Remember the song "One of these things is not like the other" from Sesame Street? If you’d like a brief refresher, check out the video:
The basic concept, of course, is to find the one thing that does not match the rest of the items in the set. Looking at the picture below, can you find which of my grocery purchases does not match the rest? Can you guess which one I might have purchased not because I would like it, but because I thought someone else might like it? And because relationships sometimes make us do weird things?
From an eastern philosophical perspective, relationships can be used to help expand our sense of and experiences with the world. Relationships can give us the chance to do nice things for other people, even if it provokes a nervous twitch when you do the thing that is nice (like how my purchasing the "thing that was not like the others" was, admittedly, difficult).
Relationships can also help us to expand our definitions of good and bad. Maybe you used to think people of a certain religious or political affiliation were icky, but then you found yourself in love with one. Or maybe you thought yoga-obsessed people were ridiculous only to find yourself patiently learning about the joys of downward dog. Or maybe, in a grocery store, you found that you could add that much-maligned product basket… even though it didn’t quite fit with the fresh produce and iron-rich cereal.