Last week I met a friend for tea. We spent most of our time in this gorgeous tea shop discussing our current relationships, past relationships, confusing friendships, family dramas and personal struggles.
We weren’t there purely to complain, but instead to seek support from each other – a kind of confirmation that we’re both normal, if you like. The fact that I can have such open conversations with this friend is a testament to how in sync our minds are, but that’s another blog post in itself!
No, the reason I was so inspired to write was because of something she said, at one point when I was talking about how hard something was. She nodded and said:
But maybe the hard times are the ones that make you grow.
Now it’s silly really, that it took me that long to understand what she meant. I mean, isn’t that obvious – ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and all that?
But something about the way she said it, and maybe with the context that I was in a state where I needed to hear it, made me think, wow, she’s right.
I feel like I grew the most personally when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone: when I moved away from home, when I lived abroad, when I interviewed for competitive jobs, when I took on new roles or studied areas that were new to me. So on a personal level, this was so true. All these times were hard, in some way or another. Pulling through them and succeeding meant I grew so much in my outlook and approach to life.
Then in terms of relationships, this is also true. A few months ago, my boyfriend and I went through a period of change that we needed to work through together. I can now look back, from the great place we are in now, and see how far we’ve come. We have grown as a couple. And the friends who I am closest to are those who I’ve gone through difficult or challenging times with.
All relationships take work, and particularly your relationship with yourself can be a very tricky one to maintain healthily. But when you hit a hard rock, something that’s tricky to get over, it can be helpful to remember that the experience of getting through whatever it is, will encourage you to grow as a person and to grow your relationships with that other person.