Did you ever notice that when we see beauty there are many layers to it? Growing up I used to watch on PBS an artist who managed to make the most amazing landscapes with what he described in the most seemingly simple form. But with each color - layer - he added, the picture became more and more amazing.
In anything we see beauty there are layers... clothing has layers of accessories; food has layers of herbs and spices; rooms have layers of rugs and art... the list is endless! Even what we consider "simple" would have layers to add depth and beauty.
It is nice to be able to follow a recipe and have a delicious meal, but do we take the time to understand how each flavor contributed to make the final dish? Why, exactly, did we add paprika to this dish? Or why white pepper instead of black pepper? Do we know how each of these things have subtly contributed to the beautiful dish that is sitting in front of you?
As it goes with a recipe, a painting, or getting dressed, the same is said of each person we interact with. There are layers to the character of a person. Each "opinion" we have is made up of layers of information that we have been given - from the colors we like to the foods we eat - all based on layers of our identity. Are you an only child or have many siblings? Do you work for a company or run your own business? Each of these factors is another distinct layer that has made you the special person you are!
Salvador Minuchin, a significant force in the field of marriage and family therapy, sought to explore the layers of identity we each have and honor how each contributes to how we view the world. He emphasized honoring those layers in order to appreciate what a person brings to their relationships.
What is the reason that the person across from me strongly believes in saving the planet? Why does my neighbor prefer rock gardens to grass? These can all be better understood if we take time to peel back those layers.
The new norm is the ability to comment on social media. We immediately assume the same recipe that made us makes the person we are interacting with. When we refuse to acknowledge the unique layers of the other person - or how our layers influence us - we are only hurting ourselves.
I have a dog named Cashewnut. She is a spitfire who is always running and looks for any opportunity to play fight and interact. Her layers of identity show me a happy upbringing with brothers who she always wrestled with. She is also one who likes to be in the heat and sunshine. Another layer she has reminded me that she was born in California and spent most of her young life outside.
These layers are different than my layers but in recognizing these factors of little Cashew's life I learn to appreciate - and accept - these simple joys for her. And although I hate being in the sun, I have learned to tolerate it because I love Cashew.
What layers make up the people you love? Have you taken the time to peel back those layers to understand the person underneath? If getting in the habit of identifying these layers is something you would like to practice, contact us today!
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