This poor dog is fenced in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. His owners never take him for a walk, pet him or snuggle with him. He just looks so pitiful. He used to bark when I walked by, now he just looks at me as if to say, “Please take me away from here. I’m so unhappy.”
That’s what fencing in does to animals. It also does it to human. Though most of us will never be fenced in literally, we fence ourselves in and we fence others in behind the fences we build in our hearts, our minds and our souls.
So, you know how it feels to be fenced in. I’m sure everyone has felt that way at some point or another in their lives. Maybe the pit of your stomach gets knots in it. Perhaps you get a massive headache. It could be that you can’t sleep, are eating obsessively or snap at your family every chance you get.
Maybe it’s your boss fencing your in or just your job in general. Marriage can feel like one is behind an iron curtain. Children sometimes think that they just can’t wait to get away from their parents and be on their own. And then again, maybe you’re the one that’s building walls, not bridges.
For a long time I took hostages when I was in a relationship. It didn’t really matter what was going on with others, as long as I got my own needs and wants fulfilled. I’m not saying I treated everyone very poorly, but I am saying that I know I wasn’t happy if I didn’t get what I wanted when I wanted it. On top of that, though I did good deeds and helped others, I made people uncomfortable by what I said, when I said it and how I said it. I’m a work in progress. Though I still have a long way to go, today I work at taking how other people feel into consideration. There are times, of course, when my needs clash with others’ needs. If I feel my needs are healthy, then I go with them and try to back out as gently as possible. If I think I’m truly just being selfish in a negative way, then I do my best to go along with what others want.
“Life is difficult,” said Scott Peck in the first line of his famous book, “The Road Less Traveled.” And indeed it is. However, I truly believe that if we keep trying to be better people, we will achieve that goal.
For me right now, there are reasons I have to mostly stay put where I am. Travel calls me to all the exotic places I’ve always dreamed of going. So, I feel a little fenced in. On the other hand, though, I’m trying to bloom where I’m planted, to plant flowers to brighten my days, and to leave the fence-building to someone else. Give me the Golden Gate Bridge over the “privacy” fence any day of the week.