How often do you ignore the need to pee or the pang of hunger and push through to complete whatever it is you are doing?
From the very moment we are born we are intricately connected to our bodies and the physical sensations that let us know when we have needs to be met – when we are cold, uncomfortable, sore, tired, hungry or have a wet nappy. As babies and young children we also immediately express that there is a need to be met so that something can be done about it.
So why do we disconnect and start ignoring our bodies and the messaging from our bodies until we become so out of balance that our bodies scream to us through symptoms that have to at times bring us to our knees to make us stop and pay attention?
Ideally, when we expressed our needs as children, our caregivers (and this is most often, but not always, the mother) would have met our needs MOST of the time. They would not have been perfect (no one is) but, hopefully, good enough.
Unfortunately, due to post partum depression, mental illness of some other kind, physical illness, work or other life demands, stress or past trauma many caregivers may not have been able to meet your needs at the level of enough. This is particularly the case when it comes to emotional needs. If the caregiver has fed you, put clothes on you, and met your physical needs and you still express a need through crying or anger or acting out this often leaves the caregiver feeling powerless or triggered and then you may be told to stop or you may be ignored, shut down or even punished.
This is so painful for a child who can feel the physical sensation of the need (including the energy of the emotion that creates a physical sensation in the body – think of the gripping claws of anxiety or the bottomless pit of fear or the choking sensation of panic or overwhelming heat of anger) and yet no one is willing or able to help the child with that need that is being felt and expressed.
If it’s too overwhelming, too painful and too uncomfortable then it’s just plain easier to stop feeling it at all.
It’s healthy to be able to regulate and shut down our sensory awareness at times but when it’s done more often than is healthy we stop knowing our needs. We stop knowing ourselves. We stop trusting ourselves. We stop nurturing ourselves with what we really need and we start doing and putting energy into controlling, pushing and striving and doing what makes us feel safe.
This works for some time. And then it stops working. And that is possibly why you are reading this now.
We cannot heal from chronic fatigue and chronic physical imbalance without reconnecting to our bodies and coming back to ourselves. That is why I make this a foundational module in the 1:1 Fatigue to Flow coaching programme.
Right now put a hand on your heart and a hand on your belly. Take a deep breath in, (as if into your belly), landing in your body, and acknowledge yourself and your body with your full attention. Don’t worry about what you find there when you do this. Simply acknowledging your body experience is already a hugely powerful step to healing.
How does that feel?