Anneal (verb): to heat metal or glass and allow it to cool slowly, in order to remove internal stresses and toughen it.
We are all involved in interpersonal relationships, whether they are romantic, familial, friendship, professional or casual acquaintance. And we all experience challenges from time to time within them. Some, more than others. For all too many of us, we often witnessed dysfunctional relationships while we were growing up, and not knowing any better some of us then went on to be participants in more or less flawed relationships of our own.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, in any case. Honestly, we often hardly manage functional relationships with ourselves. In fact, our relationships with ourselves are often the hardest! And if we have been exposed in our formative years to interactions which were not always the best examples, we follow many of the same patterns and make many of the same mistakes. Hurtful exchanges occur, and then we tend to react to one another instead of acting proactively in a healthy way, and this leads to feelings that undermine not only the relationship itself, but also our perceptions of ourselves. It becomes a vicious cycle. A very destructive one.
We then have the tendency to characterize the whole scenario as a "bad relationship". And while in some cases (too many) that may actually be the case, more often than not it is not the relationship which is "bad" - or more appropriately, erroneous - but rather, our behavior within it. The first consideration, then, should be self-examination in order to discover where we can make improvement, so that we may grow in understanding and affect positive change that will result in more fruitful and harmonious interaction.
While it is most common to bemoan our circumstances and to focus on all the trouble they are causing us, there is a broader view we can take on these situations in our lives. From a more spiritual perspective, relationships are about learning, about expanding our capabilities, developing new skill sets and deepening our comprehension about how relationships actually work, so that we can become more effective within them. When we make the effort to shift our understanding in this manner, we allow ourselves to see potential instead of hardship, and we become more able to manage the exchange so that we can create a better outcome.
Good relationships are a lot of hard work, between sometimes widely diverse people. But they do not have to be "difficult", in the ways we have come to understand in the past. Functional relationships can be challenging, but they should not strain us to the point of breaking. If that is the case, then it might be best to re-evaluate how appropriate a relationship we actually have. If we take the time and put forth the effort of practicing mindfulness in all our varied connections, we find that we are not being put through the fire to be destroyed, but rather to be annealed. In this way, we overcome the inner stresses that make us fragile, and embrace the processes that make us strong.
About the Author
Born a natural writer, Holly's mom used to tell people that she came out of the womb with a pencil in her hand. Her goal in writing is to offer deeper observances about her everyday experiences, in order to assist others as they traverse the path of life's journey. Find Holly Austin Grimes on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Quirinvox