Positive Path Recommended Reading

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 others.

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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