Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

Quote by Robert Frost

In a literal sense, I’m probably the person who is likely to think on one hand this is great advice, on the other ‘it’ll be fine if we take that wall down, what’s the worst that can happen?’ and then live to see the consequence.

On a metaphorical level, this quote reminds me about boundaries. Of who I share my time, energy and make memories with and who I say ‘thanks for the journey’ and swiftly ask them to exit at the next train station of life.

Personally, I believe that some people (friends or family) are only meant to be with us for a short amount of time, they deliver a lesson, being joy or we learn from contrast and then we should release them, very few are wonderful enough to walk the whole journey with us.

Human fault means that we often hold on for too long, trying to recreate a relationship from decades ago. The crazy thing about this is that I am aware that events in my life mean that I am, like you, forever changing…so why we expect others to give us what we had in the past is insane?

Upon reflection, it’s worth evaluating your fences regularly…do they still serve the purpose of why you put them up? Do they bring support or perhaps they just block out the light…it which case, it’s time to let go off that particular fence panel.

Fences can enhance a space, walls can be healthy, in gardens and in relationships, but build them with solid foundations, maintain them and know when to take them down and when to strengthen them.

This advice works well for fences and people alike.

A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect

Anon

I’ve often wondered how an egg shell can be fragile and crack with ease and at other times be solid enough to bring a baby bird safely into the world, apparently it’s all do with its thickness and shape. Designed to move around in the nest and not get squashed…Mother Nature is an awesome and a mighty force.

As humans we too have shells, you can’t see them but they are present. Some are wrapped to protect people because they’ve experienced harm, they build solid walls around them and it can be hard to communicate with them, let alone create a meaningful relationship. Other are fragile, their shells break with ease and you can see the cracks in their smiles, in the way they walk, perhaps a lack of eye contact or through muffled conversation.

As April approaches I’d invite you to become more dynamic in your shell. In fact, I’d encourage you to have a walk in wardrobe of shells. Much like a hermit crab, we need different level of shells (boundaries) for different situations. Sometimes we need to opt for a thick wall to shield us from the world, solitude has its place, but at times we need to invite others in to share our shells, a large open space where we can mix with ease and light. Of course, we get to choose our shell and the level of shell needed for the interactions. On a day to day basis I would select a kinder egg shell. A thin layer of foil would keep the elements at bay, for those dearer to me (who I let in) we could share my chocolate layer and I’d save the joy (the toy) for myself.

Sometimes we all, much like the hermit crab need to be brave – we need to leave our shells to grow. Bare and exposed we would step out of our comfort zones and this is where we would need to be kind and compassionate. If you see someone leaving their comfort shell, increase respect for them. If you see a kinder egg on the shelf, handle it with care and if it does become damaged, much like each other continue to love it despite its broken parts, after all we all have joy inside of us waiting to be recognised.

You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep others warm

Quote unknown

When I saw this quote my heart sung a little with laughter.

From work to play I see humans setting themselves on fire on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking of course. So often we put others ahead of ourselves and at the end of a busy week when we have little for ourselves we still continue to serve others from empty cups.

On Friday evening I had nothing to give. Trimester one is exhausting and as I walked in the door I knew an early night was essential and that dinner would have to sort itself out. A laptop and a scroll meant that pizza would be delivered. Not my personal choice but I was past caring. We selected a film from Netflix and the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ had never been more correct. Next stop bed…

The house looks like a bombs gone off and the my laundry basket might erupt at anytime. In the light of a new day these things can be challenged but last night sleep was my only need and my only

As a parent of the messy kind that leave trails of crumbs wherever they go, are allergic to picking up toys and make unreasonable demands at unreasonable hours…we feel the need to set ourselves on fire to keep them warm, or to lie there with them until they fall asleep, to provide all they desire and make every moment count. In my experience as a teacher of teens this isn’t the solution. Giving them clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do allows them to mimic this into their relationships. Perhaps instead of going to the extreme of setting ourselves on fire we could suggest they put on a jumper?

Many parents often feel that they ‘let the kids down’ because they shouted, lost their sh*t or wasn’t there for the event they were performing in. I think if you take the time to explain why you can’t be there, they learn life skills about resilience and boundaries. I think you can unburden the chains of parental guilt by talking to your child about the reasons why and also by taking time out for you, perhaps the emotional outpours would be less frequent. We need to be brave enough to say no, listen enough to when we need to say yes and put the box of matches back in a secure cupboard on a high shelf. You are enough, you always have been and you always will be.