Checking In…With Yourself

Things in life all seemed to be going according to plan one day early last week. For one, I finally found the dress that I had been digging around my closet the last two weeks for. It could only happen to me that I would be looking for something forever, only for it to end up right under my nose. Somehow this dress ended up at the bottom of a bin of winter clothes, right.under.my.nose — *sigh*, go figure! And I had also spoken to my mom earlier in the day. It should be known that I have a very close relationship with my mother. We shop together, gossip relentlessly, and laugh hysterically all the time! We also call and speak to each other almost every day and the question that finds it’s way into almost all of our conversations is: “What did you eat today?” Now, I’ve been relatively slender my entire life and growing up in a household where hojaldras, patacones, arroz con guandules and carimañolas are staples of the kitchen, it’s safe to say I’ve never had the issues with food that one would think of in looking at my frame. But like clockwork, she asks the question anyway. “I had some french fries, Ma…I wasn’t very hungry”, I say. “Well that’s not good enough. You need to check in on yourself, you deserve more!”

I’ll admit it, I had no idea what she was talking about. Checking in on myself? That sounded like some sort of zen mantra reserved for Deepak Chopra or the Dali Lama…not the feisty, no nonsense woman I know as my mom. But like a dutiful daughter, I listened, still rather clueless to the meaning her advice. That is, until I received a charged email that revisited my past and stopped me in my tracks.

I won’t get into the specifics of the email or who sent it, as there’s no reason to put anyone on blast. My focus here, however, is to understand and articulate the feelings associated with it. Needless to say, all sorts of emotional triggers were switched on and after reading the email a few times, I really had to take a look at myself and what my truth in life has been.

My bad habit? Internalizing. It’s as native to me as my brown eyes. But ultimately I had to ask myself why I would allow this person’s sentiments to affect me. The epiphany came in realizing that no matter what someone’s view of me is, my own self assessment is all that matters. Life is nothing more than a series of checks and balances. Am I surrounding myself with people who love and respect me? Check. Am I feeling more fulfilled in my creativity? Check. Am I striving to be better in all aspects of my life? Check. And with all that said, I am balanced.

Catherine Ponder said it best: “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” So after one last scan of the email, I decided it had no place in my inbox and deleted it. I’ve done a careful inventory of past experiences and now know that everything has happened for the best. So, what is the last question on my “life inventory” checklist? Am I investing in the good that is my life? Check. A smile spread across my face as I dove into my fridge and plated a mile high serving of mom’s potato salad — so good! I’m sure mom will be happy to know that I’ve checked in. After all, mom knows best!

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