I recently worked with a client on identifying her “layers of connection.”
As a relationship species, we rely on connection to others to feel whole. Connection; however moves out in layers. First, we have the people in our lives that we would consider to be a part of our inner circle; those are generally our partners, our children, our siblings, parents, best friends. These are what we would consider the first layer and are the people we are most deeply connected to. These are our healthiest relationships, ones in which we can be ourselves and for whom we have the innate sense of reciprocity. Sometimes, we may label a person to be in the first layer simply because we suppose they need to be there (a parent perhaps, or even a partner), but if the relationship is not healthy, and the connection is not strong, they may in fact be second layer, or even third.
All connections outside of first layer begin to ripple out. We will find friends in varying degrees of connection, community groups, neighbours, co-workers, even your favourite waitress whose booth you sit at every Sunday morning, potentially earns a place somewhere on your connection circle. We can sometimes even connect with a stranger, in the form of a smile or kind words.
It is through the relationships in our lives that we will encounter the most growth. Creating and maintaining connection is an important task to our emotional health. By actively recognizing our layers of connection, we work towards continued good health in our relationships; keeping us feeling grounded and safe.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@willianjusten