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

By HR Professional in Healthcare, 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 

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

  1. It makes sense that if you don’t care about something it is disregarded and neglected. Our body is no exception. Illness and disease is not a mystery when we look at how we relate to our body.

  2. HR, it is disappointing to read the state of the health care systems, a global issue, and as technology increases, this “tiny amount of time” with patients decreases. We greet our patients with computer on wheels, and behind this machine is a person, frantically typing whilst a ward round is occurring.

    As more and more people disregard, the more and more health care professionals are unable to meet their demands. Hospitals trying to out do each other and it is a sorry state of life.

    Somewhere a long the way, someone has to make the change, and that small change is what it takes, to change others. It’s starts with you first…

  3. This is a great blog to question what is going on with our health and humanity in general with the rising tide of illness and disease coupled with the fact that no matter how much money is invested into our health care systems it just seems to get swallowed up in a bottomless pit. So I do wonder if we have to hit the bottom of our self-disregard in order to be taught a valuable lesson that until we truly take care of ourselves and accept the part we all have to play in the illness and disease epidemic that is ravaging the world nothing will change.

    1. Mary you’re spot on, every industry is at a bottomless pit. Corners are cut and then one day one half of a building collapses, or wide cracks appear in the walls and the dwellings are no longer safe to live in. Costing countless of money and yet it is because they have to fix someone else’s carelessness and disregard of others.

      It seems the bottomless pit is where many things need to go to, and maybe one day, someone will truly consider other people, then that pit will become fuller again. A long way to go…

  4. What is fascinating to me is just how refined our threshold of what we consider to be self-disregard can become, as what I considered to be disregard in the past (like drinking alcohol until I vomited) is much different today. An example for me today would be when I felt to say something in appreciation for a friend, but instead held back and did not let them know how I felt. This is a never ending process and even not living with joy and vitality throughout the day could be considered self-disregard, as that is our natural way and destiny.

    1. Michaelgoodhart36 I totally agree with you when you say
      ‘just how refined our threshold of what we consider to be self-disregard can become,’
      Is this because we have walked such a long way from the truth of who we are which has led to all the disregard and abuse we live with daily. When we make the choice not to live in the disregard any more it is then that we understand the full extent of what we have done to ourselves and others as we make different choices which reconnects us back to our soul. It is a never ending process as we deepen our awareness and reconnection.

  5. Our awareness of disregard for ourselves needs to grow before we will do anything about it, because if we are unaware, we abuse ourselves without even noticing it. Our bodies support us to become more aware and can open the door to observe this disregard.

  6. Self-regards has its activity, but to me it feels to be more of a posture that has a certain quality in which we hold ourselves. And when we get so conditioned to lose our sensitivity and toughen up to fit into and survive through this world, I am not surprised many of us get totally cut off from feeling what supports us and what doesn’t.

    1. Fumiyo I have been observing how when young children go to school how they start to harden themselves it seems to happen instantly they loose their innate sensitivity. Now I understand why it is so important for them to have a reflection that they don’t have to forgo their sensitivity to get through the school day. We do not have to toughen up to fit in any more, there is a different way to live and there are thousands of people living with their sensitivity and loving life.

  7. The topics of self-disregard and self-care are vital to introduce to humanity, as the way we live in self neglect with very little self-care is very common. The first part is awareness. From there something very practical, such as letting the body communicate just what self-care is for each of us, keeps it simple. And those that support others to understand about self-care really need to be living it, so that they are walking their talk and living examples of self-care, this means it is not lip service but true inspiration on offer.

  8. Some years back I had a GP who by the end of the day you could wait well over an hour past your appointment time to see him because he refused to adhere to the ten-minute rule. A lot of his patients were elderly and needed more than ten minutes to explain their health concerns. We as patients didn’t mind waiting because we knew that we would get an opportunity to explain our concerns in detail. He never gave the impression that he was rushing you to finish or that he was concerned about the time.

  9. “In the end it is us who turn the tide of change”. Such wise words Jane, and ones that we all need to hear, as so often we feel there is nothing we can do, so we look to someone else to fix the situation for us. But it is us who have the power to change the quality of our health and our lives. It all starts with one choice and that choice, for me, would be to address any disregard in my life, and what a valuable choice that will be, for all of us.

  10. yes, self disregard… how does it happen? What is really going on that illness and disease is going through the roof, with multi-symptomatic disease now the norm, which is baffling all the medical doctors?
    Who is the wayward character behind this? Could it be our spirit, that is running the show in our human body, that is the true cause in illness and disease?

    1. lorettarapp thank you for your openness in calling out the spirit which runs our bodies behind the scene as it were, so that we think we are in control when actually we are just the puppet whose strings are being pulled at the whim of our spirit. There will come a time when humanity will wake up to this fact and from there make different choices to take command over their bodies rather than being dictated to by a wayward spirit that wants to dominate, control and have it’s own way.

  11. Awareness is a great thing because most people are not choosing to be aware of the fact that they are living in self-disregard and then change is very hard to make. Reflection of something different, like someone who does live with self-love is the ultimate bringer of the possibility of re-awakening awareness.

  12. We may get a reaction at first when we lovingly express the level of disregard another is making but I do feel we have a responsibility to not hold back and express what is needed… we never know what can unfold when we express truth and the ripple effect that can happen is not in our hands as we detach ourselves from any outcome we may be invested in.

    1. Expecting a reaction if we do share our observations on the disregard someone has for themselves, can be the very reason we don’t, holding back to save any unpleasantness. But the holding back simply keeps the truth they may be ready to hear from them, so not allowing them to have the choice to say yes to the truth, or not. But as you say, we do “have a responsibility to not hold back”, as it not only keeps what is possible from them, it also harms us in the process.

      1. Beautifully expressed Ingrid – thank you. I can vouch that every time I do not allow myself to express, it hurts and is very abusive towards my body; however on the other hand when I express, especially when I am going to be up against forces, I am held and the particles in my body expand.

  13. Yes sometimes we want to escape control and imposition by being out of control and, as we see it, free – instead of making the form of control one that is supportive to a loving, vital and self -nurturing way. In that we will find much more to explore…it doesn’t have to be boring at all.

  14. Great blog Jane, so many people I know are living with self-disregard and are not even aware of it. Also, if we have been so used to living with self-disregard, it may take a while to relearn to self-love, self-care, self-nurture and deeply regard ourselves in a loving way. Our first step to embracing change requires awareness of what needs changing.

  15. 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. I agree Cjames2012, no words are more powerful than the messages and reflections we offer others through the way we live. Also, our body registers when words are delivered with a livingness, they hold a quality of truth that is very hard to ignore.

    2. Yes because sometimes it is not the moment to say something but our own way of living is always expressed because that is visible for everyone.

  16. 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.

  17. ‘…understanding that the way we are living can lead to illness and disease or true wellbeing…’ this is honesty that will support the true changes required in our state of health.

  18. 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.

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