Emotional Layers - The Onion Principle
By Chris Joscelyne
Some people are like a raw egg. They have a hard outer exterior, but
once their shell is cracked or broken by a stranger, a workmate, a friend,
a family member, or by a romantic partner, they start to fall apart.
Some people are like a jelly. They are soft, squishy and easily devoured.
They have no emotional barriers and they are easily manipulated and used by
Some people are like an onion. Onions thrive emotionally because they have
emotional layers and they know who can be allowed access to each layer Ö when,
and under what circumstances.
Onions understand their layers and how much of their emotional selves they
can reveal and share with others, without the risk of deep emotional hurt.
This protects them, while allowing them to reveal and share their emotional
layers in safety as they choose.
The Onion Principle
Layer 1 is the outer layer with smooth protective skin. Outside this
layer is the world at large including the people we meet, do business with,
work with, and with whom we have social contact.
Layer 2 is the first inner layer. This is for friends, pals and
others we know and like.
Layer 3 is the next inner layer. This is for close family members,
and close friends we know and trust.
Layer 4 is for romantic, trusting friendship (boyfriend/girlfriend)
Layer 5 is for embarking on a loving long-term relationship
Layer 6 is for the children if the onion is a parent
Layer 7 is for a total partnership of love and commitment
Layer 8 is the innermost layer (the place where your "inner child"
lives). It is your most personal, private inner emotional space.
It is important to understand that an onion does not practice universal
mistrust of others. Thatís unhealthy. An onion is simply a discerning person
who knows that emotional layers are precious, and should only be revealed and
shared when empathy, trust and understanding have reached a point where itís
safe to go to the next layer with another person.
Opening up a deep emotional layer to another person prematurely, especially
to a person who will not, or cannot respond in kind, is a sure step towards a
failed relationship. A problem for some people is that they naively confuse
romantic infatuation with real love. This makes them think they can safely
share their emotional layer 5 or even their layer 7 when, in reality, they
should be only at emotional layer 3 or 4. If they discover that the other
person has abused a deep inner emotional layer they have revealed and shared
with that other person, the result can be devastating.
The happiest people I have met are the onions who understand themselves and
the people around them. They manage their layers well, knowing which emotional
layers are for acquaintances, friends, loved ones and their life partner.
Happy onions also know that taking responsibility for looking after their
own inner emotional needs at layer 8 is the greatest gift they can give to
themselves. Our inner layer needs our continuing care and attention if each of
us is to thrive as an emotionally secure person.
I am a happy onion. Are you? If you are not, explore your inner self,
identify your emotional layers and start learning how to manage your
relationships with others. A good life coach can assist you if you need help.
About the author: Chris Joscelyne trained as a
clinical hypnotherapist under the tutorage of Margaret Tomko. He was taught
grief counselling by Mal McKissock, and he learned meditation in a course sponsored by the Department of Health. He developed his personal awareness knowledge with
mentors Barbara and Terry Tebo of Lifespring.
For ten years Chris was a visiting lecturer at the
Australian Film, Television and Radio School where he taught personal
development, meditation and stress management skills. Now he shares his
knowledge with a wider community as a speaker, trainer and coach, teaching
people how to live "Life
by choice - not by chance".
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