Soul Food

Melody Lipford, Columnist •

Self-check. An important term that not so many of us do. This doesn’t mean checking to see if we got everything crossed off our agenda for the day. It means something more important. It’s beyond the simple “good” response you answer someone when they ask how you are doing.

Sometimes a self-check is a painful, but necessary evaluation of where we are mentally, emotionally, and physically. This self-check is for you purely as the individual.It’s an opportunity to be honest with yourself about what places in life you feel satisfied and what places in life you feel a lack thereof. A self-check can make you feel vulnerable to even yourself when you realize possible emotions or struggles you have been repressing for the sake of everything else you have to manage in your life.

It can be our own self that we neglect the most when it comes to managing or finding ways to cope with unwanted circumstances, situations, or mental hurdles we tend to jump over. We keep going thinking that these things will go away or that we can delay dealing with them for a bit longer. We busy ourselves with tasks, projects, social events, and keep adding to our calendar to prolong this delay even further. All the meanwhile, the same situations, circumstances, and mental hurdles don’t disappear. They may fade into the background for a moment or even travel to the back of our minds. They don’t stay in the darkness forever. Our repressed issues come back to the surface and this is when the painful, but inevitable process of a self-check begins.

So you’ve checked yourself. What do you do now? Of course everything isn’t perfect, but you’ve been living with it fine before so what’s wrong with going on like it is now? That question is the very reason self-checks are vital. Many things in our life are not under control whether unforeseen circumstances or the way people act towards us. The only thing we do have control over is our responses to these circumstances and other people’s actions. However, even that has its challenges.

So what do we do? First, we breathe. We realize that we can’t fix the world or simply ourselves in a single day. We can’t flip a switch and align things to the ideal picture we envision. We take one step at a time. We start with cancelling a plan we’ve made if that means time to recharge. Afterwards, we acknowledge the struggles we have and come to terms with the possibility of learning to face them. This may include talking with a friend, family, or loved one about the problem or even going to a counselor.

We realize that there is no shame in asking for help and that we’re as imperfect as the person next to us. And then we begin to actually do things we enjoy. We realize the validity of engaging ourselves in activities we love doing. Participating in events, organizations, or hobbies that gave us purpose and make us feel alive. We realize the value of our presence in some things as well as the value of our absence in others. We realize our worth not for the sake of others, but for ourselves. We realize the overall transformation a self-check can cause if we simply have the courage to do it in the first place.

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