Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When Opposites Attract

Opposite colors on the color wheel when set side by side have the ability to enhance each other. For example, the colors blue and orange. The blue appears more blue when placed next to orange, and vice versa. So if I were designing a table setting and I wanted to enhance the fact that the table was orange I would simply put its opposite, blue, as a centerpiece and now the orange appears really orange next to the blue or vice versa.

It is the same in relationships. Let's say blue and orange were people. They got together and formed a relationship. Blue was really attracted to orange because of the traits orange possesses. Orange is vibrant, alive and social. It holds all the attributes that blue does not, so naturally blue is drawn to orange and seeks it out. Blue on the other hand holds all the characteristics that orange does not. It is intangible and serene. It is calm and has the ability to depress any situation (in design the word depress means to defuse or soften or take it down a notch when something is unbearable and make it bearable again). It is sedate and secure. So naturally orange would be very drawn to blue and seek it out.

Using the fact that opposite colors attract in design is so often helpful and doesn’t have many challenges but when it comes to relationships it is a different story. The potential problem lies in the fact that we are very drawn to our opposite design in any relationship, but when we get close as humans it is in our nature to then, in some way, deem them ours. We use phrases like my friend or my husband or my sibling. Once we have deemed them ours we start the process of turning them into us; as though they are a reflection of ourselves.

Do you know what happens in design when blue tries to take over orange and change it into blue or vice versa? They cancel each other out. You are left with a flat, dull, neutral color. Great color still but all of the passion and excitement is gone. The same thing happens in relationships.

Take Rod and myself. When I met him the first thing I noticed was his attractiveness. He was strong and mysterious. Now 26 years into a marriage I have the potential (if I were to compare him to myself) to accuse him of being stubborn and withdrawn. They are the same traits as strong and mysterious but compared to my design I just view them completely different now, yet nothing has changed with him.  He saw me at first as alive and enrolling. Now 26 years later compared to him he could view me as going all the time and over-enrolling. Again, same traits but it all is in how we look at it.

Opposite colors on the color wheel in each design.
It is so important to seek help or understanding if there is a problem in a relationship, but first step back and ask yourself if any of it is just simply in how we are looking at the differences. Remember that some of those differences are the very things that attracted you to that person in the first place s treat them with respect and understanding. If you start from the value that each trait holds it can lead to understanding of both people in a relationship.

So let orange be orange and let it strengthen us socially. Let blue be blue and let it help us be calm and creative. Let all the people in your important relationships be free to be who they are and free to enhance us to be better human beings. That insight into who they are authentically is one of the best gifts you can give someone close to you. Honor their design. Celebrate who they are. Because remember, everyone is a masterpiece!

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