Not so long ago I went to China on a holiday. It was a tour, and one of the many things we visited was the Great Wall. I was so excited! I had always wanted to go and see it. 

I think the Wall is part of "the 7 wonders", and it's absolutely huge. The length of the Wall that we see today is about 6000 km long. It was built to protect the Chinese Empire from the Mongolians and other invaders. It was also built to keep Chinese citizens from leaving China.

Another wall that was built for almost the same reasons was the Berlin Wall. This Wall divided East and West Berlin and had both a physical and an ideological purpose. Officially it was build to keep Western "fascist" out of East Germany, but it also kept people from the East defecting to the West.

Again, the use of the wall is two-fold: protection from outside invaders, and as a barrier for people to get out.

Today we still do something very similar, although not that obvious; we still have borders to prevent enemies to get into our country.

That made me think. So many walls have been built to keep people out...

I started to think about my own personal wall that I kept up for so many years. I didn't let too many people in, because I was afraid that someone would hurt me.

When a baby is born it doesn't have any walls. It can't, because it is relying on other people to care for it. They have to trust, because there is no other way they can survive. When they fall, do they stay down? When they get hurt, do they keep on crying? No, they get up, dry their tears and try again.

But when you grow up, you have all different experiences throughout your life. When you have too many negative experiences, when you get hurt too many times by others, then, all too often you build a wall around your heart.

That sure will help you protect yourself from harm, but it also doesn't let any love in, and when you keep your wall up all the time, you risk getting pretty lonely. 

I know, because that is exactly what I used to do. And, to be very honest, it is still a hard thing for me to let go and let my wall down. I have started trusting more and more people, and I even am willing to take a risk and let more people in, but it isn't always an easy thing to do. I have been hurt too many times. 

But I am aware what I am doing, and often I push myself to open up and at the very least try to let other people in. Overcoming fear by being courageous is one way of lowering that wall.

To be courageous you have to have a fair amount of self-love and faith. You have to believe that whatever happens, you'll be fine.

No matter who you are or what you do, you are beautiful, strong, and worthy of love from yourself and love from others.

For years and years I faked these things; I didn't feel love, not even from myself, I didn't feel beautiful and I didn't feel strong or even worthy of all these loving and good things.

Today though, I am a pretty positive person. I love myself, and I know that I am loved by my family and many friends. I am also strong, courageous and I have faith that I will be just fine, no matter what happens.

So, I hear you asking; "How did you do that?"

First I accepted that I didn't need to be perfect to be pretty good. I discovered more and more things that I am pretty good at. Like I said; not perfect, but pretty good.

As I love trying out new things, I pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone, each time a little bit further.

I tried to look at myself, as if I were looking at my best friend. Believe me when I say that most people are a lot harder on themselves than on their friends. It meant that it became easier to accept my own flaws. I didn't judge myself as harshly as I used to do.

As I more and more understood that I have to go my own way and live my own life to fulfill my unique purpose, I refused to let the judgement of others stand in the way. That doesn't mean I don't listen to other people. It means that I make up my own mind. It has also become easier to accept the judgement of other people, as I now understand that they are on their own journey, and their truth may be different from mine.

Here are a few things that you can do to break down your own wall:

  • Practice being courageous and go a little out of your comfort zone
  • Practice being optimistic
  • Make a list of things you like about yourself, keep on adding to the list and look at it often
  • Ask for support from family, friends or a therapist
  • Don't take criticism too personal; you have to go your own way
  • Learn to love yourself
  • Understand when you started building your wall

Go ahead, take the first steps to a life full of love, and passion, a life in which you let other people in to love you.

With Love,

Maxima Miller

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