Are Relationships Meant To Make You Happy?
Wouldn’t it be nice if your relationships with others existed solely to help you be happy, to meet your needs and to keep you safe? It is a fantasy land that few of us live in. Why is that?
It appears to me that the whole point of life is a journey of self discovery and personal growth. And … unfortunately, people who are happy and content are not usually motivated to grow. So, although you may find periods of happiness and contentment in your relationships, the major relationships in your life also exist to test you, stretch you and provide you with incentive for growth. These relationships occupy your thoughts, play upon your emotions, make you yearn, bring you joy, force you to compete or rebel and provide you with reasons to suffer or sacrifice.
Think about the relationships you have had in the past. What have you learned about yourself from the relationships that were harmonious and peaceful? What have you learned about yourself from the relationships that were difficult and challenging? What character strengths did those relationships end up bringing to you, what issues did they make you face and how did they make you a better stronger person?
Difficult relationships are often the ones which help forge our character and contribute the most to our personal growth.
On some level it takes a really special person to help us learn our truly mammoth lessons and endure our negative emotions while we do. When I finally understood this concept, it changed the way I saw those people who had taught me the harshest of life’s lessons. Those people who hurt me the most, I realized were among my greatest teachers and I became grateful for them and the lessons they helped me learn. The boss who stole money and blamed it on me, taught me the value of honesty. The employer who screamed at me for not having something perfect, taught me the value of checking things thoroughly.
And I learned an amazing lesson In the process. Here is what happened to help me learn the lesson. I became seriously unwell and required surgery, a hospital stay and an extended recovery time. During this time I reflected on life. At first I did ‘poor me’ why do these things keep happening to me and why do these nasty people keep coming into my life? Then I was honest enough to acknowledge the character traits and strengths that these people had ‘encouraged’ me to bring forth.
I spent days writing letters to each of the people whom I had found the most challenging in life. In these letters I listed the positive things they had brought into my life and expressed my gratitude.
Nearly every one of these people wrote back to me saying ‘thank you’. Here is the amazing lesson I discovered from their letters … although I had consumed hours of my life with negative energy thinking about these people … they had not done the same to me. I had just been another person in their life and often not a particularly significant one either.
So, although there are days when it is difficult … I now have the courage and the honesty to appreciate even the most difficult relationships in my life … and I understand why all relationships aren’t meant to make you happy. Some bring you an even greater gift than happiness!
This article does not endorse staying in an unhappy or abusive relationship with another person. What the article does do is ask you to look at the strengths you have gained from being in that relationship after you have left it. This can help how you feel about the ending of the relationship. Rather than looking at the time with that person as ‘wasted time’, you could look at it as time spent learning and growing and stepping into the strength to leave.