#blogging, #parentalrelationships, #personalgrowth, #relationships

Mending Broken Fences

My Broken Fence

I was a rebellious teenager. Ultimately, it negatively impacted my relationship with my father.

No matter where I was or as well as my life was going, I knew nothing would ever feel right until that fence was mended.

It is important to note that his door was never closed to me and my door was never closed to him. We simply lacked the closeness that we deserved, which leads me to my next point…

Be Discerning

My father is a great man. He has always loved me. He never raised a hand to me and always offered me grace. I did not feel deserving of such grace and that deep-seated sense of worthlessness blocked me from the relationship we both craved.

Not all relationships are worth mending, though. Some people, despite their best intentions, are relentlessly damaging to your spirit.

If you cannot decide who to let go of, I recommend making a list of pros and cons.

The cons against mending a relationship can be 12 pages long, but the pros are your guide. If you have 10,000 reasons not to mend a fence and the one pro on your list is that reconciliation will lead to happiness, you must try to mend the fence.

A Fabulous Story

Many years ago, I was talking with a friend about my father and she asked me a profound question. “What if your sole focus was on the kind of daughter you could be. What are you willing to do to be a good daughter?” My answer was swift. ANYTHING.

She told me a story of a woman who had a far, far worse situation with her father than I did with mine. This woman had stolen from her father and began writing weekly letters to him and enclosing cash. He did not respond. She KEPT WRITING anyway.

Years passed and one day, she got a letter from her father that said, “Stop sending the money, but keep those letters coming.” Insert tears of joy here!

He heard her message in every letter. It took time for him to trust her and her commitment. His silence may have swayed some, but she was willing to do anything to mend that fence.

How to Begin Mending the Fence

1. Offer Grace and Acceptance

This is an absolute must. No progress can be made until you accept the other person as they are.

Do this even if the other person has yet to do it for you. Put your feelings on a temporary shelf and LET LOVE OUT. Offering forgiveness and acceptance is incredibly powerful. It can blow a door wide open, but healing won’t begin until someone puts the first foot forward.

Why be vulnerable in this way? Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are…not for who we want them to be. If you want this for yourself, you have to be willing to offer it to others.

2. Let Your Resentments GO

Don’t let hurt feelings or untruths block you from the right people. People commonly convince themselves of things that are not true.

Stop overcomplicating every word or action and assuming you are a fortune teller.

The other person has a side, a voice, and feelings. Don’t assume you know what those are.

3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Stop obsessing about your own feelings. Take a step back, remove yourself from the equation, and look at the world through the eyes of the other person.

If you do this correctly, you WILL understand the other person better. If you do this courageously, you will see how YOU influenced every missed connection in your relationship.

If you do this honestly, the resentments you put on a temporary shelf may go up in smoke! POOF.

4. Commit to Forging a Connection

I chose to write to my father. I told him about my life, I asked for advice, I told him of my successes and failures. I sent email after email and luckily never had to wait to hear back from him.

What ensued was incredible. He rooted me on, gave me the advice I asked for, felt the respect I offered him, and let the news that I understood his perspective sink into his soul.

Not everyone will respond with the expediency of my father. I have mended many fences and they all have different trajectories. The common thread is that each has helped me grow and heal.

5. Be Honest

It took me a long time to realize my feelings were valid. It took me longer to understand that when I didn’t share them, I did every relationship I had a disservice.

People aren’t mind readers. If you feel hurt, say something. If you feel proud of someone, say something. Every emotion you hide from the world is a lost opportunity to be loved for exactly who you are.

If you are honest and are not met with respect, always remember that you can reevaluate what fences you choose to mend and which aren’t worth the effort.

6. Trying is Never a Waste of Time

Not every relationship can be healed. You may try and mend a fence that can’t be fixed. I certainly have.

Even if I get hurt in the end, I never regret the effort. Offering unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, and love is NEVER a mistake, regardless of the outcome.

Being the bigger person has never killed anyone. It actually is its own reward.

Go Forth with Courage

Pick the fences you want to mend and TAKE ACTION. Miracles can and do occur when we choose love and positive intention.

Life is too short to wait for an important relationship to miraculously heal itself.

My father and I are on solid ground and have been for many years now. Whenever I have a new fence to mend, I think about how I got EVERYTHING from repairing that most important one.

Be brave with your heart! You deserve all that comes along with that!

40 thoughts on “Mending Broken Fences”

  1. What a beautiful metaphor! Listening is so imperative in mending and maintaining ‘fences’. Great post!

  2. This was simplistic with beautiful truth. Thank you so much for sharing. Best blog I have read today!

  3. Omg, Melissa. What a wonderful thing to say. As a writer, I doubt myself, but your words just lifted me up! Follow me and stay in touch!!!

  4. This is such a great post! I think I need to print it out keep it. Very well written!

  5. The parent trap…and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that our parents are the first relationships we form. For most of us their approval and love is vital. This is what proof the case with me and my father. I simply could not rest without making peace with him. I had heard him in a very powerful way a long time ago and a situation that was beyond my control. And even though it really wasn’t my fault I never slept right after. I simply knew that I had to make it right. And to do that I was willing to go to any lengths. But he was not toxic to me. He was just a hurt person and with good reason. I have got other relationships that are also powerful and I have had to walk away from. I have grieved those but ultimately and better off without them. This is a personal choice and a very difficult one. Whatever your heart guides you to do is the right thing and you just have to know that.

  6. I can completely relate to this. My relationship with my Mother is one I’m not sure is worth saving anymore. You’ve given me so much to think about though.

  7. What a beautiful post!!! I so enjoyed reading every word! I love that you share of your own personal experience while also lending extremely helpful and genuine tips. This is exactly the kind of blog post I hold dear to my heart. I look forward to subscribing to your blog and reading more of what you have to say. Thank you ever so much for this honest and lovely post!

  8. This is a beautiful post, and very inspiring at that. I love the way you write, something about it makes me want to keep reading! So glad I came across your blog!

  9. I did similar things in my childhood that i am not very proud of but I am trying to make things right now. You article is really a positive reminder for me that you can mend the broken fences you want👍🏻
    Love it.

  10. Paul, send me the link to your blog. I want to follow you. Thank you for your reply. It means the world to me.

  11. I have struggled mending my “broken fences” throughout my life. The toughest hurdle for me was letting go of resentments. As I got older, I learned to let go of those resentments and start the process of rebuilding. I loved this post Andrea. Keep them coming.

  12. Oh my I really enjoyed reading this piece. This just takes me back home. I learnt a thing or two from this. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing about how it provoked you to think about a friendship. I wish you the healthiest and happiest outcome with that.

  14. This is such a lovely post on mending relationship! It got me thinking about a friend that I just dont know how to talk to anymore!

  15. I’m sorry about your brother. But, happy for your freedom. I have been in toxic relationships and they can crush your spirit. Thank you for your kind cooperation!

  16. I love your post and I totally agree with you on all parts. I have certainly tried most of your advice at various stages in my life with various people and for the most part it turned out great. Only 1 person, unfortunately my brother I will not allow in my life, I can only describe it as being toxic and that I can’t deal with. I no longer hold any anger or bitterness towards him, but I don’t foresee any form of relationship happening, such a shame really as we were super close growing up. I found myself smiling when you said your relationship with your Father is now strong and thank you for sharing that with us x

  17. Connie, to hear that from YOU, makes me so happy. I love you! Thank you for reading and commenting.

  18. Andrea, I love your posts! Not only do they reveal an authentic experience, they give the reader a guideline of how to find the path themselves. Thank you for the enlightenment.

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