3 Lessons on Challenging and Impactful Relationships
Relationships and the connections we make with each other are vital for developing wisdom and deeper self knowledge. It is often the people that challenge us or push our buttons in some way that have the ability to shift us into new directions or ways of being. Every encounter has meaning for us when we look beyond the face value of it. Challenging relationships serve as a channel for us to nurture our weaknesses into strengths; helping us to move forward in some way- even if this is through hurt, betrayal, or abandonment. Sometimes it is simply our own expectations that we are hurt by- and the weight of those ideals can crush us as well as the other person we place them upon. From expectations we can drift toward standards and what we value and deserve; instead of judgement we can move toward an understanding that we are all here to impact each other in some form. Here are 3 lessons on challenging and impactful relationships.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born”- Anais Nin
1. It’s not about you
Anyone that causes us harm does so because of something within themselves that they are struggling with- this inner conflict is not about you, it’s about them. We are only in control of ourselves and our own actions- we should never blame ourselves or shadow our heart with guilt or shame for how someone else has behaved (and we should never allow them to infiltrate their inner war to our heart). Relationships and connections are like chemistry, and sometimes we bring out in each other what we are not ready or internally equipped to deal with. We must all take responsibility and be accountable for our own pain, misdeeds, and inner wounds so we end the affliction of damaging cycles. When we own our hurt we gift ourselves with the power to heal it too.
And as with chemistry, some connections are merely a spark and others more of an explosion- each has its value, something we can learn from and find our own strength within.
“Truths and roses have thorns about them” – Henry David Thoreau
2. It’s about impact, not time
Meaningful relationships are less about time and more about their deep and inherent impact. Encounters that reach swiftly and turbulently into our hearts can shake us from the inside to out and work up a storm in next to no time. Feelings that arise so quickly are difficult to grasp and understand- and these relationships can end as promptly as they began. Sometimes these connections are not meant to last because their purpose is to inspire some kind of electric charge that jolts us awake and pushes us into our ascension in some way. On the flip side, our more long-lasting relationships can feel like a comfy pair of slippers we wear- something that feels safe and unassuming yet may provide little room for growth. Our hearts connect through a certain rhythm, a unique formula that attracts us to another heart that beats to the same time or resonates to a particular call. Logic asks us how we can feel so much for the ones that stay for so little time, but our hearts voice is like a sage of love and connection- it knows even if we can’t mentally comprehend it.
We expand and evolve by what nudges us through our levels of perceived comfort and familiarity. We need powerful connections to ignite us, even when we feel torn apart by them. They leave us with a memory and perhaps we can bathe in the nostalgia of that firework to our soul.
“You don’t measure love in time. You measure love in transformation.” – Jeff Brown, from “An Uncommon Bond”
3. There is always a lesson to learn
The lesson we are meant to learn may come disguised beneath many layers and be dimmed from our sight until we take the time to introspect on our thoughts and emotions. Sometimes the dots will not connect until many years have passed, but we must trust that there is always wisdom that lies beyond our challenges and the people that presented them to us. We often deny certain relationships that proved harmful or challenging because we don’t want to revisit pain and outworn fears; and yet it is only be venturing inwardly that we are able to shine a light and intelligently sift through the darkened corridor of hurtful expectations, lies, or sorrow to find meaning and truth.
We never lose anything, nothing is redundant, and we should embrace the lesson rather than resist it- we can be the peacemakers to our soul. We are transformed into new versions of ourselves by relationships that act as catalysts to our consciousness.
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back”- Barbara De Angelis.
I have always suffered greatly in my relationships, with family, friends, and romantic partnerships. But the fact that I have suffered and struggled within these connections has gifted me with a greater insight to my own truth, strength, and ocean of depth. They have fuelled my personal growth, inner transformations, and impelled me toward an amplified understanding of my values. We can do our best to show gratitude and compassion for the ones that grate against us- because beneath all the sorrow and struggle lies meaning and a purpose for everyone on our path, and for ours on theirs.
I want to finish this piece with a few of my favourite quotes on love and connection and challenging relationships.
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishing”- Anais Nin
“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”- C. Joybell C
“You can only heal a broken heart through allowing it to open again; a closed heart remains a wounded heart. Many battles may be lost but you are not broken and you are not your wounds.”
“We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all”- Eleanor Roosevelt