There were two quotes that jumped out at me:
"If you want to know who your truest friends are, ask yourself who encourages you to accept yourself as you are. For it is all but the very mark of true friend that he or she encourages that in you. Yet, most of us have few friends of that caliber."I thought of all of the amazing friends I have that encourage me to accept myself as I am.
The second quote that hit me was this one:
"It is possible that no one but your truest friends will accept that you do not condemn your “darkest impulses”. The rest of the world is reluctant to give up that means of manipulating you."I was SO afraid of accepting myself. I was terrified I would suddenly become a horrible person. I was afraid of who I would be without guilt and shame driving me. I have seen first hand what "darkest impulses" can do, and I didn't want to BE that. I didn't want to hurt others like I had been hurt. I fought with Paul constantly about this - he believed his job was to help me accept ALL of me, including the darkest parts. I believed I had to manipulate and force myself to be something I wasn't. I didn't even require outside forces doing it.
Today, BJ asked me what was wrong with him going after his wants. What was wrong with him doing what he wanted? I didn't have an answer... other than, "Nothing. Live YOUR life." He asked me to play the devil's advocate. Come up with a reason that he shouldn't do what he wants to do. I had a hard time. Years of therapy where I kept telling Paul that I couldn't just be ME, because ME wasn't good enough... I couldn't just do what I want, because the whole world would fall apart, or I'd hurt people, or... and today, without coming back and reading old blogs, I couldn't remember how I used to think. (cue trumpets!)
For most of my life, I was told that having control over my own life was selfishness. It was not okay to pursue my dreams or goals, or to take care of my wants and needs unless I FIRST took care of everyone else. That is SO WRONG!
There are many people who don't want me (or you or anyone else) to accept ourselves. If I accept myself, I will not use anti-wrinkle cream on my face, or get plastic surgery, or eat this or that diet, and there goes a billion dollar industry.
If I accept myself, I might not do what everyone else thinks is right. I will do what is best for me. Always.
If I accept and love myself for who I am, I do not have to be a slave to you to earn your love.
If I accept myself, I will not allow myself to be abused. When someone tries to manipulate me into doing what they want, it just won't work. Power hungry people cannot handle a person who loves themselves. It takes away all their power.
I stayed in relationships that were very unhealthy, because I believed no one else could love or accept me. After all, I hated me, how could anyone else love me? Through a miraculous combination of therapy, books, friends, horses, and experiences, I have come to love and accept myself for who I am. With that love came the power to walk away. It didn't matter what they said, because I knew myself and I loved myself.
I have amazing friends. On a hard day, they remind me how much I am loved by them. And then they remind me that their love doesn't matter nearly as much as my love for me. And I am grateful.