Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Building walls

great wallThose of you that have ever been involved with construction know that it is generally easier to demolish something than to build it -- much easier to take a sledgehammer to a wall and knock it down then to level the ground, set the bricks, and add the mortar.

It's interesting, then, that people are so good at building their own walls and aren't so good at tearing them down.  I'm not talking about the wall around your gated community or the fence between you or your neighbor, or the the drywall-covered studs in your house, but rather the emotional walls that all of us build for one reason or another.

We don't start out with walls around us, but things happen in our lives that cause us to carefully and exactingly build up emotional walls.  If you get burned by relationships too many times, for example, you might build a wall that makes it hard for you to let people get close to you.  In business, for example, if you get stabbed in the back enough times, you'll build a wall that acts to prevent people you work with from getting close enough to stab you in the back in the future.

Why is it so hard for us to tear down our emotional walls?  Because it takes us a long time to build them.  Because it's safe and comfortable and easier behind our walls.  Because it's easier to leave our walls up and avoid hard decisions by simply hiding behind our walls.

Please don't misunderstand: I think that some walls are important; they do protect us from things that might otherwise negatively impact us in ways that we might not be able to possibly conceive.  What I worry about, however, is that some people hiding behind walls that are so hard to tear down are missing out on amazing things.

So here's my advice: find your walls, admit that they exist, and figure out how you would tear them down (or at least put a door into it; lock and key is fine) for the right person. 

Great Wall picture from Steve Webel  

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