Out with the "highs and lows" of relationships

Originally appeared on spirituality.com

Life can certainly seem like a swirl of emotions, especially when it comes to relationships. Whether it’s looking for friendship in a new school or city, hoping that things go the way you want with a crush, or dealing with hurt feelings when a friend disappoints you, what others think of you and how you feel about them can appear to play a major role in making life joyful and fun—or not.

I’ve found that the hard times in my relationships have often led to huge steps of spiritual growth. Not that it necessarily feels that way at the time! At one point several years ago, a guy whom I really liked disappointed me; I felt like his actions betrayed my trust. At first, I felt caught up in a whirlpool of disappointment and self-condemnation. But after I’d spent a few days feeling this way, moping around and having tearful conversations with sympathetic friends, a simple idea snapped me out of it.

The idea came to me as a metaphor. I imagined a girl at a beautiful, tropical ocean beach, lying on her back in about two feet of water. She was completely covered in the water, and was terrified and screaming as the waves rushed around her. The image made me laugh out loud. Why would she lie on her back and be frightened by the rushing water, when she could easily sit up and enjoy her beautiful surroundings? I realized that the depressing, disappointed emotions that I felt were controlling me were no more powerful than the two feet of water on the beach I was imagining. Like the girl in my metaphor, I had the power to sit up and enjoy the beautiful truth of my surroundings.

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