If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know that my family is in the process of transforming our lifestyle from a more conventional and ordinary form to a creative lifestyle that conforms more closely to our dreams.
Although this process of transformation has been fun, it can also be stressful at times. And conflicts do arise.
In my opinion, the process of creative family lifestyle design doesn’t really create conflict as much as it can uncover previously unacknowledged conflicts and force you to deal with them.
Many of us have issues with loved ones that go unresolved simply because it is easier to ignore them than to deal with them while we are following a busy lifestyle. Now I’m not suggesting that you should intentionally dig up all of these conflicts. However, if there are issues in your family that are likely to raise their ugly heads while you are also undergoing a lot of other stress in your life, the combined stress may be too much to bear. In such a case addressing these issues in advance may save a lot of unnecessary pain later.
In thinking about the stresses that my own relationships have undergone, it became obvious to me that such stress can be beneficial to relationships in the long run.
You know the old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well, I’ve come to believe that without tough times, relationships never mature. If you’ve never really experienced true stress together with your partner, then I believe you can’t know for sure how strong your relationship is.
How strong is a rope? There may be a rating from a manufacturer, but only by using that rope, and stressing it, can we know for sure what it can handle. And it’s better to know such answers early on in relatively safe situations where you have some control over the circumstances than later when some truly serious issue arises.
What is true for an ordinary rope is also true in relationships. Unfortunately, relationships don’t come pre-labeled as to their strength and fortitude. I propose that in any important relationship, the participants need to find themselves, at least once, seriously questioning whether they should end that relationship. This sounds harsh, but it is only at this point that you can know for sure what is going on deep inside of your heart.
If a relationship is never tested under fire, I believe that relationship could be more likely to ultimately fail. Strong steel is forged in a hot fire. Strong relationships are forged, and weak relationships fail, as a result of meaningful conflict.
No one goes looking for conflict or negative stress. Certainly not me. And I have found that beginning the process of pursuing my dreams has been relatively stress free, despite all of the changes that we have brought to our lives.
Today my family are living our lives, not just enduring them. We are no longer paying dues. Instead, we are enjoying the ride.
No, we are not being irresponsible. Instead, we are simply aware that life is a finite existence, and now is the best time to live it, not later.
When conflict does arise amongst us, it gives me a greater sense of peace while amidst this negative energy knowing that our strong relationships will come out of that conflict even stronger than before. I don’t fear that all will fall apart. And the absence of that fear makes conflict resolution much easier.
So the next time you find yourself in a heated confrontation with a loved one, remember – you are in the process of forging your relationship into a bond greater than steel.
Respect your partner, and require equal respect for yourself. Resolve issues as best you can and then reassure him or her that your shared love is all that really matters anyway.
I wish you the best of luck in all that you do.