Reader comment on Anonymous's passage ...

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    On Oct 11, 2011 Fcinek wrote:

    It's less risky to give someone your heart if you realize that you won't be rejected without your consent, to paraphrase former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

    After all,  a listener offers his/her response/opinion to what we have offered: nothing more, nothing less.  We, as the sharer of our heart, decide whether or not to swallow the listener's opinion whole, or whether to believe that we are already whole, we are already enough and we don't need the acceptance of others because we have already been blessed with infinite worth by virtue of being alive, despite the fact that we are fallable and imperfect. 

    The higher our self-esteem, the less important become the opinions of others. Charles Swindoll said that  "Life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent how you react to it."

    For me, one of the most profound insights into what Maslow calls becoming a "Self-Actualized" person is to become "independent of the good opinion of other people."  Now that is an empowering insight, I think !!  For years it has been a mantra for me. While it will never be totally attainable, I continue to strive for it and to make modest progress.

    I had a painful, on-going relationship for many years with a relative who treated me rudely, critically, and dismissively.  Rather than believe her "opinion" of me, I chose to believe my own opinion: " This is a person who is deeply wounded and in a lot of pain."  She has a hard-shell exterior, but inside, I believe she is sensitive, caring, generous, smart,  loving and scared of rejection/criticism.

    As time has transpired,  I continue to be of the same opinion.  She is still in my life, and my initial opinion has not wavered. I continue to love her to the best of my ability and she is now pro-actively seeking to heal her wounds.  I still make the conscious choice to love this relative and I continue to hope that she will grow in her capacity to love herself as much as I love her. My decision to love her is one I can change at any time, but choose not to.

    As Oprah would say, a major life task is to turn our "wounds into wisdom," and if we seek to become the best we can be, this goal,  while painful, will be serve us well.  Ancient wisdom says, "A gem is not polished without friction, nor is a man perfected without trials."


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