Listening To My Body And Honouring My Feelings

Recently I began a self-care experiment by going to bed at 9pm for 9 days. I had been inspired to do so by fellow students of Universal Medicine who had also done the same. I initiated this because I had recognised I had been tired for a long time: I would be feeling exhausted by the end of the day but then in the evening I noticed how I would easily become stimulated again and distracted from feeling the exhaustion… I would then get involved in doing something that would result in my going to bed later than I had planned.

I felt how making a commitment to going to bed on time had a direct effect on how I felt the next day.

I would feel much more vital and joyful. I had previously been wondering why I had been feeling so low and lacked any real interest during the day. Simply the fact of having more energy changed that around. I also loved the feeling of the commitment to myself, to care for myself and listen to my body’s signals.

A few days into my experiment I began to note that I started to be a little less consistent with going to bed on time. It was like the excitement of starting something new had faded and the initial improvements in my wellbeing and vitality were becoming ‘normal’.

Even though it was a great start to make a commitment to go to bed on time, I could feel that I also had to look at the way I was living during my day; it was not just about the fact that I did not sleep enough.

I realised that I could no longer live in a way that made me exhausted. I knew I had to develop a routine that honoured my body during my day – one that supported me to be ready for bed and not still be running with everything I had done that day.

In the past I would often ignore my body and override how I felt. This could be because I didn’t want to offend people or make them feel uncomfortable, or because I didn’t want to appear different, or simply because I chose to ‘push through’ to get things done and not listen to my body.

Recently I had planned to spend the day studying but then I got an email about a meeting. In the past I would just go to the meeting and override what I initially felt but this time I chose to honour my feelings and decided not to go.

Honouring this feeling made space to do what I really felt was needed that day, which was much more supportive for me, and for everyone.

That same day my dad asked me if I would like to go to the supermarket with him. I really enjoy spending time with my dad, but I could feel I actually needed some time doing the work I had planned. I had to make a seemingly difficult choice – I didn’t want to let my dad down but also did not want to override my own feelings.

I could feel how I didn’t want to make my dad feel lonely or rejected and that I had almost gone with him to not feel that. I talked about it with my dad and it turned out he was absolutely fine with going on his own.

At the end of the day, by virtue of not pleasing everyone throughout the day, I felt full of energy, but also very still and ready for bed. I deeply enjoyed the beauty and stillness I could feel in my body when I went to bed early – such a joy to do! When I woke up early the next morning, I still had that same exquisite feeling of stillness and vitality in my body… something I deeply enjoy.

I realise that I have been letting the outside world run my life for a long time. I would override my feelings and go with what everyone around me told me to do. By changing this behaviour I began to realise that I had learnt this as a child: I did not want to hurt anyone by following my own feelings, or by being amazing even if others were not feeling amazing etc. This made me feel uncomfortable!

Paying attention to these little feelings and honouring them is the key to staying with myself and feeling vital throughout my day.

I can now feel how choosing to live in a way that doesn’t honour my body makes me feel exhausted and tired, whereas living in a way that consistently honours my body and my feelings I have more energy to do whatever is needed. I can feel and appreciate how extremely self-empowering and self-caring it is to follow and honour my own feelings.

I am forever thankful for, and inspired by, the work of Serge Benhayon, Natalie Benhayon and Universal Medicine, who have presented the fact that life is about honouring our body, re-connecting to its innate wisdom and living from there.

by Lieke van Haastrecht, Student, Age 24, Ghent, Belgium

Further Reading:
Insomnia – My Sleep Disorder or My Daily Dis-order?
What’s All The Fuss About Self-Care?
Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes You Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

862 thoughts on “Listening To My Body And Honouring My Feelings

  1. Thank you for sharing your wisdom Lieke. I got a lot from what you have shared, and much of which I can take into my own awareness of how I am being throughout my day, honouring my own body more and in turn all others.

  2. Just completed a 9 day program of going to bed early as well. It felt really powerful to take charge of this part of my life and not just let things happen so that it’s inevitable that I am in bed late. I do life and I am in charge. Powerful. And there was no perfection, as I wasn’t in bed before 9pm every single day. But boy oh boy does my body loves it when I am in bed before 9pm. That feeling I treasure and take as a marker into the next 9 day program. Thanks Lieke for inspiring me!

    1. Very true Willem. It is not always about being perfect and sticking strictly without reason to our program, it is about the commitment to ourselves that is what brings us the most and does serve us in other areas in our lives as well.

  3. That distraction at the end of the day is a killer. Whether its wrapped up as some ‘me time’ a reward for having worked so hard, or just busying ourselves till the last possible minute. It exposes to me that I ‘reward’ myself by checking out, or even giving up at the end of the day… having seen it, its not what I choose any more!

  4. Hmmm, its getting close to 9pm, it’s 8.30. Do I carry on and write this comment or do I prepare for bed? Wow, actually done in the space of a minute. Bed will feel very yummy tonight because I am stopping now and allowing time to prepare for it. Thank you Lieke.

  5. The world teaches us that it is selfish to follow our own feelings and on the whole we buy into this untruth. There is no selfishness in following our own feelings, and indeed if we suppress them instead to please another or to avoid conflict, we guarantee that we lose ourselves.

    1. I agree Doug, whenever we have placed another before ourselves we have separated and disconnected and then there is no love whatsoever no matter what or how much is done. Placing another before ourselves avoids responsibility. It is an utter illusion, a complete lie and what feels like a very old behaviour of mine which with increasing awareness I am beginning to let go of.

      1. So true Caroline, we are all equal and to place ourselves less than another does exactly what it says on the tin, it ensures we are less even though in truth we cannot be. I agree it avoids the responsibility of standing in our true power and therefore supports and condones all the untruth in the world.

  6. ‘I realise that I have been letting the outside world run my life for a long time.’ I can relate to this Lieke and I am aware, although I stay much more with myself, this tendency to do things for others instead of feeling my own rhythm is still something I can do very easily. Observing my choices has helped me a lot to become more honest and self loving.

  7. “by virtue of not pleasing everyone throughout the day, I felt full of energy” This has been something I am experiencing more and more and it really came back to me while reading this blog. The more I focus on how I feel to be at any given time (or really every chosen time) I feel less drained and more energised. Thank you for this reminder Lieke.

  8. Beautiful to feel how you honoured what your body was communicating to you Lieke. I can relate to much of what you said. If we keep listening to how our body is feeling and not thinking or distracting ourselves with our mind we can return to living with true vitality in connection with our body’s natural rhythm.

  9. More often than not, when I get to bed at a sensible time like 9, I bounce out of bed the following morning… and its such a gorgeous time of day early in the morning. So quiet, so still… and I feel fresh. This is juxtaposed to the extra few hours I used to get by staying up late and pushing through some piece of work or checking out in front of the TV.

  10. This line struck home Lieke ‘by virtue of not pleasing everyone throughout the day, I felt full of energy,’ and is something I’m looking at right now, as I feel and see what it is to feel what is needed rather than just fall into what is happening around me, (something I can very easily do), so you’ve inspired me to go deeper with this and play some more, thank you.

  11. “Paying attention to these little feelings and honouring them is the key to staying with myself and feeling vital throughout my day.” It really is this simple, we don’t need sugar, caffeine or carbs for energy, just like we don’t need the latest gossip or drama or event for life to be interesting and full. All we need to do is follow our feelings and the energy to be in and enjoy life is there for us. Thank you Lieke.

  12. Thank you Lieke… I also sometimes have a very intense stretch of work… And what I have found is that if I take just one day off and allow myself to really sink, just to really allow myself to feel the tiredness, to not push at all, to not try and boost myself with sugar or carbohydrates or anything else, then I am able to recharge… It actually feels miraculous sometimes.

    1. I know that cjames. I can sometimes get on a marry go round of being tired not wanting to feel it, eating sugar and keeping busy to get everything done and not get any rest and keep feeling tired for days. As you say it is so great to just stop and feel how tired I am and not try to avoid it – even if unpleasant at that time – is very regenerative.

  13. Somebody told me a couple of years ago “Make it one billion % about Willem” – I heart it, but did not quite grasp it and certainly did not embody it. Why? I was still ruled by ideals like ” you shouldn’t be selfish” meaning that you get yourself out of the way at the expense of yourself. That ideal blocked me. Now I know that I cannot be there other people in full, if I do not make it 1 billion % about ME first. So nothing selfish in that. It is a total paradigm shift.

    1. Brilliant, what a gift to receive this message from someone. It is something we can all take on-board, connect to ourselves first then exhaustion would be a thing of the past.

  14. It is so easy to do, to get caught up with what we think we ‘should’ do and engage in emotions, as the world outside of ourselves is constantly asking us to override what we feel. Yet as you have described, I also have experienced that living in this disregarding way is utterly exhausting. Developing a loving and honoring relationship with our bodies is key to living in connection to ourselves, which will guide us to make choices that support us to live with the vitally we deserve to live with, bringing far greater quality of presence to all that we do.

  15. ‘Listening To My Body And Honouring My Feelings’ this is something we are not taught as children and adults but how vital is it to do? From what you’ve shared it shows that this can support us to eliminate exhaustion. Also letting go of trying to please others is a huge one, I can relate to feeling exhausted and resentful when I don’t listen to my body and push myself to do things to please others. This doesn’t support anyone, everything is then done with absolutely no quality if it is done under the energy of exhaustion and, or resentment. Yet, when we listen and honour our body, everything we do comes with quality, because we are more able to connect to ourselves and work with vitality instead of exhaustion.

  16. “I can now feel how choosing to live in a way that doesn’t honour my body makes me feel exhausted and tired, whereas living in a way that consistently honours my body and my feelings I have more energy to do whatever is needed. I can feel and appreciate how extremely self-empowering and self-caring it is to follow and honour my own feelings.”
    Absolutely everything changes when we consider the responsibility we have when choosing the quality we are bringing to all that we are in our expression.

  17. Living our lives for other people is actually about us living our lives for us: we think we’re doing things because others want us to do them, but often we’re doing them because we want to please them and don’t want to hurt them.. it’s a subtle form of controlling our relationship with others, controlling our environment so that we can feel okay. When we truly honour what we can feel, life starts to change. We’re not dependent on anything outside of ourselves to feel good about ourselves – how empowering is that, to realise and actually feel that everything we’ve ever wanted to feel, is already inside us?

  18. Developing a rhythm of going to bed – not early but when my body reminds me it is time to rest – has given me a vitality that I did not have when I used to stay awake to conform to the ‘normal’ time for bed. My normal is when my body is settling down for repose, which is usually around 9 pm.

  19. For a 24-year-old woman to have such a deep perspective on her day and body is very inspiring. Finding ways to refine our choices so we are honouring ourselves in a path, I continue to discover and unfold.

  20. I can relate her Lieke to that false ‘second wind’ that you get at night when you are tired and your body is asking you to go to bed but we then find something stimulating to get involved in whether that be coffee, something sweet to eat, TV, a conversation, the internet, social media, a project etc and before you know it you have stayed up later than your true bed time for that day, based on your body’s rhythm. It does take a certain amount of discipline and steady loving commitment to myself to not fall into these things in the evening and stay true to what my body is asking for.

  21. I too can relate to putting others before me because I did not want to hurt them which led to feelings of resentment in my body. I have come to realise that whenever I do not listen to my body and ignore it I am abusing it and that hurts.

  22. Hello Lieke and I have taken this study with myself, “I felt how making a commitment to going to bed on time had a direct effect on how I felt the next day.” If I miss the mark for bed then it definitely carries into my next day. There is no concrete set time as depending on what I am doing it may change. I know to listen to my body though and when I am at home naturally around the 9pm mark is the call to go to bed. Most of the time there is an 8 in there and when I am in bed around this time I wake up early, feeling fresh. If I walk past that bedtime feeling for whatever reason then the next morning I wake up feeling a little fuzzy in the head almost like what I hangover used to feel like. It’s not that big a deal but in me I know and it takes a little shine off my day and if this was to go on for a week well I wouldn’t be the same person.

    1. Hey Ray, I experience the same almost hangover like experience when I go to bed too late. It doesn’t need to affect my whole day but it does mean I have to work twice as hard in the morning to make sure the day is as amazing as it could be.

      1. This is usually a reflection for my day or to say it another way if you wake not feeling fresh and vibrant have a look into the day before. Just like the choice to walk past a time I feel to go to bed, the choice just doesn’t happen it may have a momentum in the day just gone or possibly longer. The trick is to put all the pressure or focus on the choice or the time we made the choice when in fact any choice is a result of how we have walked prior. In other words there is a way of living that supports you to be in a way that listens, hears and honours what you feel. In this way you don’t necessarily make a choice like we perceive it now, it’s more you live with a true deep care and any choice is just a natural extension of that care. No more pictures of lights out at a certain time your whole day is working towards it. I don’t mean it’s a focus but it brings in that it’s all one life, every choice has it’s eye on what’s needed for everything and not just reacting to the moment in front of it.

  23. This is inspiring Lieke, it is the rhythms we get caught in that keeps us up at night. Choosing to break this, by making a commitment to be in bed on time, I can see will bring a deep change in how we are in the day. Making choices to truly nurture ourselves is the key.

  24. The more I understand about my body and exhaustion, the more apparent it becomes that the number of hours of sleep I get is not the only factor contributing to tiredness – far from it. There’s so much more to tiredness and exhaustion than we’ve been led to believe. Preparing for the quality of our sleep begins during the day. If we’re spending our entire day feeling tension and anxiety, holding onto things, not expressing or getting involved in complication, then it makes sense that this disturbance is going to be felt in our body at night: it doesn’t just disappear just because we’re lying down and telling ourselves to go to bed. There is no ‘off moment’ where we turn the lights off and shut down – how we are in our day is something we carry with us into our sleep.

  25. Exhaustion is a deceptive thing. You feel tired all the time and constantly behind where you think you should be so you stay up that little bit too late teach each night trying to catch up…. and going to bed later than your body needs you to only feeds the exhaustion monster all the more.

    1. Yes the cycle of exhaustion we could call it! Listening to our bodies is the only way to get out of this unsupportive cycle because I keep finding that my body knows more than mind in what needs to still be done, and what not before bed.

  26. We don’t realise the extent of energy we can give away by not following and listening to ourselves. I used to think that I was tired and exhausted because I wasn’t getting enough sleep or I wasn’t eating properly and while I’m not saying that these two factors do not have an impact because in some cases they do I have come to realise that when I got exhausted it was usually because I had not listened to myself and pushed myself during the day or I had listened to another and not followed what I felt supported me. It could be very surprising how exhausted I got listening and following another with no respect for myself.

    1. Yes it is interesting how we can get so exhausted from doing what others like instead of what we feel to do ourselves. I thought for long that I did not do this but actually I am doing this. It now often happens when I am avoiding my own power in making choices and therefore constantly looking at what others are doing and going with them. Which is silly if you think about it because we ourselves can only truly know ourselves what we need to do to grow and support us.

  27. In making a commitment to listening and responding to how our body is truly feeling we align to our body’s natural rhythm that communicates very clearly what is truly supportive, nurturing and nourishing for our body and what is not so that rather than overriding what we feel and exhausting ourselves we are able to build a true way of living with a natural vitality.

  28. Lieke I can so relate to your sharing, lately my bed time has slipped because I allow myself to get caught in distracting myself with things that need to be done, which could all wait until the morning. I am now back to going to bed by 9pm and appreciate how much better my body feels in the morning and throughout the day because I am now being respectful and honouring its natural flow.

  29. Clearly the results of committing to going to bed consistently early whilst applying honesty to how you live throughout the day… and honouring what you feel, is incredibly powerful and worth the effort…. so I’m inspired to give this experiment a go for myself.

  30. “Paying attention to these little feelings and honouring them is the key to staying with myself and feeling vital throughout my day.” Little things add up to make bigger things – so by being consistent in one area of our life we are enabling this consistency to flow into other aspects of life too.

  31. Thank you Lieke being in bed by 9pm is something I allow myself to struggle with and get distracted from on a regular basis and it is definitely a reflection of how I have been in my day that I do not value myself enough to be committed to going to bed at the time that supports me. I have often chosen to eat something that takes me away from feeling so that I push through the tiredness and pay the price the next day. I have been aware of this for a long time and it has improved but there is a stubborn streak that is not willing to go deeper and really look at why I continually override what my body is telling me. Feeling inspired to commit to 9 days of being in bed by 9pm and to be open to what unfolds for me during that time.

  32. Yes honouring my body and my feelings is the key. Being willing to feel what gets in the way of this and still commit to it despite where anyone else is at is actually crucial not just for us but for them. Feeling the truth of this on a deeper level this morning and the ways I have so often sabotaged myself by going into sympathy with another and how this does not serve anyone.

  33. It felt amazing coming back to read this again, Lieke, as I was able to feel deeper honesty of where I was at – that I am resisting commitment. Lately, I have not been taking care of myself as well as I would have liked to – coming home late from work, feeling agitated and a bit resentful because I did want to come home earlier and there’s lots to take care of at home, and needing to have ‘my’ time but instead stimulating myself with food and thinking ahead of what I have to do the next day etc. and I was thinking it was because of the circumstances, but as I read your sharing, I could feel how I was not willing to look at every corner of my life and take full responsibility, leaving a bit of leeway to let off the pressure so that I could use busy-ness as distraction. Even though I was busy doing things I was not committed to myself or to any activities I was involved in. I can feel my reluctance.

  34. Not listening to my feelings is exhausting. Listening to my feelings is energising. But when we start to live and be more vital those who haven’t chosen to do the same get upset. I feel this reaction is something I am still learning to accept and thankfully the body tells me that toning down my expression is not listening to how I feel to be.

    1. Yes it’s a big one to accept. I still am amazed how many people question their friends when they start to make more self loving choices like eating healthy, going to bed earlier and not drinking alcohol.

    2. Thank you Leigh, a great line “Not listening to my feelings is exhausting. Listening to my feelings is energising.” Words to live by!

  35. Whilst it can seem almost normal and acceptable to over-ride what we are feeling in our bodies during the day, the price we pay is a depletion of the natural abundant vitality and joy we could have living every day.

  36. I also came to realise how overriding my feelings to please others first was depleting my energy and exhausting my body and also confirming that my feelings were not worth anything. I too am learning to honour my own feelings more and more and appreciate the huge support this is the more tender and caring I am.

  37. I love the idea of experimenting with what truly works for you, and I love that you gave yourself 9 days to try this. I already go to bed around 9, but I’m wondering what else I could experiment with…

  38. Thank you Lieke, your blog has highlighted how often I don’t honour how I feel because of placing others first. We are not truly responsible though for others or their feelings so I can see that taking responsibility for myself is all that is needed.

  39. I love going to bed by 9pm and sometimes I choose to go to bed earlier because I have had a very full day, and the times I don’t listen to my body and override it and stay up a bit later I will then wake up feeling a bit out of sorts and not feeling refreshed. Honouring our body is such a beautiful choice to make and builds and deepens the relationship with ourselves it seems crazy that we would choose any other way.

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