Many cultures have a version of this proverb, so it probably has more than a shred of value. ‘Fences’ are boundaries, and we all have them.
Keeping your boundaries intact is vital for self-esteem and emotional wellbeing, so don’t let people trample on yours.
I grew up in the country, and I remember the electric fences that could keep cattle in their place. Once they have had a tiny 12 volt zap from the single wire that surrounded their field, these huge beasts could be kept in line by just the the thought of it happening again.
So much so that the electric cable can be replaced by harmless string, and they still wouldn’t approach! One more thing, my good friend Frank used to sit and watch cows all day long. He reckoned that they shared information; once one of the herd had experienced something the word spread, and others took the hint.
Keeping your personal boundaries intact means valuing yourself and understanding your needs, not shutting people out (unless you choose to).
As Benjamin Franklin said “Love thy neighbour, yet don’t pull down your hedge.”