boxes, cupboards and life

box cupboard key
In relationships there are often routine niggles. I’m sure you have them. A different perspective between you and your partner that crops up from time to time. Never something to truly fall out over, but ever present nonetheless.

At home one of ours is cupboards. I see a cupboard as a filing system. I want to go to it to find something easily. To know where things are and to be able to access them without searching, without moving anything to get to them. My wife sees cupboards as storage depots. For her, it’s somewhere to hide stuff away. The more you can squeeze in the better – because if you can’t see it, it’s tidy. Neither right, neither wrong, just different.

As you might imagine this difference can lead to the occasional fractious ‘conversation’, or pile of stuff on the floor. This happened the other day.

It served to remind me that the motivation or trigger for our behaviour as human beings is often hidden, whilst the storm of the action is all too visible.

It also served to remind me of cupboards, boxes, walls and other ways of hiding things.

In my coaching work I often work with people who use a phrase such as ‘I’ve boxed that away’ or ‘I’ve put that back in the box’. Sometimes there is a whole wall, behind which much can be hidden.

An interesting metaphor – and like our cupboards at home,  is it there so the contents can be found quickly, or there because you want to hide them away? Generally of course it’s the latter. The box often contains hurt or pain. We don’t want to feel it again, so we keep the lid closed.

Often when asked, or sometimes unconsciously volunteered, my client will indicate where the box is. On their left, just behind them, or down to the right at their feet for example. Generally we know where the box is in relationship to our physicality.

A bit like me interacting with our cupboards at home though, something comes along occasionally to unexpectedly open the cupboard and the contents fall out. In an uncontrolled mess.

Cupboards and boxes can be useful. Not when we keep a part of ourselves shut away in them.

If you have a personal box or cupboard, find a way to reorganise it. Very carefully, maybe with someone’s support, open the box or cupboard and sort it out. Throw away some things you no longer need in your life, polish and cherish some parts you do and put them proudly on display, reorganise some other contents and index them differently. Embrace who you are. Your story is just your story. Care for yourself.

Boxes and cupboards can be useful, when used appropriately.


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