Honest, intimate relationships aren’t easy. That’s part of the reason we learn so much from them, and grow so much from returning to them at times when our most fearful, defensive selves would prefer to isolate in a dark cave where we’re always right instead. The more you care about someone, the stronger your fear and urge to stigmatize them or close yourself off from them can be. Keeping your heart open takes hard work, particularly when so many messages from the outside world treat independence, indifference, and dogmatic allegiance as the triumphant realm of life’s true winners. Learning from conflict sometimes requires vulnerably letting go of some of your most rigid beliefs in order to allow someone else’s emotional experience to guide you to a new understanding of the world.