Self-disregard: can we turn the tide of this modern day plague?

By Jane Keep, London, UK 

Look at any headline in the news, or on social media and you will likely see that the NHS and other healthcare services world-wide are under continuous pressure due to the ever-growing demand from rising illness and disease in their local populations.  And more and more we are learning that illness and disease is linked to lifestyle. Given this, what is the trajectory looking like? If it continues to increase as it is, due to the way we are living our lives, the rising tide of illness and disease will overwhelm healthcare and bankrupt governments, reducing the productivity of our cities, nations, and the world as we become a society dependent upon needing care for our ailments and woes.

There are definitely times when we need to call on the support of healthcare, and my observations of working in the NHS for 38 years now, show that healthcare professionals work exceptionally hard to deliver the best services they can.

One of the issues healthcare professionals face is the tiny amount of time they have with each patient. Often appointments are booked on a continuous conveyor belt of one in, one out, with little time to discuss anything beyond the presenting issue. All the while during their busy days, healthcare professionals will observe patients and they will likely be aware of some lifestyle factors that may be contributing to their patients’ lack of health and wellbeing.

In this, it is highly likely that doctors, nurses, dentists, and all healthcare professionals will observe time and time again patients in whom there is a level of self-disregard.  This self-disregard could show in many ways – let’s take an example:

A hygienist in a dental practice I know sees a lot of self-disregard in the mouths of her patients. She feels that that information – her observation of what she ‘reads’ in the mouths of her patients – is not ‘hers’ and when the mouth of her patient is showing something, she raises the issue gently by asking them a question about the way they are living to get a sense of whether the patient is aware of what is going on. Where there is an opportunity, she will also gently discuss how self-disregard is impacting on their mouth/dental care, and overall sense of wellbeing. She leaves it with them to consider, no force, just sharing what she observes.  The only time when she is firm is when she sees something serious in their mouth and she needs to refer them on for further care (e.g. potential mouth cancer). She has seen young people in their 20’s with potential mouth cancer and she is more and more concerned about the way we are living, and the level of self-disregard she observes in patients’ mouths.

In this, we could say self-disregard is any number of things, e.g. not cleaning our teeth regularly, eating foods that do not nourish our body, drinking beverages that do not truly support our hydration, grabbing food on the go with little or no time to digest it, pushing our body to the extremes on over-rigorous exercise or not partaking in any exercise whatsoever, ignoring our body and the signs and symptoms it gives us, not wearing warm clothes on a cold frosty day.  All of which affect the quality of our health, our hair, skin, teeth, eyes, posture, all aspects of our anatomy and physiology, and our general sense of wellbeing.

This raises a question: if we observe self-disregard in a patient, as a practitioner, who does that information belong to? Is it for us only, to know but to ‘live and let live’, or is it something to be expressed to the patient? Where does a duty of care begin and end in this case?

And what if part of that duty of care also lies with us as citizens, as patients – are we open to receiving those observations and to discussing self-disregard, with a view to understanding that the way we are living can lead to illness and disease or true wellbeing, and making true changes to our daily life?

What if the topic of self-disregard was a much-needed conversation amongst us all – whereby we started to look at and understand not only how much self-disregard we are currently living in, but also the impact this way of living is having on our health, on our healthcare services and on our world?

Maybe in time to come we will choose to live openly, transparently, and honestly – where we appreciate the observations of others including our healthcare practitioners about our self-disregard, or where we feel we can openly talk about this not just in our healthcare appointments, but also in our daily lives.

In the end it is us who turn the tide of change, and we have to start somewhere – where better to start than with self-disregard? When we start to heal the level of self-disregard we have been living with, and begin to regard ourselves as truly worthy of tender love and care, and treating ourselves with this deep self-regard, we will collectively turn the tide of illness and disease that is currently threatening to overwhelm us.

 

Read more:

  1. Responsibility and Dental Health
  2. Letter to my body – from trash tip to temple 

886 thoughts on “Self-disregard: can we turn the tide of this modern day plague?

  1. Where does a duty of care begin and end? This is such a great question. We don’t like to be imposed or be imposing and we hold back so much and like to keep things at a comfortable level. And, in ‘Who am I to say?’ we are already projecting some likely reaction from the others. And there might be something I would spot in others’ choices that are not supportive, but I see myself also choosing the same – not necessarily in the way it is being enacted, but energetically – and I sometimes don’t feel I am authorized to say what they are doing is not supportive. I can feel part of being totally open and transparent is a deep knowing and embodying of who I truly am, regardless of anything. And I get a feeling that that connection is what allows me to not get caught in the ‘I’ that worries about ‘Who am I to say?’ as that part does know there’s not ‘I’ communicating whatever that needs to be communicated.

    1. Agree. Empty talk, empty presentations, empty knowledge – e.g. things that are not lived, change nothing. Before I met Serge Benhayon I read books, research, went to presentations on health and wellbeing and tried to initiate change but nothing ever really worked – and my health certainly never really changed. In comes Serge Benhayon who walks the talk and lives what he presents. The quality Serge presents in is what reawakened me to feel inspired to make changes that were true for my body – in my own way.

  2. The healthcare that has to treat the illnesses and diseases caused by self-disregard is in a way disregarding in itself, the way the most people who work in this system is not a true example of regard. We are all tangled up in this same energy of abusing our body, trying to find a solution but not yet a true answer. Serge Benhayon has provided this answer, a way of living honoring the body and its divine nature, to heal what holds us back from living the truth of who we are.

    1. Great point as to how we perpetuate disregard in life, in systems, in care, and to ourselves – in the end there is a deeper question and a deeper understanding to come to – as to why it is this way?

  3. It’s shocking to realise that a lot of illness and disease can be cured or prevented by lifestyle choices and that if we are to have a health service in the future we will need to take some responsibility for what we put in and do with our bodies.

      1. Agree Julie, Annelies – there is much we can do for our health and lives, and yet we can often rely on services like the NHS to pick us up when we are down. How different it could be if we discerned more deeply our lifestyle choices.

  4. If we observe someone walking along distracted by their phone and about to fall into an open man-hole cover, we would warn them to pay more attention. This is the same with when we observe that the way someone is in dis-regard of their body it is our responsibility to warn them and give them the choice to pay more attention to the way they are living.

  5. Whenever we do anything, and we are not being tender or loving with ourselves we are living in disregard because we are not treating ourselves or others with the love and respect we all deserve, the more we learn to cherish and nurture ourselves, the sooner we realise what a great difference it makes, not only to us, but others too.

  6. It is interesting to look at self disregard and the observations that health professionals make, because although true, many must see copious amounts of ill health in patients due to lack of self care / self love, also many will not see this because of the level of disregard they are in themselves. Who questions young doctors going out after work to the pub and still getting up early for a shift the next day, this is considered normal and in their lives as they grow older this continues…this will inevitably have a stop on their bodies and I would argue their ability to do their job to the best of their potential….life is all about our perspective of it – are we all willing to be honest about the state of our health….

    1. It’s ‘generational’ so to speak – often those that teach us our professions, or teach us in school, or our parents, or elders are not living in a way that truly supports their body – or considers how to live to be fit for life and fit for work, so from one generation to the next this is perpetuated. A true role model who lives in a way that goes against the current tide of disregard will for some inspire and empower them to make different daily life choices. No matter how much we talk about health and wellbeing e.g. at work, while everyone else is not truly taking care of themselves where is our inspiration or incentive (unless we get sick which can be a wake up call to take a deeper care).

  7. We have created a culture that glamourises disregard along with countless forms of entertainment to distract us from the harm, damage and assault we impose on our bodies. The importance of being aware of our relationship with our body, honouring this relationship and everything that our body in-truth is and reflects to us what is needed now to arrest the irresponsibility and abuse we currently see as ‘normal’, which is clearly not supporting us to live with optimum and true health, well-being and vitality. For the quality of our state of being is our responsibility.

    1. Great point Carola – that we have glamourised disregard in so many ways -whether it be lifestyle aspects or the way we treat our bodies, or what we accept as treatment from others – it is in movies, on tv, in books, plays, on social media and advertising billboards – we are surrounded by disregard, yet, we take it as normal rather than saying ‘no’.

  8. Wow people in their 20’s are being diagnosed with mouth cancer! Gosh it just seems to be getting worse and worse. I love the conversation you had with this dentist as it is these sort of conversations that bring a greater awareness and understanding with what is going on and what health care professionals are seeing. We definitely need to take more responsibility for our health and wellbeing through our lifestyle choices and daily choices we are making.

    1. And it is these conversations that we could be having with one another – curious and openly (not judging) e.g. I was working with a doctor the other day and they started talking about constipation and how many more people there are who have constipation – so we started to talk about why that is – just so as to understand the situation a little more. After all our body isn’t naturally made to be constipated so how is it we can be living in that way?

  9. With the learning that illness and disease is linked to lifestyle and the choices we are making, we need to honestly look at the choices we are making that are having such a huge impact on our body and that by taking responsibility for the quality in which we are running our body we empower ourselves to initiate true and lasting changes to our health and well-being.

    1. I agree Linda, there is so much we can learn from the body in our daily lives if we so choose, it’s a great investment – the way we treat our body today is how we will wake up feeling tomorrow – the body is so worth investing in.

  10. It is clear that health systems are under more and more pressure, to the point of not really being able to keep up. I feel there are several factors involved. One is definitely the disregard we have for our bodies, expecting them to take whatever abuse we dish out, then getting annoyed when they complain! I also have found whilst studying public health that this is due to our collective handing over of our responsibility to ‘experts’ for our health. We live however we like, then expect the experts to fix us. This is an energetic setup that has become quite entrenched, creating a power and responsibility imbalance that needs to change before our health can improve.

  11. Our level of self-disregard has become accepted in society as normal, seemingly having to push ourselves to keep up with busy schedules, deal with anxiousness and the emotional turmoil of reacting to life in general. Looking outside ourselves for answers separates us from having a true relationship with our body, and listening to its messages when we push ourselves beyond our natural limit so that we honour our feelings and open up to a greater awareness and truer expression.

    1. I agree – where are the true role models who are saying no – there are some for sure – what will it take for us to realise there is another way – and the we don’t need to live in the constant bludgeoning of our bodies.

  12. We have to get past the fear of hurting people’s feelings when we feel to express concern with another person’s health, way of living, or even physical appearance. I know I have certainly help back in this way ‘to be nice’ or polite, but when we do that it does not allow the other person to possibly make much needed changes in their life, and in many instances they go on abusing themselves and their own health too.

    1. I agree, true care is in talking with each other and expressing things that need to be said – not out of judgment or trying to fix another but out of true care and responsibility.

  13. We have more technology and modernity but underneath, we know something serious is wrong. Health is not measured by wealth or longevity but vitality. Although we’ve tried to ‘work it out’ there’s no app for that except for living from our heart.

  14. Disregard is so overrated, sometimes it is even seen as almost heroic if you disregard yourself in order to achieve something. And that attitude doesn’t usually get reverted until something drastic happens. It doesn’t even feel to be a choice, it is more of a posture towards life whether we afford care and love to ourselves.

  15. Indeed we can only ever step up our own level of self care, but interestingly others always seem to notice and there in lies the opportunity for others to make their own change.

  16. I used to have a great GP in Oxford, and although we only had ten minutes, you never felt like you were being rushed. Often he would go over time and wait longer for your appointment, but I didn’t mind because you knew that you were going to be listened to.

  17. It seems I am being constantly reminded in my workplace of the levels of disregard and uncaring or careless behaviours. I suddenly realised that the only thing I can really do is to step up the level of care I have for myself, by doing this I will feel so much better and it’s possible that some of this will rub off on my workmates too.

  18. such a great example to look at the mouth and what’s going on in there, huge signs that we could care for ourselves, but we ignore them..I did for a long time….to care for ourselves we need to care…how do we get to that place of caring….well one great support is, small steps to be honest, about why we do not and why we do not consider ourselves worth caring for…never assume, it is well worth asking ourselves questions and seeing if the answer lies within.

    1. And something we can all look at easily too – as it is likely we spend time particularly with our mouths twice a day when we clean our teeth. I used to be blasé about having a blister on the inside of a cheek from having burnt my mouth when eating, or of an ulcer or sore somewhere inside my mouth, or occasional bleeding gums when I flossed, but nowadays everything is everything, in that it is well worth paying attention, and then taking care when we do realise things. As not only does our body benefit from that, it also benefits the way we are with others too in our relationships, work etc when we stay on top of our wellbeing.

  19. The behaviours of self disregard are so normalised that we often don’t register that they are actually not doing us any good. I have often found seeing others role model another way of living that is more loving to be super supportive

    1. It is true Rebecca, and we allow disregard to be normalised due to the fact we don’t honor the truth of our body to govern and be the marker of our well-being, instead conveniently hand over our power to a set of standards so we don’t have to take responsibility for that lack of love we are choosing to live with. I agree, it is inspiring to have role models such as Serge Benhayon and the many students of The Way of The Livingness that have extracted themselves from living in the deemed yet harmful ‘norm’ to reflecting a way of living that honors the truth of the body and how empowering it is to live with self-responsibility.

      1. i agree – and in no way does looking after and truly caring for ourselves make us any less committed, active or part of life, if anything it makes us more able to be a part of life in full because we are not held back by all the behaviours that chip away at us

  20. I do find that if I open up to somebody about something eg a disregarding way, it can open up a conversation and with a deepening awareness all round giving the opportunity to make changes, and quite often leading to others in conversation too. I agree being open and honest about this subject helps us all to make those changes.

  21. I recently sat waiting for some colleagues to join me in the lobby of a hotel and as I sat and watched the world go by what struck me was how many women wore extremely high heeled shoes. They seemed un aware of how this was affecting the physiology of their bodies which were seemingly bent out of shape to accommodate the forward body tilt that walking in high heels seem to produce. This is a small sample of how we abuse our bodies without even realising it.

    1. Yes, there can be a recklessness of our body – and the way we treat it – and we see others doing the same too so we don’t question it, yet deep inside we know when we are regarding or disregarding. E.g. blisters from wearing shoes that do not support us maybe an indicator to look at our footwear.

  22. We’ve made self-disregard into a subject that is our business alone and are putting out the signals that we can do what we want regardless of the consequences, but there are consequences as the health service is buckling under the pressure of lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases that can easily be reversed or improved upon if a person was, to be honest with how they are living or at least consider their choices.

  23. The level of self disregard and the abuse we inflict on ourselves in the world is really frightening to observe and see considering it is so opposite to the love we all are and it must take some huge force to inflict upon ourselves. An important sharing as is the answer offered “When we start to heal the level of self-disregard we have been living with, and begin to regard ourselves as truly worthy of tender love and care, and treating ourselves with this deep self-regard, we will collectively turn the tide of illness and disease that is currently threatening to overwhelm us.” Absolutely.

  24. Why is there no self-disregard in the animal kingdom, except with us humans? We are meant to be the smartest ones, top of the tree? The strongest and oldest living animals are vegetarians: gorillas, elephants and tortoises. Nature is always a reflection for us, so why don’t we open our eyes?

  25. When we look at this trend of self-disregard on the global scale, is it possible we need to consider why as a race of beings we are so abusive and disregarding of ourselves – almost as if there is a seed of dislike in ourselves towards our very bodies which we need to address and heal – what is it that the body offers and has the potential to offer that we are so focused on disrupting

    1. I’m familiar with that Rebecca, I know my body is the most precious thing now, yet have spent years in disregard of it. It wasn’t until I learned from the presentations by Serge Benhayon about the body being our key to expressing soulfully on earth that I could see the reason for the disregard – it provided a sure fire way to remain in the comfort of set ways and irresponsibility. Yet that way heads directly into ill health and disease rather than the vitality and value of a loved and nurtured body and soul.

    2. well said Rebecca – great question – why is it one of the most common things almost 7 billion of us seem to share is self-disregard? – no matter what context it seems to be in every corner of every society.

      1. Exactly – I have found the only person to provide an explanation that also has a way to heal the root cause and choose differently is Serge Benhayon.

    3. Rebecca a stunning consideration and pondering on something that by all means makes no sense, why abuse ourselves? It feels really sinister when I think about it and feel what that abuse is doing to each person as well as society.

      1. I agree – there is a sinister nature, especially the casual disregard and normalisation of the abuse.

      2. Yes..interesting that disregarding one’s self by staying up too late, eating foods that we know don’t work for us are what we often aspire to when we’re growing up. It’s as if we can’t wait for the day when our parents can no longer tell us what to do and so we can do whatever we want, just because we can and because we’re free. But true freedom is not doing what we want just because we think we can get away with it, but about being free to respond to a greater call and a higher purpose: something far above and beyond our thoughts that tell us what we think we want.

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