Awareness of self refers not only to the psychological self, but also the corporeal one. I recall reading Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass for the first time, in which she says, “Take care of your body, too. We run around doing all our busy work with our poor bodies flapping behind us like old wind socks.” Not only did this make me laugh, it’s so true. I especially have a tendency to neglect my poor body in an effort to find more time in my day whether it’s for work or, more commonly, leisure. Taking care of your physical self as well as your mental self is essential to living a happy, healthy (duh) life. Not only that, but it has the happy side effect of making you a more productive person.
On the topic of self-awareness, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Our addictive functioning requires of us that we tune out our bodies. In fact, often the purpose of our addictions is to put us out of touch with what we are feeling, what we are thinking, our awareness, and our intuition. Addictive working or rushing around leaves little time or energy to notice what our bodies are telling us about our feelings and our health.
We have come to think of our bodies as nonexistent and often experience little below our necks. Some of us even spend time ‘out of our bodies.’ Instead of seeing our bodies as our allies and sources of important information, we have come to see them as vehicles for the practice of our addiction and we use them as objects. We have forgotten the way our bodies move and the way they feel moving.”
Our bodies are amazing in that they tell us exactly what they need. They give us all sorts of signs and signals as to what’s going on inside of us. If we ignore those signs for too long and continue to neglect them, however, they will eventually force us to pay attention through extreme means. Pain, illness, even serious life-threatening diseases and, of course, mental health issues are all the result of constant stress and ignoring your own needs. Just as we have feelings for a reason, so too do we have physical signs from our bodies to act as a warning. Don’t ignore them. Take care of yourself. Your body is the vessel that carries you through this life, and without it, you will not get far.