Building walls seems to be a pretty popular topic in certain circles these days. Many people are talking about building walls to keep different groups of people out of our country. Around the world, both physical borders and emotional relations between countries have gotten increasingly tense and tightened in the wake of the millions of scared souls trying to escape horrific wars in their countries simply to survive.
But with all this tension, fear, and emotional fog in our world these days, have we really forgotten what building walls actually does? What it does to our hearts? What it does to the emotional and physical well-being of each one of us here in this country and in the world?
Yes, it’s important to exercise a certain degree of caution in our lives. We wouldn’t give the contents of our wallets voluntarily to someone we didn’t know, for instance. But when we build walls, what we are really doing, whether or not we want to admit it, is this: We are showing and telling other human beings that we think they deserve less than we do.
We are trying to assert our superiority over them, these other human beings who are exactly like us. And at the root of this behavior lies a very important mentality to be aware of. This is the mentality of scarcity, or “not enough.”
When we build walls, whether that be literally around our country or emotionally in our homes or communities, what we are saying to others is this: “There is not enough for you. I fear that if you can get your fair share, there won’t be enough for me, for my family, for my ‘people.’” We have learned to fear that when we offer to others, there won’t be enough for us. And that simply doesn’t have to be true.
We can make up all the excuses we want. We can try to separate, to strengthen our own tribal connections, by saying things like, “They don’t speak our language. All of them act in this certain way. All of them do these certain things, which are dangerous or harmful. They are going to take over our country. They are to be feared. There are not enough jobs.” When, in reality, have we actually met any of “them?”
Have we listened to their stories? Have we bothered to try to see what they have in common with us? Can’t we understand, after all these millions of years of existence as a human race, that we can’t judge a whole group of people by the actions of a few? And that if we choose to do so, there can be so much great harm done in this world?
If we think there are not enough jobs for “them,” is it maybe because we don’t feel like we are getting our fair share in this world? Do we feel like we deserve more than what we’ve gotten? Are we just that unhappy in our own lives? Are we struggling to find work that is fulfilling to us, or even work that can simply provide for our own needs? Are we massively overworked and being unfairly treated at our own jobs?
If so, doesn’t that show us that it is time for large-scale collective change to take place?
Have we given up our own power to participate in this change? Have we become hopeless, angry, and cynical in the face of our own obstacles?
Building walls may feel like the right course of action at times. It may give us a temporary illusion of protection from others we may perceive to be threatening to us. But in reality, it does nothing but cause more separation and hurt in a world already screaming in pain. When we build walls, we shut out the very thing we need the most in order to overcome so many of the obstacles we face in this world. We shut out the opportunity for connection.
We also deny the deep truth that our basic survival needs, as well as our need to connect with others, are human, universal, and rights to everyone’s existence.
We are more than ever a global world now. Anything one country does can greatly affect the entire world. On a smaller scale, anything we do in our daily lives, whether we feel it is big or small, can greatly affect the lives of those around us. In our world, in our communities, in our homes, and in our hearts, will we intend to have a positive effect or a negative one? What will our actions ultimately show?
When we are scared, when we are deep into scarcity and fear that there won’t be enough for us, we can be driven to do some desperate and dangerous things. On a collective level, we can spend trillions of dollars on weapons for supposed “defense,” so much money, in fact, that we neglect the very basic needs and rights of those we claim to be defending, and also of those doing the defending. We can say things like “water is not a basic right for all.”
On a personal level, when we are scared, we can lash out at others, or we can completely shut down and numb or seethe from the inside. We can accept relationships or circumstances in our lives that perhaps we no longer should be accepting anymore. We can stray so far from our values and our integrity, as individuals and as countries.
That’s why I believe that it is more important than ever, in our world where we have become on hyper-alert and also numb to the amount of tragedy and pain taking place, to come back to our essential need for connection.
First we need to come back to connecting with ourselves. Then, we need to release the tendency to “other” anyone else around us. They’re not “others.” They’re not to be immediately feared when we don’t even truly know them. And if we all did our part to understand ourselves and to spread more love and connection throughout this world, there would be a lot less to fear and a lot more people acting in healthier ways.
Perhaps when we find ourselves feeling the desire to build walls, the first wall we should examine is the wall we’ve likely built around our own hearts. We all experience pain and tragedy in our lives. We’re human, and there’s no way around it. Sometimes, after we reach our own personal limit of pain and tragedy, we shut down.
We close out healthy connection with others. We shut off from our own feelings. But those feelings still have to come out. So they seep out into the world, in our angry Facebook comments, in the ways we react on high alert to everyday occurrences, and in the ways we treat ourselves and others around us.
The truth is that our deepest wounds will never heal this way. Sure, they’ll keep seeping out as we snap at others, or in many different ways. The greatest way to really allow our wounds to heal is to allow our hearts to open again and to actually see for ourselves what’s in there.
We don’t like to do this, because it’s temporarily painful. In fact, we find so, so many ways to avoid doing it. We don’t realize that it is just a temporary pain. We also don’t see that by not feeling the temporary pain, we only make our pain worse long-term.
We need to open our wounds up again and allow them to heal. How do we do this? We allow ourselves to feel. We allow ourselves to be our own greatest witnesses to our wounds and all of our feelings, whatever we may find in our hearts.
Opening these wounds can seem so incredibly scary to us. It can seem so extremely painful to admit to what we really find is in our hearts and our minds. But whatever we realize we feel or think, it has all been felt or thought by humans throughout our world and throughout all time.
We have been taught often to believe that what is in our hearts and minds is to be feared. That no one will ever love us if they really knew what was in there. That some thoughts and feelings are acceptable to have and to show in society, and some are not. But we will never find anything in our hearts or minds that is not part of our universal human experience. It’s all been thought or felt before, in slightly different but oh-so-similar ways, by billions and billions of people throughout time.
It’s normal to feel scared to explore this inner landscape. After all, society hasn’t yet caught on completely that doing so is actually what will help heal us as individuals and as a world. Society as a whole is still too caught up in fear and in scarcity. But I so believe that in order to find the healing that I know we are capable of having in this world, it is absolutely necessary that we take down the walls of our hearts.
Brick by brick, let’s take down our walls. What brick will you remove from the wall around your heart this week, this year, this day? Which part of yourself will you allow yourself to see, accept, and offer love to?
Let’s take down our walls, little by little, and let’s be mindful of not building any more. That doesn't mean that we intentionally allow ourselves to get hurt in the process. It means that we offer ourselves and others the same amount of extraordinary love we all have in immense quantities. We don't have to connect with individuals who have actually proven to hurt us, especially repeatedly. We can offer those people forgiveness and love from a distance.
But the world, and our hearts, don’t need more walls. They need more love. And the greatest thing we can ever do for ourselves, and for the health of this world, is to offer more love to all those parts of ourselves that are crying out so desperately for our own love, from behind the walls we’ve built around our hearts.
Which wall will you begin to dismantle today? And in doing so, how will you carry your love for yourself and for others out into the world so that, person by person, home by home, community by community, and maybe country by country, we can all live in a more peaceful, loving, kind, and empathetic world?
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I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me a personal note through my Contact page, or leave a comment below. How have you built walls in your life? What are some ways that you can allow yourself to dismantle those walls?
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No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,