Layered clothing (“Zwiebelschalenprinzip“) was one of the expressions that caught my attention in my first years in Germany. I knew what it meant and had practiced it myself. What amazed me, though, was how often it was used. I remember wondering why it was so popular… And here I am using it myself 🙂
A statement I made in a pleasant conversation today made me think about layers. Not in the context of clothing, but related to human interactions. Do you know the feeling of saying something about yourself and realizing immediately after that how misleading it can be? That’s exactly what happened to me. Perplexed, I kept on thinking why it was so challenging for me to highlight the right layer in the right context… such a pity since I had a compelling story on my mind that I wasn’t able to tell!
We all possess different layers of values, ideas, and opinions shaped by our upbringing, culture, and experiences. Mixing the layers or presenting them without the necessary framework of reference can confuse the person we talk with, and also ourselves. Now that I think about it, this is a good reason for the popularity of the layered concept… The shell layer protects us, but is rarely what defines us. The inner layer is, by contrast, where we are vulnerable the most. What, when, and how we share is key. Relevant stories told in an engaging way make it easier to bridge layers and help others better relate to what we communicate.
I’ll focus on telling my story next time. And every time.