For centuries, walls have been built by humans to create shelters/homes and communities. Its function has always been clear, to create boundaries for security and to define property lines for ownership. It also has a metaphoric meaning, walls are also known to create emotional and relationship boundaries (or barriers as I will discuss).
Walls aren’t always built consciously; sometimes we build them up unknowingly, especially if our reason(s) for them well preceded the time that they were created. Whether they were consciously or unconsciously created, the effects are similar (or what we hope the effects to be) — to keep unwanted people and specific emotions away! The irony however, is that the same walls that supposedly protect us from disappointment and pain are the same walls that will prevent us from finding love or developing deeper and meaningful relationships. When these walls are up, we often wait on some external influence or force, such as a love interest to break them down, meanwhile those walls act as strong barriers.
It is never easy to build trust when you have struggled with relationships in the past, so it’s understandable why you create these walls in the first place. But consider asking yourselves this question: will you be fulfilled or happy in the long run knowing that there is this paradox? I want you to consider this question carefully because our instincts will usually act quickly to defend our position, so be critical about your first response. Sure pain and disappointment sucks. You may have even created a story or belief that people and relationship sucks.
But are they really? I mean people and relationships…
Disappointments and pain is a part of life because our expectations, no matter how reasonable or fair we think they are, won’t always be met. To illustrate this point, you have all applied for a job or rooted for a sports team and in both cases, there can only be one successful candidate and one winner! Naturally, there will be many disappointed people. I know the example was simple, but you get the point. Or maybe this will hit home: have you ever liked that one person that others are also chasing after? Needless to say, only one will win his/her heart.
Life is filled with many disappointments because there is also value in not getting something. I have learned this many times in my life. I have been unsuccessful at pursuing a job (many in fact) and then turned around and got an even better job! I have also failed at several relationships, but wouldn’t trade my lessons and growth for getting those relationships back. I now know what to look for in a partner and other relationships that I want to develop in my life. I bet that if you looked back at your past, you will find similar lessons and accomplishments.
Instead of building more walls, consider building bridges. The fear of disappointments and pain will always be there, it’s part of being a human being. Fear lets us know that something is important to us, so use it to your advantage! Use it as fuel to want better and strive harder towards the things that you desire to accomplish. Outwork your fear because it is relentless!
I promise you this much, if you decide to give up these walls, someday you will look back and be grateful that you took some risks and allowed yourself to be vulnerable. I usually like to end with a quote, so here’s one of my favourites:
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”