boundaries: it takes courage to take down walls

Walls…

Doors keep people in or they keep them out.
But walls…walls protect us from the elements.

Walls protect us from heat and cold, from wind and rain…from storms. Walls take a long time to build. There must be planning and design, gathering of materials, and weeks or months of construction. But they can be brought down in minutes—whether by natural disaster, implosion, or a big ‘ol wrecking ball. It doesn’t take much to level a wall.

Walls around our hearts…

Walls around our hearts serve the same purpose—to protect us.
But their construction and deconstruction are entirely different.

Doors to our hearts keep people in or keep them out.
But walls…walls protect us from experiences.

We put up walls to protect ourselves from threatening conditions, usually in response to fear: fear of being hurt again, of being unloved, of being vulnerable or rejected. If like myself, you are navigating Plan B for your life, you almost certainly erected some walls when things went awry with Plan A.

Walls are an instinctive response to stress.

Walls are our unrestrained reactions to the vulnerabilities of pain, grief, or loss.  And they go up fast!  I wonder if in moments of pain, we can choose not to put up walls.  I’m beginning to think no.  I believe it is an instinctive response to a threat. Much like our bodies involuntarily produce adrenaline in stressful situations, our hearts produce walls. When our brains sense imminent danger, a whole series of physiological reactions take place as the body instantly prepares to protect itself. We instinctively commit to fight or flight. Once the perceived danger is removed, our bodies naturally return to a normal state of operation. I think walls go up in the same way.

We react to stress by involuntarily throwing up walls to protect our hearts. Walls are a natural defense.  But I also tend to believe we can choose how high they are built and when to take them down. It takes far more time and effort to remove a wall than it ever took to build it. Deconstruction is not a response or reaction. It is a deliberate choice.

It takes courage to take down walls.

Walls are disassembled with courage.  Courage to feel again, to love again, to risk pain or rejection again.  Bringing them down may take months or years to accomplish. Often times, it just never happens. But when it does, it is rarely a reckless moment that causes them to crumble. It is a deliberate determination to be healthy and happy and whole again. Courage is what methodically brings down walls, piece by piece. |Click to Tweet|

Is it possible to live a  happy life and still maintain a few walls?

Perhaps to some degree you can experience a sense of happiness with a few short walls. But if you want to live life fully present—arms wide open—then eventually, the walls must come down. The truth is, the same walls that protect us from the sting of the rain also shield us from the warmth of the sun.

I for one, want the sunlight full on my face.

If you are living life under a shadow, chances are it is because there is a wall between you and the sun. Chasing shadows away doesn’t work. The damn things keep following you around. Be brave. Go to the source. Identify what your walls are made of and start taking them down, one stone at a time. Take as much time as you need. But know this: if you refuse to deal with the tender places, they will eventually deal with you.

I am writing from personal experience. It is a very painful process to take down walls. Removing the stones is healing, but it requires uncovering a few wounds first. And that hurts.

Take a chance on your healing. Your heart is so worth it. |Click to Tweet|

  4Comments

  1. Jen   •  

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 Taking down walls is hard, and sometimes a recurring struggle for me, but it is worth it!

    • andriabicknell   •     Author

      Thank you, Jen. Recurring…you’re right. It’s definitely a process…but, well worth every effort.

  2. Nancy   •  

    Beautiful words, my friend! And oh so true! I remember each stone and am so thankful I finally let the sun in again!

    • andriabicknell   •     Author

      Thank you, Nancy. You are truly an inspiration to me!

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