Self-Care Proficiency – Do we need a Licence?

In life we have a number of proficiency licences, such as a driving licence, which demonstrates that we have reached a certain level of proficiency in handling and driving a vehicle. In having the licence there are certain rules of the road and road conduct that you agree to abide by, and when you don’t there can be further education, or even fines or other penalties.

For the last decade, as inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon, I have realised that from birth through to death there is very little or no guidance or proficiency expectation about how we live in our own body. Yes, some of us may have had parents or an upbringing where self-care and health and wellbeing were foundational, but many of us didn’t.

Whilst at school we learn maths, English and other topics such as history, religion, social studies, languages, and possibly biology and physics. But do we understand how our body works and how to inhabit this body for best effect so that we have an ever-deepening relationship with it, understanding the language of the body and how to take super care of it in any given circumstance? In reality, how proficient are we in taking care of ourselves in work and in life?

One of the reasons I ask this is from my own learning and inspiration from Universal Medicine workshops. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that I even began to seriously consider building a relationship with my body, and to understand that there is a cause and effect in regards to the way I live: if I don’t take care of myself it has a detrimental effect on my body – when I do take care of myself, it has a supportive and nurturing effect on my body and on the way I am in life.

I also ask this as over the last decade I have undertaken a number of studies regarding self-care, particularly in a workplace setting, including a PhD about developing self-care at work. During this time I have spoken with over 4,000 people about their health and wellbeing at work and in their lives. Resoundingly, the same conclusions come up again and again:

  • We know that there are things in the way we live our lives that do not support our body – e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol, sugar, caffeine, not getting enough sleep or rest.
  • We know there are things that support us, e.g. hydration, eating nourishing food, stretching and exercise, and asking for support when we need it.
  • We know when we get sick that we need to take greater care of ourselves, e.g. if we have a cold, flu, or virus.
  • We know how to take care of others, whether we work in healthcare or not – we have all cared for a relative, friend, pet, child, elderly parent etc.
  • We know that when we are ‘off our game’ that the quality of the work we do suffers, as does the quality of our relationships and life.
  • When we are ‘on our game’ we are more able to focus, concentrate, maintain perspective, feel balanced, be open to those around us and go the extra mile if needed.

Yet somewhere along the way – even with this knowing – we (collectively across the globe) are not taking care of our bodies. For example, there are statistics every day in the media that indicate this:

“Illnesses associated with lifestyle cost the NHS £11bn.” (1)

“Nine in 10 cancers caused by lifestyle.” “Our research has shown that many cancers are caused by external factors, and that there are changes that we can all make to our lifestyles to significantly reduce our risk of cancer.” (2)

“’Lifestyle’ diseases the world’s biggest killer.” “Non-communicable diseases are now the leading cause of death around the world, with developing countries hit hardest, according to a new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO).” (3)

“Nearly Half of US Deaths Can Be Prevented With Lifestyle Changes.” (4)

So, whilst we may know certain aspects about our health and wellbeing, somewhere along the line we are either not applying them or we have a gap in our understanding as to how to live with proficiency (not perfection) in this physical body.

Given the pressures on healthcare systems worldwide and the impact this has on society, with:

  • The need for dementia friendly towns and cities
  • The decline in productivity and quality in the workplace from increasing illness rates: or the remodelling of our infrastructures due to the pandemic rise of obesity…

Wouldn’t it make sense that, from cradle to grave, we had some gentle (not ‘one size fits all’) approach to support us:

  • With learning how the body is an exceptional barometer of our daily living choices (if we so choose to listen and or observe)
  • In learning how to care for our human body so as to understand the phenomenal design and order that governs it all?

It may not be that we need a licence, but what if some degree of proficiency was expected from us, as our part in being a responsible citizen on the globe? And whilst expecting us to accept a degree of responsibility and care for our own body may not be agreed with by all, at the very least, what if we were all offered a form of self-care study during our upbringing, education and working lives that gave us the choice so that we could understand the way to care for and live in our body?

By Jane Keep, London

References:

Further Reading:
Self Care – ‘Walking the Talk’
Self-Care at Work Does Make a Difference
Self-care at work makes sense, why is it not common practice?

380 thoughts on “Self-Care Proficiency – Do we need a Licence?

  1. Our body is known esoterically as ‘a vehicle of expression’. As there are only two sources of energy with which we can align to – love (Fire) or all that is not love (evil) – how we choose to live will determine which source of energy we tap into that then informs all movement thereafter. If we care for the body and nurture its innate rhythms that are in accord to the Universal rhythms we are held by, we will be able to live in a body of love and experience the ease and simplicity this way of life (living in connection with our Soul) brings. However, if we live a life in disregard and override this natural wisdom, we invite into us the poison of the other side of the equation and set for ourselves a path of ill health and disease as the body tries to correct the imposition placed upon it.

  2. Children and youths tend to admire and copy those who are older, whether it is at school or at home, hence the lack of self care is repeated generation after generation. Are we willing to break this pattern and by that offering the next generation true role modeling?

  3. Do we need a self care licence? The thing with self care is that it is constantly changing and evolving. We need to deepen everyday with the loving care we have for ourselves, for the care we held ourselves in yesterday or last week, if held the same simply becomes abuse in the body. Taking it deeper is vital if we are to develop our body to hold the love of where we are going.

  4. Cause and effect, we all know that if we disregard our physical body we will meet the consequences but our immortal spirit entices us to play truant as it knows that our physical body is only a temporary vehicle. When we take responsibility for the care and nurture of our body and how we live we become aware that we are so much more than a physical body and a wayward spirit.

  5. Laws and regulations are necessities today, but if we only understood the truth and consequences of our transgressions we’d never entertain them again. Just because we are numb doesn’t mean the results aren’t severe.

  6. Its very true Jane, we go through school learning so much about the world around us, but we develop little if any understanding of our relationship to ourselves, our body and how we influence the world around us. We have to figure it out the best way that we can and that of course depends on those we surround ourselves with. Unfortunately for most of us there are very few role models that show how caring for ourselves can be foundational in life, so much so that we think that abuse of ourselves is quite normal. The more role models we have in self-care and in self-love, the more we realise that we do have another choice and a serious option to consider for ourselves.

  7. This statement makes so much sense – ‘there is a cause and effect in regards to the way I live: if I don’t take care of myself it has a detrimental effect on my body’ – I wonder why this is not the number one focus in life, first in our upbringing and then to be continued in school/education for further deepening and understanding.

  8. It would be great if all health practitioners when giving health advice and /or medications asked the question- “What are you doing to support your own health?.
    We have been allowed to give our power away to a health system that we think is going to fix everything -very little self responsibility required!

  9. For many years before encountering Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine I was practicing self-care and a relationship with my body. However, it was built upon knowledge that I then imposed upon my body which was not actually beneficial for my body and me. What I came to learn and understand that to have a true relationship with my body was to listen to it and respond to its needs from personal experience, rather than what I believed was best for me from knowledge gained from external sources. I came to realise that my previous relationship to my body was actually self-abuse and I have discovered that a true relationship with my body is not to see it as separate from ‘me’, rather that we are one and that through it is the gateway to the Wisdom of the Universe.

  10. We do know when we have gone too far and a good example of this is when we have trashed ourselves at a party. Maybe taken drugs, too much alcohol, got into situations that we regret when we are sober, and yet we do not learn from the experience. Maybe, having a health care plan from young would make this behaviour unacceptable and if we were to get ill due to our own negligence, then we would be held accountable for the costs involved.

  11. It would make a lot of sense if we were taught how to properly look after and care for ourselves and our bodies. I would like to think this happens at home, but so often if we have not been brought up to care for ourselves how can we teach it to our children? So should we require a license to have children, have to pass a proficiency test so that we not only know how to look after ourselves but also then our off spring. It would change a lot of things – not practical in any way but an interesting thought nevertheless!

  12. Learning true self care should be innate in us all, but growing up it is not something truly shown to us from home and outside reflections. Imagine if this was the case, what a different place the world would be, with the deepest level of self care and nurturing known and lived by us all, and respected in society as a whole.

  13. As you say, Jane, we know it all – how to love and care for ourselves, our bodies and each other. As such, we don’t need to be taught these things, we just need to support one another in the return to our natural loving ways, living it ourselves as a reminder to everyone around us.

    1. And with children is to support them to maintain that innate knowing that they are born with so that they do not have to ‘return to our natural loving ways’ as they will never have forsaken them.

  14. Ill health is out of control, the health systems aren’t coping and nor are the stats showing us there’s any overall change from this downward direction. More true awareness of illness and disease, and a growing responsibility for our own way of living from each of us is the only way we will make an difference and begin the change towards the other direction.

  15. The fact that we do indeed know when we are ‘on or off our game’ highlights that we know what it is to care for ourselves and take action or not.

  16. Sadly anyone who takes care of themselves in a truly nurturing way gets called a wuss so many don’t even go there, since being strong and ‘resilient’ appears to get rewarded. An exhausted employee is not productive so it is a false premise.

  17. I still remember when I first moved out of home and having to do all the house work and cooking, wondering why I wasn’t taught more of this temporal care while growing up. I had a mother who did a lot for me, which left me partly disabled when it came to domestics. I feel the same when it comes to self care. It was never a part of my everyday and what a difference it would have made if it was. I’m now a grown women learning self care that is the birth right of every one of us.

  18. Perhaps there could be different levels of proficiency and awareness that we reach as we start to listen to the body and care for it? This would take us beyond applying whatever the minimum benchmarks for wellbeing are and return to our natural vital way of being.

  19. Our bodies are such a priceless and amazing – largely self healing – living machine – packed with countless subtly balanced physiological systems that self regulate without us even being aware of it, it seems extraordinary when you think of it that our spirits are let loose in one new body each lifetime and extremely arrogant that we choose to ignore the past momentums playing out along the way without any true sense of responsibility in the main.

  20. Yes indeed, Jane, our body is a vehicle that we should be taught to look after as a top priority throughout our lives, but in actual fact we would be re-learning a standard of care that is innate in us. The main point is that we are so removed from our natural loving ways, and this is what we need to return to.

  21. Exactly Jane. Confidence and understanding developes only when we are connected with our bodies. It makes total sense to integrate tools to stay connected to our bodies in every aspect of education.

  22. “… what if we were all offered a form of self-care study during our upbringing, education and working lives that gave us the choice so that we could understand the way to care for and live in our body?” – agree Jane, with the presence of love in a family home, upbringing, self-care becomes somewhat redundant because it’s already a given to care for something that we already love.

    1. Great point Zofia, I can feel that in my body, as I joyfully love myself and others of course I care, it’s just natural, which is why love (the real thing) is so important.

  23. A cared for and supported body makes everything else in life a lot easier and more Joyful to be with. When we disregard ourselves and trash our bodies with substances, following roles, trying to live up to ideal’s and beliefs then we are clearly putting ourselves on the back foot for how we handle everything that comes towards us in life. It just makes sense for us to take responsibility for the body that we bring to life, to others and everything we have to do.

  24. It’s a great question you end with here Jane. Yes what if we were offered a form of self-care study during our growing up, our educational years. I would predict that we, as a society would not be facing the dire rates of unwellness and illness that we are currently seeing today from our choices. Many people say education is key and if we do not take the time to educate and study what is true, good and supportive for our bodies and our beings then we fear our next generations with not having any value for caring for themselves.

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