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  • Writer's pictureHeather Rai

"People are just as wonderful as sunsets"

'People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.' - Carl Rogers

This was one of my first posts on Instagram and I shared it because it describes so well what I experience as I get to know the people I work with.

I don't feel any need to change the people I work with. In fact I'm quite uncomfortable when I think about that possibility as it implies I know what they should be better than they know that themselves. I've no idea what other people should be in order to make them 'better'. But I hear time and time again, given some time and the space, that people are able to find something within them that tells them what they need to do in order to be able to live more authentically and feel more comfortable with themselves. They are the ones who can discover how they should be, not me, so that they can live the life that they want and need to live.

'Unfold' is a key word in this quotation for me. Unfolding brings to my mind a tentative and delicate process, like a crumpled piece of paper gently being uncurled to reveal a message inside, or new wings being stretched for the first time in preparation for flight. It's not something that can be rushed and forced. If it is forced then something delicate might get damaged. It needs space, warmth, care and most importantly enough time so it isn't rushed.

And there might be pain in that unfolding . It might hurt to smooth out some of those creases. There might also be some very uncomfortable experiences being revealed in this process but with enough time and care they may just feel a lot better when they're no longer hidden and they see just enough daylight and sun.

Finally, here's a short clip of the author of this quote (who's also the founder of the Person-Centred Approach to counselling and psychotherapy that I practice) talking about what it means to fully accept someone and see them unfold like that sunset - and the challenges that can come with it.

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