Bridges & Walls

Relationships are important to success. According to studies, healthy relationships are also a HUGE factor in not just quality of life, but even in length of life. As a human being, our need to be connected to other people is bigger, and I mean bigger than the wall that Trump wants to build on our country’s southern border.  

Speaking of walls, they are not good for the human soul. I am not convinced they are good for country borders either. In both cases, they represent a failure to solve the underlying problem—lack of meaningful communication.   

Bridges, on the other hand, represent real solutions and are so needed.  We really need to learn how to build bridges. Bridges are great for spanning the gaps and barriers that keep us apart. In case you are wondering, at this point, if I am going to go off on a political rant in this post, the answer is no. I will leave it up to you to find double meanings in my metaphors as we plow ahead on the subject of personal relationships. After all, we know politics have nothing to do with relationships.  

Emotional walls are often employed as a defense mechanism to keep from being hurt (or letting bad hombres in). Who wants to be hurt, especially emotionally? There is no emotional fetish industry that I am aware of. If there is I would rather just remain naïve.  

The problem with walls though are that they do two things which are not good in relationships—they keep things out and they keep things in. Relationships can’t thrive when either of these things are going on. It is just as important to get out of your own head as it is to let others into your head—and heart.  

When you employ an emotional wall strategy to keep from being hurt, what you are doing, in essence, is drinking salt water to quench your thirst. It doesn’t work and actually exacerbates the very condition you are trying to address. If you keep trying to quench your thirst by drinking salt water, you end up dying of thirst. In the case of using emotional walls, you end up alone and isolated—and hurting. We as humans are built to thrive on connections with other humans. It’s what studies have shown over and over again.  

As you reflect on your own relationships, are there times you build walls when a bridge would have been better? Maybe it’s time to reconsider a past relationship and reconnect with someone—a sibling or other family member, a friend, an ex-wife (well . . . maybe best not to go there.) Not that you would have the same relationship—you can never go home as the saying goes, nor would you want to. But maybe it’s time for something better, a relationship that is emotionally rewarding based on a future full of new and rich personal connections. It is extremely satisfying building a new and rewarding relationship with someone you already know.  

Tearing down a wall will most likely mean letting others see a little more of who you are. I know for myself, I could let others see a little more of me. Not because I am so wonderful, but because I am so human, and it is there that we can connect. 

So, start building bridges. Real meaningful connections with others is HUGE (to paraphrase a certain president once again.) Even if their primary language is Spanish. 

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