by Sonia Singh
People were never born with walls. So then, why do we ever create walls? We put up walls, we build walls, and some of us even add mazes to walls (Iʼm guilty of it). Is it because sometime or somewhere in the past, we were hurt, knowingly or unknowingly, and there was no one who showed us how to embrace that feeling of being hurt? We did not know how to process, move past and heal from it. Therefore, the one thing we did know, which comes naturally for most, is to protect ourselves, and not allow ourselves to be put in that position again.
The thing with walls is that it has two sides. A wall can protect you from receiving negative emotions, experiences, feelings, but it also blocks you from receiving and experiencing Godʼs full blessings. So, in order to breathe and feel that fresh air, you need to create windows within your walls, and choose wisely who you let inside your walls. It is not wrong to have a wall, but it is wrong to put everyone on the outside of your walls. You donʼt need everyone, you only need a handful of people whom you trust, who are genuine and truly care so that you may be vulnerable, honest, and you may be you! And thereʼs no better feeling than being no one else but you! As the awesome, precious person that God has made and called you to be.
One factor that might contribute to why I created these walls, could be my failure to create boundaries. Boundaries are necessary, boundaries are good. The right kind of boundaries, of course. Being in a tightly-knit asian culture, where we know nearly no boundaries. Whatʼs my business, becomes your business. And it becomes everyoneʼs business, this principle kind of goes against what we know, what Iʼve known. There is value in this, as it creates a sense of care but it can also create a false sense of care, depending on the motives
When everyone makes your business theirs, it also creates an added unnecessary pressure. It also takes peopleʼs focus away from what they should be dealing with first, their own issue, work on their own problems, their own progress (First take the speck out of your own eyes so you may clearly remove the speck in your brotherʼs) . Thereʼs a fine line between being nosy and genuinely caring. The first simply comes to take (to hear, to know whatʼs the latest story); while the latter, comes with the intention to give (a word of encouragement, a lending ear, a prayer). The first destroys, depletes trust. The latter builds. So evaluate yourself the next time youʼre about to get or share “updates”, especially when itʼs not your story to tell.
Boundaries are good, because it creates a feeling of safety. A safe environment, where you can open up, you can be honest, you can be vulnerable, and once again, you can be you! (yes, you). My lack of realization for this need of boundaries have caused me to build walls, and mazes. And it has led me no good. So now, that my walls are somewhat down, I choose wisely whom I let in, and I create necessary boundaries. Those who have earned my trust, I will let in, a step further, a step further. I donʼt know how this will work out, but this sure sounds like a much better plan than to continue living alone in that wall of mine, ever lonely, and ever suffocated and with no fresh air. Weʼll see how this goes.
Over-investing vs Giving
One of the things I struggle is, my tendency to give. I have needed to learn to tame this desire to give, because time and time again I over give and I over invest, where I should not. Those who knows me well, knows how loyal and generous I am in this regard. I give my time, my attention, and I invest in emotionally, I empathize (often times a little too much than is required).
I have always know that I have just so much love, so much care, so much to give, but I just need to be wise in who and how I choose to channel it to. (Being a type 2 in the Enneagram test, this confirms my life long wondering of why is it that I have this constant need and find fulfillment in giving).
When you give, you give what you have, with no expectation of return. You give, is an act of simply letting things out, an outflow.
But when you invest, you may sometimes put in more of what you can afford. Or you put in what you donʼt yet have. Or perhaps you have even sacrificed something, some time, some desire, some dreams, some aspect, some values, to put into that whatever youʼre investing in. And so itʼs only natural to expect some sort of return. Whether it be the same favor, the same kind of attention or the same kind of gesture somewhere down the line when you need it, in return.
Different types of relationship, requires a different kind of giving/ investing. When in a context of friendship, when in the context of relationship and within the context of marriage. They each call for a different level of giving. The Bible calls us to give our all when in the context of marriage (in return for commitment), but other than that, I believe there is only so much that can be given in outside the context of it. And we should be wise about how much you can give.
So it is key to find a balance, to know and be aware of how much I can give without feeling left dry or without feeling like he/ she is being slack, when I (in my rarest occasion) do ask for a favor/ help in return. Because I very very rarely ask for help (itʼs a pride thing, and thatʼs another story, another struggle to battle, but Iʼm working on it), so you know, when I do ask and I donʼt get the support I was hoping (the support Iʼd be willing to immediately give should I be asked), I wonʼt feel meh.
Thereʼs definitely a lot more to this, but thatʼs for another time :) Til then, God bless!