We went on a hike the other day and I saw this tree. I was completely taken by the bark. I loved its rugged, uneven, and jagged texture. I immediately got the sense that the bark was not to be messed with—it was the protector of the tree. The bark keeps what is on the inside safe, while also keeping what is on the outside out. Without the bark, the tree would die. That’s a rather big role.

We have a “bark” as well. We have a physical “bark” with our skin, and we have an emotional “bark” as well—that no one can really see—but it’s always present, nonetheless. Our “bark,” much like the tree, keeps what’s on the inside safe, while keeping the outside out. We don’t let everyone know what’s going on inside, like what we are feeling or thinking. Not everyone needs to know all of our thoughts and feelings. Our “bark” helps us keep that safe.

Sometimes, I believe we need to think about the “bark” of others. We can’t see beyond the bark, but we know it’s protecting them. We may only see the rugged, uneven, and jagged exterior, but there is a very tender, delicate, and fragile interior that we forget about. Just because we cant see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If we only see the bark, then we are missing an opportunity to be a better and more compassionate partner, friend, or colleague. Take a look at those around you—I know you see the bark, can see beyond it as well? OK, now we are really getting somewhere. Everything changes when we take the time to look beyond the bark.

With Gratitude,

Beth

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