People generally don’t want to feel sad or have their feelings hurt. However, we can’t completely avoid pain and sadness. They are often the flip side of joy and happiness. People sometimes ‘build walls’ around themselves in an effort to protect themselves but this creates other problems.
I got to thinking when I read the following quote by Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker, ‘The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.’ It made me think of a gardening article which suggested one way to keep butterflies from laying eggs which hatch into caterpillars on your vegetables. You can protect the plants with fine fabric netting. The problem is this also stops bees from pollinating the flowers so you won’t get any vegetables developing.
Sometimes people avoid getting too close to others with whom they could have a romantic relationship because they fear betrayal or having their heart broken. It is often the response to having been badly hurt in the past. However, if you avoid the closeness you don’t experience the real joy that can only come from trusting someone and sharing with that person.
A person may have been hurt by a platonic friend, a family member or a work colleague. Their reaction may be to build a wall. The idea is if you don’t let people get too close you don’t give them the potential to hurt you. This is letting a bad experience from the past hinder the joy you might be able to feel in the present if you left yourself open to a new relationship. It is kind of living in the past.
As we get older and have more experience we do learn that some people will drain our energy and are toxic is some way. Some people are very negative or will use us. With time one gets better at recognising these personalities and cutting ties or limiting contact (depending on the situation) with these people. However, there are many people who can be trusted. We don’t want to keep these positive people out of our lives by building walls because then we miss joy and laughter. .
What can we do instead of building a wall? Perhaps we need to work on our self esteem so we aren’t depending on others to ‘make us happy’. Perhaps we need to have a positive outlook so we aren’t expecting to be hurt. Perhaps we need to be confident in ourselves so we don’t feel we are being snubbed or rejected when perhaps the problem is our own fear and insecurity. Perhaps we need to believe in ourselves and our ability to recover from disappointment. Perhaps we need to realise that sometimes things don’t work in a friendship or relationship because of issues the other person has.
Maybe we need to look for the good in every day instead of anticipating rejection and pain. Maybe we need to look for the joy in our relationships and life in general. Living in the present rather than looking back at sadness and hurt which have occurred in the past is probably a good place to start.