I mentioned the last time we were together that the categories, labels, expectations, beliefs and sometimes people contained within my boxes often need a fresh look as I move forward and grow. Since the universe takes care of when we take a look, what we probably need to look at is how we do it.
When life happens and we notice that we have boxed ourselves in or boxed someone else in, we have a wonderful opportunity to unwrap it, look at what is really inside, and then make some sort of decision about it to move forward. The choices are pretty simple:
- Let go of the box and all of its contents.
- Keep the box and all of its contents.
- Keep some of the contents of the box, but leave the box top opened rather than wrapping it back up.
- Any combination of choice #3 related to letting go, keeping, adding new, etc.
- Choose not to look inside the box at all.
How do we make this very conscious decision? In my own process of taking a look at the “old way” these boxes represent, I ask myself a series of questions. I will share two of those with you along with an example to get you started on the simpler boxes.
Question #1: Does my behavior associated with this label, category, belief, expectation, etc. move me closer to being a better person?
The first thing that interests me about the contents of a box is what it “says” about me as a human being. This is very important to me because I aspire to be Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I want to operate consciously and mindfully to grow in every area of my life.
Let’s use one of my past experiences as an example. The first four years in my illness (PLS), I was in a wheelchair and very sensitive about it. Related to this sensitivity, I had at least a couple of boxes.
Within one blaringly obvious box was a series of beliefs that I didn’t realize I held based on my limited experiences. One of them was that people in wheelchairs are unable to function independently. (It is hard to believe, isn’t it?)
With that unconscious belief boxed away, I set off to prove that I could do everything. I was very resistant to any assistance—even just a person opening a door for me—and could even be caught being snippy about it.
What I was thinking was, “Geez, do they think I am helpless or something?! I can do it myself!”
Can you see how my belief became projected outward as if it was also everyone else’s? Even strangers opening doors for me? My perception was that they all looked at me as some helpless woman in a chair because apparently, that is how I felt about myself during that time.
Was my snippy behavior helping me to “be the change”? Seems pretty obvious that the answer was no to question #1. I decided I did not want to be someone else’s limited experience that created a box that says people in wheelchairs are pissy and ungrateful!
This leads me to Question #2: What did I get out of holding onto this boxed up belief?
Was this snippy, resistant behavior serving me? Well, let’s look.
On the positive side, resisting help meant that I had to figure out how to do just about everything on my own from my new, seated position. I had to use a lot of creativity and ingenuity to do this on my own.
On the down side, I was resisting help at a time when every ounce of energy could have been better spent functioning day to day. A little bit of help now and again could have helped.
Only two questions and now I was being directed to yet another box. The other box contained the long-held belief that being needy and vulnerable is bad. This one was a doozy.
Now, I have two boxes unwrapped and out of necessity, I had to make a choice about at least one of them. I asked my two big questions and the answers were pretty clear to the first box.
I chose to let go of the box that contained my belief about people in wheelchairs. I had disproven it in real life and had met countless others who were doing just fine on their own. I chose not to look at the other box very closely at that time in my life, but I left it open.
The next time we get together, however, I want to get to that because the longer we’ve had a box, the harder it is to sort through and decide what to do with it.