The other day we were talking about the hallmarks of a junk drawer. (Is there anyone who didn’t grow up with one?) We were all hysterical as we listed the iconic items in a junk drawer:
- Dried up rubber bands
- At least one leaky battery
- A pen with no ink (that always gets put back in the drawer!!)
- A tangled piece of loose string
The drawer gets jammed every time you attempt to open it because there are always random loose papers overflowing the edges. And the final blow the junk drawer levies is a random, sharp & pointy object that leaves you poked and bleeding every time you go in (usually a compass that no one ever uses!).
Our junk drawers are filled with things that “we might need someday,” even though, again and again, we return to the junk drawer and frustratedly think “why did I keep this!” and "ugh, I need to deal with this."
But instead of throwing it out or attending to it, we just jam it back into the drawer.
Well, we have junk drawers in our minds too. We hold onto perspectives, opinions, judgements about others, unresolved feelings, and memories that we mistakenly think “we might need someday.” And instead of expressing, processing, and dealing with them, we tuck them back into the drawer and hang on to them. And we pay the price.
They jam us up. Inflict pain and upset. They keep us stuck in unworkable patterns. So, why do we hang onto them?
Just like the leaky battery, we don’t want to “touch” the items filling the junk drawer in our mind. It might be poisonous, best leave it alone. I’ll handle it later. I’m too busy to deal with it right now.
Think of your judgments as your dried rubber bands and leaky batteries. The more we leave them alone, the more the junk piles up, and it gets harder and harder to sort out. You know it has gotten really bad when you have to start a second junk drawer!
It takes courage to pull up your waders and go into your junk drawer; by definition it has been neglected. And, usually what we neglect needs extra attention when we finally decide to attend to it.
It will take determination and consistency. But it’s worth it. Like the junk drawers in our homes, sometimes you find a treasure when you clean out your mind.