Walls. What do you think of when you hear that word? Wood walls, plaster walls, brick walls? What about emotional walls, the often deleterious walls that prevent us from moving forward in life and living in the present instead of dwelling on the past.
People put up emotional walls for many different reasons. Maybe they got abused during childhood and are unwilling to trust people, lack the self-confidence to show their inner selves or have perhaps been burned in a relationship.
These walls are built for protection, to keep our emotions bottled up so we don’t open our hearts and thereby make ourselves vulnerable to pain. It’s the once bitten, twice shy syndrome. But the bitter irony is they don’t protect us at all. They prevent us from really living, enjoying life and experiencing true happiness and even true love. They actually hurt us. Let me give you an example, even though it’s a rather painful one. I try not to live my life with any regrets. If I want something, or have a particular goal in mind, I go after it full-tilt, often jumping off the cliff even before I check and see if the parachute is fastened on, never mind working.
But, if I have to be perfectly honest with myself, there are a few itsy bitsy, teeny weeny regrets I have regarding matters of the heart. I’m talking relationships. About six years ago, I met a woman through a mutual friend, and eventually we started dating. I was head over heals for her. Things went well for about three months until she started getting more serious, hinting of a life together and finally coming right out and asking me if I would like to move in with her. This sent me on a tail-spin, sent my mind wandering off in all different directions, dwelling on the past relationships that I had had, and how in a few cases I had been burned badly, even having exes cheating on my with my best friends. Double whammy. To make a long story short, I pushed her away, thought of every reason imaginable why we couldn’t be together and eventually the relationship ended. Long story short, upon reflection of what I had done, I was devastated and angry at myself.
The other thing it made me realize was the wall I had built to protect my emotions ended up shattering into a million pieces like a glass menagerie. It prevented me from entering into what could have been an amazing experience with true love. To make matters worse, I had put this woman through hell, just trying to protect myself. She didn’t deserve it. I dragged my emotional baggage from the past into the present and it prevented me from living in the present.
In the aftermath of that stupidy, I did a lot of soul-searching. And I had to remind myself that life is about learning, helping others, growth, change and love. If we are not engaged in any or all of those intangibles, we aren’t really living. We’re going through the motions and insulating ourselves from the true joy life can offer.
How about this solution? View the walls you have constructed as small logs stacked on a wall of wood like you see here. Whether literally or metaphorically, everytime you see the wall rearing its ugly head, take one of those logs off the wood pile, and pitch it into a blazing bonfire. Exorcise the demons slowly and methodically and begin living again. I know it worked for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have walls, perhaps we all do to some degree. I’m just much more conscious of them and try to burn those little demons down whenever I get the chance.
And even though they say, “never say never” I’m going to say it. I’ll never let an emotional wall block a potential path to true love. I hope you can say the same.