“Unless you have bad times, you can’t appreciate the good times.” – Joe Torre
Stashed away in the secrets of my closet is a Love Box. And, no, it’s not my collection of sex toys…
I wish I could think of a better name but that’s how it was presented to me so that’s how I’ll pass it along. Too often my stupid, macho pride (I’m not even much of a beefcake) gets in the way of fully embracing helpful and practical tools. So, Love Box it is!
My counselor suggested I keep a box full of notes, letters, and pictures from close friends and family that remind me of lights in my life when I am in the darkness of depression and anxiety. In those seasons, it can be all too tempting to flail to one of two extremes: either I shrink into isolation and despair, or I desperately cling to those I love while fearing that they don’t love me. Having a Love Box, however, presents a third option that cuts these two extremes with a practical medium.
When those nagging voices start whispering in my ears telling me that I am stupid, not good enough, don’t measure up; or that I am alone, disliked, undervalued, unappreciated, I sneak into my closet and peer through my growing collection of memorabilia from family and friends. These speak directly against the false accusations and soberly remind me of needed truths. I read “I love the man you are and are becoming” from my wife; “I have grown to love you like a brother” from a good friend; “I thank God for the talents he has entrusted you with” from another friend; and from still another, “You too often struggle to see it, but you are indeed a valuable man with so much to offer this world.” I have collected pictures of me and my wife, and me with my best friends. I keep an unopened copy of each album that my old folk band recorded back in the day to remind myself of those proud accomplishments. There really is no limit to what one could keep in a Love Box.
When I started doing this, I didn’t want to tell people about it. I quietly collected notes and pictures here or there. That’s all fine and dandy but when I decided to tell my core group, it actually paid off. They were highly supportive of the idea and I even got a few more letters than I might have if I had stayed quiet.
So, get a Love Box and instead of flailing to one extreme or the other when in the dark, just sneak to your closet (or wherever you put it), open the box, and read through the reasons people love you; flip through the pictures of better times; or reminisce of proud accomplishments. And while you’re in the closet, go ahead and hang up that macho pride for the dust bunnies.