I love watching Marie Kondo go to town on someone’s house - it’s both virtually cathartic and absurdly reassuring that I’m not the only one with procrastination piles. The relief on people’s faces when they boldly open closets with zero avalanche anxiety or sashay into their garage where there is actually room for cars is a rewarding thing to watch. Apparently a positive emotional response to simply tidying up our physical spaces is a big thing.
Now, can you imagine the emotional response of decluttering your head space?
Exactly. It’s a much bigger space :)
This is why we created the negative box.
The simple act of tossing our negative thoughts in the fire on New Year’s Eve to let that shit go was just as powerful as reading our positive thoughts to each other. What I learned is that the negative box is the silent workhorse in the Dwelling Boxes set. It may get less insta attention, but here’s why your negative box is the key to finding more space for gratitude.
The negative box is a tool for forgiving not forgetting.
I'm a little sus when people scream NO REGRETS! People are flawed and we make mistakes. Thank goodness, it’s how we handle them that is usually more important than the actual mistake. Acknowledging negativity and working through relationship issues is a normal and necessary part of life. However, dwelling on negativity or worse - lording a problem over someone you love is a toxic waste of time. The negative box is your chance to acknowledge something painful or worrisome, address it with someone if you need to, and then LET IT GO.
Which brings me to the second reason I love the negative box...
The negative box is a silent contract to keep growing forward.
Many years ago I had a conversation with my mother-in-law about relationships and how to keep them strong. She told me about a system she and my father-in-law used to resolve issues and keep resentment at bay before it even had a chance to fester.
So simple - so smart. They each had a legal notepad and every week they would take a minute to write down a few things they appreciated about each other - but more importantly, a few things that needed work. Then they sat at the kitchen table for a quick weekly rundown. Sometimes the list was big, but mostly it was the little annoyances that come with living together. These frequent check ins meant they could grow together with MINOR compromises and teenie tweaks instead of what happens so often; years of resentment residue builds up so thick you can’t even see each other anymore.
THE BEST PART OF THEIR SYSTEM? Once an issue was resolved, they scratched it off the list and it became a silent contract. The contract meant “we’ve acknowledged this. We agree to work on it. We will not re-hash this every single time we are annoyed.”
Ever been in a groundhog day argument? Yep - us too.
Finally, the last reason I love the negative box is because sometimes you just want to vent and it’s not even productive to do it in front of someone. Yes I can just shout in my car - but seriously - that makes me look crazy and there is no closure.
This is where many people turn to a journal.
This is where paranoid people lie in their own journal.
The negative box is your own tiny honesty vault.
Unconditional love and understanding is not easy to come by unless you are a child or a puppy. I’m really fortunate to have people in my life I can trust with anything - but if I’m being honest, there are just some feels that I’m not proud of that I need to feel and then let go - by myself. This is why the negative box is glued shut. You can feel free to let it rip. The negative box doesn’t open - once the bad stuff goes in, you are not getting it out to re-read or re-hash it (unless you have very strangely long skinny fingers that have no bones in them.)
Here’s to de-cluttering our brains in 2020. I can’t wait to mentally organize all of the moments that matter.