Relationships can be challenging no matter how beneficial they may be. When we choose to embrace these challenges and invest in the people around us we push ourselves towards becoming the individuals we were designed to be. Rubbing against someone else and their differences can sharpen you! Don’t shy away from the chance to go deeper with someone. It may be painful at moments, but in the end you will become a stronger person because of it. Healthy tension among loved ones can be used to develop your weaknesses and refine your strengths in a safe environment.
I had a teacher when I was younger who taught me my strengths were not my strengths unless I developed them. I have a strong ability to empathize with others which some would call a strength, but had I not developed this gift further it could work against me. I feel deeply and if I am not careful I will walk around carrying others emotions and allowing their burdens to become my own burdens. I learned this about myself through being in relationship with others. I had to intentionally pursue refinement by surrounding myself with people who do not think the way I think, feel the way that I feel, or respond they way that I would respond. I had to find balance so that I could give empathy most authentically.
I want to challenge you to invest in 2-3 relationships. This could be a family member, a best friend, a mentor, or a significant other. Don’t avoid someone simply because they are different then you. Don’t allow yourself to run when you feel tension coming on, but instead face it head on. Learn to love well, to listen well, and to become the friend that you desire to have for yourself. If you want to be a well rounded person you will allow yourself to depend on others for strength where you are weak and you will want to help strengthen others in return.
Famous Author C.S. Lewis stated, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that gives value to survival.” We were not made to go through life alone. We were made to do it together and to bring out the best in one another! It is in the depths of our being to inspire those around us to become who they were meant to be. We were made for this kind of love. Love that doesn’t abandon us when we mess up, love that doesn’t get frustrated when we fail, and love that never gives up on us under any circumstances.