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Relationships are Our Greatest Teachers

May 6th, 2013

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A few days ago I saw a quote that somebody shared on Facebook, and I have been thinking a lot about it...


I was looking for it again, but of course I could never find it on Facebook (too many things going on there :). So I looked around, goggled a bit and finally found something that sounded pretty close:

"In life, God doesn't give you the people you want. Instead, he gives you the people you need
- to teach you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you exactly the way you're meant to be."

Some people will argue that God does not send others to hurt us, of course not, I agree, but we can't take this quote so literally, the whole idea here is that every single human being we come in contact with, is, to a certain extent, our teacher.

In our lives, people come and go all the time, with some of them we may only share a few minutes with others we may share a lifetime, and we have everything in between, but each and every one of them crosses our lives for a reason.

I once met a guy in a train, he made a comment on the book I was reading, and we shared a brief conversation in which he recommended another book to me; our conversation lasted just a couple minutes, I never saw that guy again, yet the book he recommended to me was a life-changer. This is an example of a quick encounter that brought something very meaningful and long lasting to my life.

Then, we can all think of more obvious examples, for instance: friends or family members that helped us through difficult times or teachers that were mentors to us at some point. But what about those relationships that we may have seen as negative, toxic, difficult; or those that did not last as long as we had hoped for and left our hearts broken. Well, even those relationships where there for a reason.

The truth is, our lifetime on earth is nothing but a journey of growth, a journey in which we have to find ourselves and find peace, contentment and ultimately happiness. But this journey is also a journey of struggle, loss and grief, because it is often on the moments of hardship that we can really grow, renew, restart, transform, etc.

And since relationships with our fellow human beings are probably the most important source of emotions in our lives, there is no mystery that it is through relationships that we can learn the most, and grow the most. Every relationship in our lives is to some extent a reflection of what we need to learn at any given time, sometimes the lesson is clear and easy to grasp, other times it is hidden and complex, but it is there nevertheless.

The loss of a relationship is probably our greatest teacher, because with grief comes new understanding and from new understanding comes growth and transformation.

A couple weeks ago, I went to a group meditation with Tara Brach, and she shared a story that brought tears to my eyes. I would like to share it here because I think it is relevant to the topic of grief and loss of relationships:

It is said that Kafka one day found a little girl sobbing desperately at a park, she told him she had lost her doll, he then told her the doll was not lost but rather went off to travel the world. Week after week Kafka saw the little girl at the park and brought her a letter from her doll, sharing her wonderful travels and telling the girl not to worry because she was happy.

Finally, a few months passed and Kafka brought a doll for the girl, it looked totally different, so he told the girl that her travels had "changed" her.

It wasn't until the girl was a grown woman that she found a little note hidden inside the doll, and the note read:

"You will loose everyone you love in life, but love will come back to you in different forms"

I am actually crying as I am writing this... Although we may not actually loose everyone we love, the last quote really hits a note of truth for all of us. Life is made of small and big losses that can break our hearts over and over again, when we see dear friends move away, when we leave our parents house for the first time, when we fall in and out of love, when we loose a loved one, etc. All these are part of life and we have to live through each and every one of them.

So, no matter how long a relationship is in your life for, it is important to cherish it, take the best of it, give the best of you and let it go when it is time for it to go. Living in the present or rather living "in presence" (there is actually a big distinction between the two!), can help us see every relationship with more clarity, as well as enjoy every person in our lives without any attachment to them.

Relationships are one of our best teachers, so be thankful for each and every person in your life and what they bring to you, in whatever form they do, remember, they are there for you to grow and become a better version of yourself.

Have a good week!



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