There are walls upon walls upon walls in me, and I’ll admit it, I built them myself. I laid them down, brick by brick with my own two hands.

I used to see only brokenness in these walls, but not now. They speak of pain, yes, but also of hope. Even in my darkest hours, I must have seen something in me worth protecting.

I built these walls to save myself.

Every brick in every wall contains a memory. A wound, a trauma, a failure, a pain. I built these walls with love to block out the words exchanged when they shouldn’t have been, promises made and broken, dreams pushed down, betrayals.

With enough time and experience, these walls grew thick. Behind the walls built on anger, I built walls on fear. Behind those, sorrow. Behind those, shame.

If I listen closely, I can hear each one begging me to take it down. I wished they would crumble so many times, throwing stones and kicking them, hoping they would fall. But I also clung to them as my only sense of self. I feared letting them go.

Even when I hated them, I believed I needed them for protection against something I didn’t have the strength to face, that danger lurked on the other side.

And after all that time, I didn’t know where the walls ended and I began.

The walls did protect me, I think. Why else would I keep building?

I’ve seen what lies beyond them once or twice, shining through the cracks along the foundation. And when I press my ear against these walls, I hear it rushing, like the ocean in a shell.

That’s where I want to go now, to whatever lies beyond. I want to bask in it and breathe it in.

Still, the walls remain. I have yet to find the door. No matter. I shall build one myself.

I will clear the way through these walls the same way I built them. Brick by brick, with love. To each, I will bow and offer my thanks.

I will offer my love to the memories I unearth, the spiders scurrying from the light. As for the pains and fears I uncover, I will love them, too.

I will bless them all as I go. And I will thank the burn in my muscles for telling me of the good work of healing.

There’s a reason for every brick in every wall. Look on them with love and you will see. At some point, you saw something in you worth protecting. @ralph_leslie (Click to Tweet!)

When you’re ready to see what lies beyond them, do not tear them down in fear or hate.

Clear the way through the same way they were built. Brick by brick, with love.

Leslie Ralph is a psychologist, writer, and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it.  Her people are creative, sensitive spirits who crave love and peace, inside and out. Leslie is the author of There, I Might Find Peace: Poetry and Prose, Mantras and Meditations for Peace, Love, and Strength. Download her free gift, a ritual for receiving, a daily ritual for bringing more love and light, clarity and confidence, meaning and connection to your life. You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Kinga Cichewicz