Mel Schwartz, LCSW

#101 Invest in Yourself: Taking Down Your Walls

In The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz episode 101, I invite you to invest in yourself by taking down your walls and embracing healthy vulnerability.

Listen and learn why sharing our authentic selves can lead to greater intimacy and healthier relationships with the people you care about.

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Transcript of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz #101

Hello everybody and welcome to the Possibility Podcast. I’m your host, Mel Schwartz. I practice psychotherapy, marriage counseling, and I am the author of the book, The Possibility Principle, the companion to this podcast. I hope to be your thought provocateur and I’ll be introducing you to new ways of thinking and a new game plan for life.

I’m going to talk with you today about the idea of investing in yourself, but arguably in a different way than you’ve come across before. This is about investing in yourself by taking down your walls.

Now not every listener has walls, compartments to protect yourself and what other people know about you and think about you, but most of us do. So the question is, do you truly share your life? Or do you have compartments that you choose to remain hidden, keep secret from other people, aspects of yourself that you feel embarrassed or marginalized or that make you feel insecure and perhaps you choose not to share them. Those are the walls that separate us from one another, that block our intimacy and our relationships and kind of counterintuitively, they don’t protect us, they imprison us.

This tendency to keep parts of us private is so poignant, particularly when I’m working with younger people, adolescents, teens, young adults, and they know so little about their
parents and I ask questions like, wow, your mom was married before. Why did she get divorced? I have no idea. You mean your mom never told you? Nope. Were you curious? Did you ask? Nope. These barriers are just enormous obstacles to living well and living with authenticity.

We need to learn from each other, open up and share. And what we’re hiding from each other, our insecurities, our self-doubts, the parts of us that are fearful of being judged are common to all of us. As soon as we open up and share it with one another, you know what happens? We relax. We don’t have to hide these things. Not only do parents hide them from their kids, kids hide it from their parents. We hide it from friends, spouses, partners.

Why do we hide? I suppose it’s a fear of judgment. But as I’ve always said, nobody really can judge you unless they are the judge in the courtroom.

So what is it really? It’s fear of opinions. Because unless you’re judging yourself and projecting that power of judgment onto someone else, it’s just opinions. So isn’t it crazy that we disguise and conceal and hide parts of ourselves because we’re concerned about someone else’s opinion? That impedes, that blocks our ability to invest in ourself. Why would we just take random people or particular people and worry so much about their opinion of us?

As I’ve shared before, picture the image of a seesaw. You’re putting yourself in the down position on that seesaw as you elevate someone else and their opinion, you are relegating as your judgment. This is a horrible way to live. It’s no way to live. Hiding parts of ourselves blocks intimacy. I mean emotional intimacy and verbal intimacy.

I’d love to show you my appreciation for your subscribing to and rating this podcast by offering you a gift to one of the following, The Power of Mind, a live talk that I gave,
or one of my digital eBooks, Creating Authentic Self-Esteem, Overcoming Anxiety, or Raising Resilient Children, and lastly, Cultivating Resilient Relationships. Once you have subscribed, please send an email to mel at and just let me know which gift you’d prefer. Thanks.

When we take the walls down and we open up to each other, a number of things happen. We truly come to know each other. If you think of even your closest friendships and relationships, ask yourself this, is there a part of myself that I’m choosing not to share? And if your answer is yes, but I’m a private person, no, you’re not a private person.
You’re choosing privacy because your self-esteem is being challenged. You see, if your self-esteem is good enough and genuine enough, there’s no reason to build
barriers. You let other people think whatever they will think, but you don’t corrupt your relationship with yourself out of your fear of what someone else is thinking of you.
We all suffer so terribly from not being truly connected with each other. We pass each other by. We contemplate what we could share and what we shouldn’t share. Again, the fear of opinion slash judgment.

When we disconnect in this way, although we may still have people in our lives, the common result is anxiety and depression. Depression in part is due to a sense of isolation, a sense of feeling disconnected. Isolation is ruinous to our emotional health, our psychological health, our spiritual well-being. This isolation is a contributor to low self-worth and low self-worth sets up the isolation. So the solution is open up, take down your walls, share. Hiding yourself is like being penned up in a corral or being stuck in a prison cell. When we open ourselves up, we really engage our change process. We hear expressions like everything flows, but we don’t flow if we have this boundary, this constriction about what we can or can’t say, what we’ll let people know or not know. This absolutely blocks our ability to evolve, to grow and change. And when you open yourself up, more often than not, you’re going to find yourself so pleasantly surprised. There’ll be a correspondence often whereby that other person relates, they connect. And when you open yourself up, invariably, they open themselves up.

Friends of 30 and 40 years follow this prescription about what is okay to share and not share. Now stereotyping, this is more common amongst men than women, but it’s common amongst women as well. So once again, if we embrace uncertainty, one of the principles of the possibility principle, the uncertainty is open ourselves up, share it all.
We don’t know what that other person will think or how they’ll feel, but only by embracing the uncertainty are we moving into the flow of life. It’s the fear of what they’ll think, our need for certainty that shuts us down.

Now if you invest in yourself, you take down your walls, your self-esteem can grow by leaps and bounds because you are no longer setting anyone else up as your judge. Think about that. An immediate launch into a much more powerful self-worth, an authentic self-worth is open yourself up. I don’t mean indiscriminately. I don’t mean you need to become a blabbermouth and share every thought and feeling you have, but ask yourself, what are the parts of myself, my life, my thoughts, my feelings, my hurts, my wounds, my aspirations, my hopes that I haven’t shared with people? Now start to write a new script, share it.

By the way, when you do that, the other person typically feels honored and valued because you’ve opened up a part of yourself to them. This is the core of respect. That means I’m going to open this up, I’m not going to defend or restrict, I’m not going to choose vulnerability, but I’m actually going to embrace my vulnerability, my powerful vulnerability by opening myself up and saying, I’m okay, I hope you think well of what I’m going to share with you, but if you don’t, so be it. That’s the power of vulnerability, vulnerability here in a positive way.

My message today, days after Independence Day, July 4th, is to reach your independence, open yourself up and share, and your relationships may coalesce and evolve, and you’ll be on
the path not just to self-worth and authentic self-worth, but to your change process. Invest in yourself.

Until next time, wishing you well, good health, good thoughts, and keep embracing uncertainty. Bye for now.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Possibility Podcast. I welcome your feedback on this and any episode. Please send me an email at or leave a comment in the show notes for this episode at If you like what you’re hearing, please take a moment to rate and review the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Your reviews really help boost the visibility for the show, and it’s a great way for you to show your support. Finally, please make sure to subscribe to the Possibility Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, and that way you’ll never miss an episode. Thanks again, and please remember to always welcome uncertainty into your life and embrace new possibilities.

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