found it difficult to let go of certain aspects of how I was choosing to live that affected my body, keeping it in a state of tension.” I found the more I listened to my body the more I noticed how things created that tension. An example might be how I showered, quick, rough and thinking of what I had to do, or with presence, being gentle with my body and having my thoughts in the shower to match my actions…conscious presence.

  18. I can very much relate to your blog Heather. I too used to deplete my energy by doing things to please others and avoiding listening to my body. I used to push myself a lot, but now, I too am learning to self-care and learning to respect and honour my body. It is the best guide for me when I am willing to listen and willing to say no to things that doesn’t honour or support me to be who I am. Self-care and self-love truly supports me to be myself and to express what feels true.

  19. It is so obvious to me now that I can only be as loving and respectful to others as I am to myself, but when I was younger for some reason I did not see it that way. I was quite uncaring with myself and thought I was being caring with others – what an illusion I lived in. Strange how some people think it is selfish to think of yourself whereas in truth it is incredibly selfish and irresponsible not to take care of yourself!

  20. I’m glad that you point out how taking brakes at work or through out your day can be a time to reconnect and in that moment you are able to feel what ever might have come up through out the day. If we just push through, we can get a back log of exhaustion that can be difficult to catch up from.

  21. Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, staying up late, working till exhaustion, choosing certain foods to eat is as normal as getting sick by doing all of that. ‘Normality’-land is our worst creation; one that is killing us.

  22. Its amazing the changes that happen when we apply more care, conscious presence and love to the things we do for ourselves and others on a daily basis – life transforming.

  23. It is almost unbelievable when realise just how much we measure our worth from the world outside ourselves through relationships, the things we do, the lifestyles we choose. And all the while we override, forgo and disregard the one relationship that only ever reflects the truth of who we are, and guide us to live the immeasurable and uncontainable Love that we actually are. Thank you Heather for sharing so beautifully how this is possible, how through self-care and self-love a path of self-discovery is revealed, through which we can truly begin to live being ourselves.

    1. I cannot underestimate the power of appreciation to ourselves and towards others yet even with this knowing I have hit a brick wall in allowing myself to deepen my relationship with appreciation especially in the finer moments in my day. We are constantly being offered moments to evolve and it is a choice as to whether I choose these moments or not.

  24. “Body is actually something to be respected and treasured” – this knowing makes a huge difference in the way we care for our body, what and how we choose to eat. I see many people reflecting to me that we could be ticking the boxes with regard to ‘healthy living’ but it doesn’t mean that it comes from a place of self-love and this is something I am catching myself in, and my body does know the difference.

  25. When I have disregarded myself eg.not willing to feel every thing around me so I numb myself by eating too much food it begs to question the reason why… why do I not want to deepen the love for myself or why do I not want to say ‘yes’ and feel that I am worthy or deserve more love that is within my body. There is always more; it is a forever deepening and to accept and appreciate where I am today is key.

  26. ‘What I used to see as others putting pressure on me, I now see that it’s actually me putting the pressure on me to please!’ Heather, what a great revelation this is – reading it I realised that for as long as I make life about other people putting pressure on me I will avoid looking at the truth that I am putting pressure on myself and I shall miss an opportunity to stop the disregard and deepen the self love.

  27. I very much relate to pushing yourself at work when there is pressure. “What I used to see as others putting pressure on me, I now see that it’s actually me putting the pressure on me to please!”
    I am realizing that I am my own worst enemy to pressure, Being the boss, I actually do not give myself the same love and care that I give everybody else in the work place.

  28. if we can accept that we have part in us that wants to abuse the body for self gain and stimulation, we can observe this and say “no I am in charge of my life, you, out of the driving seat” .

  29. Hello Heather and great blog. It’s interesting, if we are able to see that we don’t or aren’t being self caring or taking a deep care of ourselves that would mean we already have a marker within us on what this actually is? I mean otherwise there would be no need to change. As you say our ‘body is the marker of all truth’ and so this would mean we make choices to actually make sure our body remains quiet. How you move and how and what you eat would be a couple of major factors in keeping your body quiet but then as you are showing at some point there is a noise that keeps growing. I enjoyed what you say about self care and agree. Setting up a rhythm or routine that you know with certainty will support those time where we walk away from stopping or being still. It would seem very obvious to me the link in keeping ourselves busy as a means to keep ourselves away from something known within us, also as you say. Create moments or stop points in our day as a consistent thing and you can’t help but listen to what your body is saying. The outside world would have you do anything while the inside world would have you do what is true.

  30. “I’ve observed how believing that I’m not good enough brings in thoughts, people and situations that will confirm that belief” . . . yes so true, Heather, we really do set ourselves up to confirm our beliefs about our self.

  31. That is so true and right Heather : ‘The choice to be true to me, and my body, can at times be a little uncomfortable but I can also make it fun – enjoying the ever-unfolding journey… when I choose to listen to and respect my body!’
    We often see it as a harsh thing or a struggle, but this only comes from the resistance we have build up all these years that make us believe that it is a harsh thing or one of struggle. Whilst, actually when we listen to our body, our Soul and our Heart, we know that being connected to our body and taking care of it well so, is actually the greatest joy! Way more joyous than poisoning it!

  32. ‘Also, wanting to please others and not honouring how I feel is another great way to deplete myself. What I used to see as others putting pressure on me, I now see that it’s actually me putting the pressure on me to please!’ A great realisation and one that never comes too late. How easy it is to blame other people or situations when the responsibility simply lies with us.

  33. I agree Heather in bringing more presence and a deeper level of care with everything we do we learn to respect our body and this is the key to truly cherishing and nurturing ourselves.

  34. Thank you for this great reminder, Heather, that it’s not only just those ‘obvious’ choices such as drinking alcohol or eating food that doesn’t support us that affect our body, but the thoughts and behaviour, the way we communicate with others that are not true to us also have detrimental effect on the way we feel in our body.

  35. ‘When Serge talked about all the different ways in which we numb and override what our bodies are telling us, I could feel the truth of this.’ Me too! It is soooo incredibly amazing that Serge was the first person to ever make clear to me that our bodies are actually worth noticing. To this day I’m baffled about this. How is it that I cruised (so I thought) through 28 years of life without ever considering that I was carrying around an entire body that required love and acceptance and should not be abused in the way I was abusing it.
    How on earth are we not taught this at home first and at school second? It’s simply mind blowing!

  36. Self care is based on the quality of respect and regard we hold for our body. Self love begins to initiate our commitment to nourishing our actual quality of being.

  37. “I certainly had never considered these were all choices that I was indulging in to override and numb myself from feeling the fact that I had very little self-worth and didn’t feel that I deserved taking care of.” This is huge Heather, yet seems to affect huge swathes of the population. Anything that is’t love – which heals – is harming to us, our bodies and thus a reflection that this is ok out to everyone around us. it would seem that it is ‘normal’ in today’s society to not care deeply for ourselves.

  38. At one point this did support us but now a blog like this written today would need more depth. These comments support and the blog is still great don’t get me wrong. It’s just that it leads us to see life still in parts and not see the whole thing as one, almost like you do xyz and everything will improve which is true to a point. But it’s a constant unfolding, there is no end point and no place this doesn’t apply. In other words don’t just look for a fix because one part of your life isn’t that great, look into everything with the same eyes and then when you feel it’s better, look again and then again and again. This isn’t a task but more of a key to how not to let things slip or drop again. At times we don’t dedicate fully to the healing ongoing. We see an improvement and stop and then if it comes again we just bring it back to the good or better. Life and how things are brings those that can see it all at this point more responsibility. Not more in a sense compared to someone else but more as in relationship to someone else. Just like our life isn’t true to live in parts so too it is so with everyone else. What they choose isn’t our part but what we choose, the depth and reflection to everything else is.

  39. I am realising that observing myself and others is such a self-loving thing to do especially in my work. The behaviour of wanting to please another and hence disregard myself I can slip into but as I observe this behaviour and clock it something changes. I seem to be aware of how I am feeling and what is going on within me and another. It is indeed work in progress.

  40. I read this feeling so much pain in my body. What I have been learning is that the worst thing I can do to my body is not express who I am in truth. That is most painful. Devastatingly so.

  41. Hearing Serge Benhayon present that our body is a marker of truth makes so much sense and yet it is something that is widely unrecognised in our world. It should be something that is in the foundation of our education system and our way of being, something that we all support each other with. So often the mind alone is glorified as being the seat of our ‘intelligence’ but in this we dismiss the vast and harmonious wisdom we have access to via our whole body.

  42. It is so easy to go through life ticking boxes and seemingly think we are doing well, however when what we do void of a true quality, we can end up doing more harm than good… and ultimately deny ourselves the beauty of the presence and stillness we offer each task, feeding us back what we deserve.

    1. The more I build a connection to my body and what I’m actually feeling, the more the auto pilot way of being just doesn’t cut it anymore. Stillness is starting to feel like somewhere I want to be instead of avoid, because with that stillness and spaciousness there’s a clarity and settlement.

  43. “I’ve observed how believing that I’m not good enough brings in thoughts, people and situations that will confirm that belief” this is so true and just confirms that we are the masters of our own destiny.

  44. When we start to let go of the hardness that we have built up it can be quite confronting … but it is so worth it , because underneath is the tenderness that we all truly are.

  45. Self care is one thing, to build self care and be consistent with it is absolutely another. There are days I do and days I don’t and it’s interesting to observe how on the days I don’t I slip into ‘I can’t be bothered and disregard is so much easier than self care on those moments’.

  46. It is astounding to observe how being abusive to the body can be the normal way live for so many people. It is the perfect vicious circle: by abusing, and burning up the body, we don’t feel anymore what kind of harm we are doing the body.

  47. Living from the mind creates a way of being that is abusive and harming for our bodies there is no marker of truth to refer to so we keep going until the body breaks down, learning to incorporate self-care in our daily living allows us to connect to the delicacy and preciousness of our bodies that needs to be treated as such.

  48. There has been a sense today of how much it is our choice to enjoy our lives. Being tender and loving has allowed me to feel the beauty and grace I am. It is so easy to enjoy this.

  49. It’s really quite incredible to consider but true: it has taken a presentation by Serge Benhayon to initiate self respect, care and love for myself. These days this is something I now understand while lovely to learn and develop at any stage and age, there is great awareness that starting form birth this is a very loving way for us all to live.

  50. Feeling the pressure from others, is always us putting pressure on ourselves to please. Not to discount the fact that of course others can impose pressure, but we only feel it when we choose to take it on and then try to meet an expectation for the sole purpose of need to be accepted, like or recognised.

    1. And that’s why relationships- whether they are partners, friends or colleagues – are so vital, because they reflect to us exactly where we’re at and all the expectations we place on ourselves of who we think we need to be. It’s so easy to blame others for ‘their stuff’ of their expectations – but what about our own, first? How are we already judging the other or needing them to be or express to us so that we can feel okay?

  51. What I am finding is that self-care and self-love is not something you can complete and leave behind. It constantly evolves as I learn more about my true self and what care that being requires.

    1. Yes, the tick box approach to self care – and everything- is pretty perfunctory and superficial. It’s got me through life relatively unscathed and unnoticed, but completely disconnected and reliant on the satisfaction of completing something, rather than the joy of living life with all of me in it.

  52. To bring respect and dignity back to the body opens up a complete new way to be and take care for our bodies. Instead of only looking to the outer gestures of the body, we do connect more deeply and with that with an intelligence that is far more supportive to us then the thinking mind, which is able to allow abuse to the body instead.

  53. You raise something vital here Heather, we often go through the motions in our self care, not willing to give ourselves the space to actually deepen our relationship with us. And when we do we change the simplest things into something that truly supports us.

  54. Heather, you have presented a golden key for us here – it is low self worth that often drives us to a lack of care for ourselves. So the answer is not to force ourselves to care more as this is impossible – well, you could say we will tick the box and do certain things or not do certain things, however if the true energy of caring for self is not there, then these actions will not have lasting effects. However, if we were to work on self worth and the fact that deep within it is about awakening the true value and respect and care that we have of ourselves then from there naturally follows the actions to care for oneself deeply. The same could be said for ‘healthy’ eating, for losing weight etc, for when the deep value, respect and care and worth is awakened, then there is no boundary to how we can support ourselves. You have revealed a golden key indeed! Thank you Heather.

  55. ‘It was enlightening and empowering to hear that my body is a marker of truth: if I were to stop all of the indulgences, activities which serve no purpose other than to harm me, and all the ways in which I choose to numb and override what my body feels, then it would be my best friend – supporting me to live the Love that I know I am.’ A great reminder how we can either be our greatest friend or our worst enemy.

  56. Self care can already be a big step for many people – self-love is too big a step to take. Self-care meaning the essential things like taking a bath, getting to be on time, not drinking alcohol and taking a break when you feel to.

    1. For me self care is about being honest with myself as well as all the practical things I can do. The practical stuff only goes so far- if I’m doing it to check boxes and any form of trying to be something, then it doesn’t work at all and is not self caring.

  57. Until I truly cared and continued to deepened the care for myself, I can say now honestly that self-care is one of the most exquisite and precious things we can give back to ourselves, in fact, it is something very natural that we deserve, it should not be anything special, but in acknowledging the fact we have left it fallow for so so long, it is a joy to resume this deeply natural and joyous part of re-claiming ourselves.

  58. What I observed that once I increase the level of self love for myself, than also new layers of disregard surface in my body. For example: At this moment I am doing the exact same things – doing things and not being conscious present – that half a year ago did not bothered or felt harmful one bit, but now feel painful in my body.

  59. ‘So long have I lived in disregard that is driven by a deep lack of self-worth, I found that I have a fair amount of resistance to bringing self-love into my life.’ Me too Heather and I agree, taking it back to basics is the only way forward when self-abuse has been normalised within us to the extent we no longer recognise it or the hammering our bodies and being are taking.

  60. As you have highlighted Heather, it is so freeing, enlightening and empowering to know and that our body is the marker of truth. Our responsibility is to listen and respond.

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