Annealing of the Soul
There is a process in metallurgy called annealing where a metal is heated to a specific temperature and allowed to cool slowly. During this heating process, the metal softens, and crystalline defects (which cause internal stress) are removed. During the cooling phase, new crystalline structures form, generally reforming with fewer defects. This same process is often performed with glass, and glass that has not been annealed is more likely to shatter.
I sometimes feel that God uses a similar process on our souls. We sometimes undergo a heating process in the form of stress, pressure, or problems. In a metal, the heating process causes the breakdown of atomic bonds. In us, this process may cause us to let go of preconceived notions, or attitudes that we have developed about individuals or groups. As we make our way through these troubling times and things start to cool off, we settle into a new understanding, hopefully one that represents an improvement in us.