We all come across relationships in our lives that are difficult and sometimes toxic. All these relationships are actually tests that life puts us through and we have no choice but to go through them.
Mahatma Gandhi, who is seen as a symbol of peace and a saintly father-like figure by many Indians, in reality, was far from perfect when it came to parenting. He had a troubled relationship with his eldest son and he and the principles that he stood for were constantly tested by him.
Abraham Lincoln also went through a difficult marriage. Not many people know that as he was working to promote peace in America, at the same time he was struggling to maintain peace within his own marriage. It’s been said that his wife made married life extremely difficult for Lincoln and he had to go through some unpleasant experiences because of her.
For some of us, it’s a mother who is a drama queen, for others it may be a brother who has a substance use problem. We come across neighbors who are annoying and intrusive, co-workers who are jealous and envious of us, friends that gossip behind our back, and bosses that take unfair advantage of us. Each of these instances in a way is a test for us where we are challenged and compelled to employ the lessons that we learn in our journey of personal development and philosophy.
Difficult relationships test us but they also teach us a lot. We learn how to forgive someone in spite of their past mistakes. We learn how to remain calm and develop self-control so that we don’t get angry when someone provokes us. We learn how to love someone even if they don’t reciprocate the same feelings to us. We learn the importance of putting up some boundaries. We learn how to be giving and becoming selfless when the need is there. We learn how to take care of ourselves first so that we are able to take care of others.
Relationships are complicated; they bring both joy and despair, obstacles and opportunities, but in the end, they help us grow. What matters the most is who we become in this process, how skillful we become at responding rather than reacting, and how we balance our own needs with others’.
Friendships and relationships aren’t easy and for some of us they get immensely difficult and painful, but when we focus on how they are shaping us and fueling our personal growth, and making us the person that we’re destined to be, we look at them in a different light. We become more tolerant towards them and perceive them as necessary trouble that we need to go through to learn the lessons that would help us excel as a human being. To put a spin on a popular Jim Rohn quote, “What you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask in a relationship is not, ‘What am I getting?’ Instead, you should ask, ‘What am I becoming?’ ”