March 25, 2024

A Wall or a Door: Understanding how we Experience our Lives & Relationships.

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“Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is.” ~ Mark Groves

“I have hit a wall.”

We’ve all heard this expression in life. We get what it means. A limit. An obstacle. A barrier. A hindrance, perhaps. But it is something that, in some way, limits access and movement.

However, most of us have had a less solid perspective on boundaries. Some of us have no clue what they are while some of us execute practicing healthy examples of them.

And some of us are in the middle—we stumble over discovering and implementing what personally is important to us, what keeps us safe, healthy, and accurately in touch with who we are.

We seem to struggle with knowing what a wall is, what a boundary is, and why we view those things as such.

We, therefore, need to identify, deal with, and correct what structure is a wall and what is a door.

Tough work. But we need to start it, and it begins with awareness.

Walls: All or Nothing?

Okay, so we have been hurt.

Abuse, bad relationships, exploitation, and some real examples of danger and dysfunction can all play a part in our definition of being hurt.


We erect them because we are feeling endangered. And we want to protect ourselves against that danger, and the future hurt that comes with it.

Walls because…

It’s unsafe; we feel unsafe. Probably, because we are subject to unsafety.

Walls because…

Lack and scarcity are present. Abusive dynamics are normalized. Rejection, and an absence of healthy love, are dominantly expressed in our lives.

And also walls because…

No discernment. Permissiveness. Behavior. Part of which includes silence and secrecy.

It’s not a secret that we can wall off anyone having access to us, both for survival and self-protection. But walls can also trap us with someone or something unhealthy and dangerous.

We are ashamed, scared, devoted to something that can hurt and kill us.

We are dependent on it to meet a need, to deliver a heart’s desire.

We are in need. We are starving. So, we take any crumbs offered.

That promotes abuse and unhealthy behavior because we accept mistreatment, disrespect, cruelty, and abuse. We settle for less than our worth. We endure that which we do not deserve.

Walls kept up can keep others out, and walls can also keep unhealthy dynamics going, keeping us trapped from within.

Walls can keep us distracted, overwhelmed, and ignorant of another reality and practice: boundaries.

Doors: Boundaries are the Doorknob.

If we can learn about the existence of the door, with boundaries being the doorknob, we can maybe become healthier individuals, with better lives to show for it.

A boundary isn’t just a loud stop sign. A boundary is a decision and a value assessment. And most of us are not good at properly valuing ourselves.

Boundaries include…

Discretion. Self-respect. Self-knowledge.

Limits on access. The word “no.”

Entrance. Intimacy. Behavior.

These are some of the synonyms and associations for the concept of a “boundary.”

And there is one more thing concerning boundaries…


That involves teaching, also known as education.

No matter how we view it, it still doesn’t change how the reality of requirement’s existence hinges upon learning what to protect and value, deciding who and what has access and influence regarding us.

That’s an ongoing learning lab, with us constantly changing, reevaluating, and growing.

With requirement, we come to discover that it’s not about granting unearned, unconditional love. We do require more.

Knowing our worth, over time and life lessons, mandates us to require more.

Now we know better who we are. Now we know better what is and is not a dealbreaker.

If we have done any of the deep, personal, and meaningful work we need to do, we will know better what we require in life.

If we look at a doorknob, we see its simple power.

A doorknob is a visible part of the door. It doesn’t engulf the entire door. But it’s a vital component in dictating what is allowed in and out of the rooms of our lives, and what those rooms represent.

A doorknob turns, opens and closes. to varying degrees. That is symbolic of boundaries.

And a doorknob operates on a case-by-case basis. It intentionally turns, opens and closes. There’s nothing really happenstance or accidental about it.

And that’s how we should approach boundaries.

Intentionally. Thoughtfully. Personally.

What is important to us?

What access will we allow someone or something, based upon the answer to that question?

A Wall or a Door: Identifying and Understanding a Structure.

A wall is largely a barrier. It separates one thing from another. A wall of a house. A wall guarding our hearts.

A door bridges what is on either side of the wall.

A door opens and closes.

A door allows and forbids access.

A door can be locked, but it must deliberately be locked. It won’t happen on its own.

What structure governs our lives? What is an absolute? What can be negotiated? Knowing, and acting upon those answers is empowering.

We decide.

What structure dominates how we experience our lives?

How do we experience access, safety, love, and relationships?

Through a wall or a door?


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