By Lindy Earl
Writers love to, and almost live to, hear feedback on their columns, articles, books, anything they write. It’s especially appreciated when it’s positive (but even negative is appreciated and helpful). If the feedback is how somebody really connected with what was written, that they felt I was writing about them or to them, it’s fabulous. I’ve been on the other side of this when I connected with someone’s words, so I understand it and I truly appreciate it. I love hearing that somebody connected so closely with something I’ve written, and this time, I really am writing to you.
I believe that everyone builds walls around their heart. Sometimes it begins in childhood, possibly because of the loss of a parent, or being bullied, or any of many reasons. Some people just start building walls very young.
When a loved one died, it hurt, so you put up a brick. You were picked on, possibly by an authority figure like a teacher – more bricks. High school was rough, so a lot of bricks were added in quick succession. Relationships didn’t happen as you had hoped, even dreamed, so add some more bricks. Each brick, or stone, or piece of wood, whatever it is you used, was added due to pain.
As we grow, and life throws stuff at us, some people dodge them. I’ve always been amazed at people who can shrug off putdowns or insults, like water off a duck’s back. Others, which I understand far better, build walls around their hearts, to make the negative comments hurt less.
As we enter relationships, we may be hurt. Some people will blame others, some will run and hide, and some will build walls around their heart.
These walls are meant to protect us – a mighty fortress, often impenetrable. But, while they protect us, they also keep other things, positive and happy and joyous things, from penetrating. They may keep us safe inside, but they also keep others outside. It gets pretty lonely inside.
Can the walls come down? Definitely! How? Of course it depends on the person and where they are in life. Do they want the walls down and are they ready to begin dismantling them? Also, the structure of the walls – were they built with cement or wood? And, how long have the walls been there? Some walls get thicker and stronger with time so are difficult to destroy. Others get rotten and wobbly so are easier to tear down.
But how? How do we tear down the walls we have built around our hearts? Some tools you might need: Time, attention, love, caring, compassion. Also, consider if you need, and have, other workers to help tear down the wall. It takes a patient person to tear down walls.
We can tear down our walls through self-confidence, a sense of humor, and self-improvement, for instance. By surrounding ourselves with positive people who will feed us encouraging messages, the walls will begin to splinter. Maybe by investing in ourselves through education or reading, the walls will lose a few bricks. Improving ourselves by being a great friend, and being interesting and being interested in others, by being caring and compassionate, should shake some mortar loose. Being tactful and sensitive will not only tear down the wall, but make the person inside that wall warmer and more compassionate. Isn’t that the person you want to be?
You have a responsibility to yourself to tear down the walls. There’s a great you underneath and you need to let that person shine. You also have a responsibility to your future self. You don’t want to live alone in your tower forever, failing to live your life out of fear of being hurt, which is why the walls were originally built.
You have a responsibility to your family and friends to tear down the walls. How can they have a great and meaningful friendship with you if you’re hiding behind things that happened, possibly years ago? They long to be part of your life, but there is something between you. They may not understand what it is. It’s invisible, but it’s there. It’s your wall. You wouldn’t want your family and friends to be alone inside their walls, so come out from your fortress.
You also have a responsibility to future significant other to tear down the wall. You may have built two walls, one around your own heart, and one around the heart of the person you hope to meet someday – theirs may be built with negative emotions and hurts that you’ve experienced and are determined to never let touch you again. If you take down the walls, you’ll find that the person you want, you will enjoy time with, you will eventually love, doesn’t have a wall around themselves – at least, not any longer. It’s in tearing down our walls, possibly together, that we have the stones to build a relationship and a new home.
We know why the wall is there. Only you know how solid and strong it is. You can start tearing it down. It’s the right decision. You can ask others to help you tear it down. It will mean making yourself vulnerable. You will have to trust others. You will have to risk being hurt. It will be worth it.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com or find her on Face Book.