I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about fences lately. This could be because now that it seems like spring has finally arrived I am planning my garden and am seriously considering putting a fence around it. I love the wildlife we have around our home, I just don’t think they need to eat my hard work.
I have researched a few fences, spent a little (ok, a lot) of time on Pinterest, and considered the functionality of a good fence. This one is a personal favourite:
(photo courtesy of http://www.mygardenstories.blogspot.com)
A thought occurred to me: Fences keep things out, but they also work to keep things in.
Ok, it’s not exactly rocket science, nor is it an overwhelmingly deep thought, this I know. But that one idea started a thought process: Some people build emotional walls to protect themselves. I wondered if maybe an emotional fence might work just as well.
A fence is a freestanding structure designed to restrict or prevent movement across a boundary. Fences differ from walls because of the lightness of their construction and their purpose. Walls are usually barriers made from solid brick or concrete, blocking vision as well as passage, while fences are used more frequently to provide visual sectioning of spaces (information courtesy of wikipedia.com).
A fence is a form of a boundary. It is commonly accepted that a fence usually means do not enter without permission. Important things are fenced in for the protection of themselves or for the protection of others. Most often times a fence will have a gate to allow entrance, and maybe even a lock.
Fences work to keep things out. Wild animals, predators, hungry deer, rabbits, and critters who like to munch on garden goodies are often deterred by a fence. A fence offers some protection to the things which it surrounds. A fence can often still allow a line of sight, but meanwhile still draws a line of privacy.
Fences work to keep things in. Pets, yards, even small children are often fenced in. Fences work to protect the things inside of them, but also to the things outside of them. Dangerous animals and situations are often placed in a fenced in area in order to protect others from them on the outside of the fence.
An emotional fence is really no different. This type of fence surrounds the person and offers protection and security for them against other people’s opinions, judgments, biases, perceptions, and actions. It can offer the individual a way to place a boundary line between that person and other people or situations which may have caused them pain, hurt, or betrayal in the past, or which is believed might happen again in the future.
An emotional fence can also work the other way as well. An individual may choose to put up an emotional fence in an attempt to segregate himself from others. He may not be happy within himself and may not want to subject anyone else to his negativity. An individual may also feel that it is better to be “fenced off” from others, especially if he is struggling with his own issues.
Some don’t believe in putting up emotional walls, and so I’m not so sure fences will be readily accepted by those people either. I once told a friend that I saw the value of putting up walls as a way of protecting myself from getting hurt, especially from people who may have hurt me before. The wall offers protection from letting the person who caused the hurt to get too close again, it demands that they keep a respectable distance, and allows for the seclusion needed to find peace and healing within oneself. Perhaps the fence could be considered the happy medium. Conversation can still occur over and through a fence. A fence can have a gate to allow others in. A fence can even be taken down without others ever even knowing that one had been there in the first place.
The reality is that emotional walls and fences can be necessary in dealing with the world and its events. One doesn’t have to look too far to see the evil, the pain, and the torment which humanity inflicts on its own. Bombs, terrorist attacks, and senseless killings rock our world continuously. There seems to be no reason for the attacks on innocent people, some children, like those affected by the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon. Bullying still prevails even though we have educated, documented, and reported continuously. Many are determined to fill this world with hurt and sadness. I don’t know why this is – I just know that it isn’t right.
John Locke said, “The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.”
So until (read: even if ever) a thorough knowledge of the world and the people in it is obtained, I don’t think a fence is a totally bad idea. If an emotional fence offers you some protection from the hurt and pain that faces you on a regular basis, then I say there is nothing wrong with putting one up. If you need time behind that fence to regroup, rethink, and reevaluate others and the world as you perceive them, then take that time. There is nothing wrong with fencing yourself off from others who may continue to hurt you for whatever reason. There is no harm in giving yourself space, creating a boundary, and even protecting yourself from others. Just make sure that those who truly love and want the best for you know how to get through the gate.
(photo courtesy of www.ideaspectrum.com)
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