Boundaries vs. Walls—a Little Story About Henry Winkler

I was in the car this morning and there was an interview with Henry Winkler. If you don’t know him by name, he was Fonzie on Happy Days. 

They asked him about why he’s so willing to talk about being Fonzie, as other iconic characters throughout the past few years have avoided the conversations— they seem to try to get away from their characters. 

His answer was with such gratitude: he’s very thankful for where he is today and Fonzie is what started it. 

I found myself thinking “what a kind, humble man.” 

The interviewer caught that too and the next question was “How do you stay so humble?”

His answer blew me away. 

He said he spent his life feeling Less Than. Yes, he used that term.

He has dyslexia and he said “when you have dyslexia you think there’s something wrong with you.” 

I have friends, adult friends, with dyslexia and I know this to be true. They tell me they grew up thinking there was something wrong with them. 

When he was getting all the praise and accolades for being Fonzie and being told how amazing he was, he simply never believed it. 

This is where Self Esteem and Boundaries overlap. 

I’ve talked a lot about both topics. 

I’ve introduced you to the concepts of Containment Boundary and Protective Boundary. 

I have actually not introduced the concept of Walls versus Boundaries. 

Boundaries are malleable; boundaries keep us safe. They let some stuff in and keep other stuff out. 

Walls are impenetrable. 

Nothing’s getting in, nothing’s getting out. 

Sadly, for Henry Winkler, he had Walls. 

He was unable to absorb the praise. 

Healthy Boundaries would have been to absorb the praise and stay in his Healthy Center. 

When we can absorb praise, compassion, and kindness, we still have to stay in our Healthy Center of Self-Esteem and not go up into Better Than. 

Additionally, had he simply absorbed all of it and allowed himself to go into Better Than, he’s also in Society Based Esteem. 

See how they all fit together? 

Do you feel confident in some areas such as your career, but have trouble setting and utilizing boundaries at home and in your personal relationships? Are you struggling with allowing the good in and/or with keeping the bad out?

Contact me now to jump on a call together and see how we can work together to get you out of this cycle.