When was the last time you were at a clinic for a regular health check?
Ideally, all of us need to go in for a regular full-body health scan every so often. Doctors recommend annual check-ups for all people, half-yearly for people over forty, and quarterly for people over sixty, even if there are no known health issues. If anyone has a chronic health condition like diabetes, thyroid issues, blood pressure or any of the hundred things that could go wrong with one’s body, then there is a definite requirement for ongoing monitoring and management.
Chances then are that you probably go for these health checks every quarter, if you are a good patient, and in any case, at least once a year. While the first visit or two might be nerve wracking, after the first few visits, you get to know the routine really well, become quite familiar with the staff and maybe even really friendly with them. You know them by their look, might even know them by name and definitely smile at the staff with a sense of recognition and familiarity, and they very likely return the warmth, even if the place is crowded and you know they may not really know you or remember you personally.
It is the rare patient that remains cold and aloof in such places, and the rarer doctor, nurse or staff that is curmudgeonly in such a place. Even though it is a clinic, there is little that is clinical about such places, with the staff acting as though they were indulgent teachers in a nursery school and the patient behaving as if they were naughty children hoping to get the approval of their elders in the class. The family of the patient assume the role of parents in such situations, at once protective of their ward while at the same time, behaving like the guardian of the patient. It is evident in how the staff and the patient look at the blood and other body function test results – it is hardly different from how they might have behaved in a parent-teachers meeting when they were in junior school.
When you treat your body with this much regularity of care for its health, what would it be like if you took similar care for your mind, and more to the point, how would it be if you checked in on your relationships in this manner with regular checkups, and if you discover any issues, then to really work on it?
Love and relationships are like any other function in our lives. They can be running along peacefully for a long time, and you never know that some issues are cooking below the surface till they explode, like how we might discover an underlying blood pressure issue or diabetes quite suddenly, or discover there is a slightly off heartbeat in a regular ECG as part of an annual health check. Issues in our relationships may not be readily apparent.
Maybe we need regular health checks for love as well.
As written for The New Indian Express
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.