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Image9thorns“I’m the one who always covered up my thorny-rough patches with the smooth everything-is-all-right exterior. I have trouble letting people see the real me because I’m afraid they won’t like the real me.” (The quote and the following reflections flow from Day 6 In The Pursuit of Love).

impThe problem is that those thorns started to rip apart my insides. It’s like buying a “perfect” apple and cutting into it and finding it is riddled with bruises. I worked very hard for most of my life, at not hurting anyone else’s feelings, even at the expense of my own. I judged their well-being to be more important than my own. There comes a point where those thorny bits had carved out so much of the real me – that when I tried to go back to the mischievous little kid who once giggled joyously – there was little left of what once was.

Image6apple1213No matter how badly an apple has decayed – it only takes one seed planted in fertile soil to bring the apple back to its full potential. This is what I found for myself. No matter how far I strayed from my true path, I always carry a seed of my true self with me. I just needed better conditions to grow and thrive.

This was perhaps my greatest epiphany of my year of blogging about love — I don’t need to fix all the bruised parts of myself. I don’t fix a bruised apple. I put the bruised parts on the compost pile. I only keep the parts that are vibrant and alive.

Peace bench memoirial Oswego StateHowever, the bruised and broken parts of me served a purpose. They showed me what I do NOT want for my life. I can either focus on fixing what I do not like about my life or expand what I love. What I love is PEACE. My problem was I approached people and situations from the bruised parts of me and this never brought peace.

colleen long hairThe other day someone decided to tell me how terrible my hair looks — frizzy and too long etc. Although this may have been a true fact — my first response was to shrink a bit inside. I was in public when this was said and I felt as if I should hide. Then I went into non-peace mode and started to justify how I had tried a new shampoo… And then I found my peace. My peaceful response: “I’m only accepting compliments today.” Only one of us was at peace at that moment but I had planted the seed that I am not responsible for everyone else’s thorny bits. After I made my declaration, I did indeed receive many compliments (not about my hair but who cares) and I had a joyous night.

I now understand what Gandhi means in this quote: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Today, I laugh at my faults as I toss them on the compost pile and I am only accepting compliments.

When you feel someone is criticizing you — how do you respond?