How to know when you’ve outgrown “The Box”, and what to do about it… Part I of III
The idea occurred to me as we sat over dinner and she related to me yet another intense fight she was having with her boyfriend, initiated by her irrational jealousy of any contact he had with other women.
As she related the fight to me blow-by-blow I realized three things:
One ~ Since sitting down for dinner, she had yet to ask me how I was doing.
Two ~ I had heard some version of this exact drama at least a quadrillion times over the five years of our friendship.
Three ~ I didn’t like the person sitting before me very much at all.
Two weeks later I called off the friendship, much to her shock and chagrin. In spite of her vivid anger, I felt colossal relief about ending the toxic relationship, and haven’t looked back since.
I realized that in the five years of our acquaintance, I had grown. She hadn’t. And I no longer wanted to be her pseudo-counselor for all her personal problems. I wanted equity in our friendship, and she was unable and unwilling to give it.
My responsibility lay in the fact that I agreed to her standards for far too long. I allowed her to put me into a tiny, uncomfortable box. I squinched myself up in that box until I couldn’t stand it anymore. At which point I stood up, said goodbye, and walked away.
Since then, I’ve become more adept at identifying boxes others would like to put me into… taking on too many tasks at work, changing my values to fit the preference of a man I’m dating, or giving an “A” to a student when a “B” is more appropriate. I know better now. And even when it feels risky, I’m willing to step up and out of whatever box is placed before me and be more my authentic self.
Here’s the Truth for today: You are too big, grand, and wonderful to be put into a box. And as you grow older, wiser, and more authentic, you will find you’ve outgrown the boxes that, in your younger years, felt plenty roomy for you.
So the question is this: What have you outgrown? In what areas of your life do you feel cramped, shut down, cut off, uncomfortable, or edgy? And what purpose does it serve to keep yourself in that too-small space?
I encourage you today to engage in some serious self-examination, so you can identify these areas starving for change, for room, for space and light and air.