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> A time comes in your life when you finally get 
> it...When, in the midst of 
> all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in 
> your tracks, and somewhere 
> the voice inside your head cries out and says- 
> ENOUGH! Enough fighting 
> and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a 
> child quieting down after a 
> blind tantrum,your sobs begin to subside, you 
> shudder once or twice, you 
> blink back your tears, and through a mantle of 
> wet lashes you begin to 
> look at the world through new eyes. This is your 
> awakening. 
> You realize that it's time to stop hoping and 
> waiting for something to 
> change or for happiness, safety and security to 
> come galloping over the 
> next horizon. You come to terms with the fact 
> that he is not Prince 
> Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in 
> the real world there 
> aren't always fairytale endings (or beginnings 
> for that matter), and that any 
> guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with 
> you; and in the 
> process  a sense of serenity is born of 
> acceptance. 
> You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect 
> and that not everyone 
> will always love, appreciate or approve of who or 
> what you are... and that's 
> OK. 
> (They are entitled to their own views and 
> opinions.) And you learn the 
> importance of loving and championing yourself ; 
> and in the process a sense of 
> new 
> found confidence is born of self-approval. 
> You stop bitching and blaming other people for 
> the things they did to you 
> (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the 
> only thing you can really 
> count on is the unexpected. You learn that people 
> don't always say what 
> they mean or mean what they say, and that not 
> everyone will always be there 
> for you; and that it's not always about you. So, 
> you learn to stand on 
> your own, and to take care of yourself; and in 
> the process a sense of safety 
> and security is born of self-reliance. 
> You stop judging and pointing fingers...and you 
> begin to accept people 
> as they are, and to overlook their shortcomings 
> and human frailties; and in 
> the process a sense of peace and contentment is 
> born of forgiveness. 
> You realize that much of the way you view 
> yourself,and the world around 
> you,is as a result of all the messages and 
> opinions that have been 
> ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift 
> through all the crap 
> you've been fed about how you should behave, how 
> you should look, and 
> how  much you should weigh;what you should wear 
> and where you should 
> shop, and what you should drive; how and where 
> you should live,and what 
> you  should do for a living; who you should 
> sleep with, who you should marry, and what you 
> should expect of a marriage; 
> the importance of having and raising children, or 
> what you owe your parents. 
> You learn to open up to new worlds and different 
> points of view. And you 
> begin reassessing and redefining who you are and 
> what you really stand for. 
> You learn the difference between wanting and 
> needing and you begin to 
> discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, 
> or should never have 
> bought into to begin with; and in the process you 
> learn to go with your 
> instincts. 
> You learn that it is truly in giving that we 
> receive. And that there is 
> power and glory in creating and contributing; and 
> you stop maneuvering 
> through life merely as a "consumer" looking for 
> your next fix. You learn 
> that principles such as honesty and integrity are 
> not the outdated ideals 
> of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds 
> together the foundation upon 
> which you must build a life. 
> You learn that you don't know everything, it's 
> not your job to save the 
> world... and that you can't teach a pig to sing. 
> You learn to 
> distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and 
> the importance of setting 
> boundaries, 
> and learning to say NO. 
> You learn that the only cross to bear is the one 
> you choose to carry, 
> and that martyrs get burned at the stake. 
> Then you learn about love. Romantic love and 
> familial love. How to love, 
> how much to give in love, when to stop giving, 
> and when to walk away. 
> You learn not to project your needs or your 
> feelings onto a relationship. 
> You learn that you will not be, more beautiful, 
> more intelligent, more 
> lovable 
> or important because of the man on your arm or 
> the child that bears your 
> name. You learn to look at relationships as they 
> really are and not as 
> you would have them be. 
> You stop trying to control people, situations and 
> outcomes. You learn that 
> just as people grow and change, so it is with 
> love...and you learn that 
> you don't have the right to demand love on your 
> terms...just to make you 
> happy. 
> And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely. 
> And you look in the mirror 
> and come to terms with the fact that you will 
> never be a size 5 or a 
> perfect 10, and you stop trying to compete with 
> the image inside your head 
> and agonizing over how you "stack up." 
> You also stop working so hard at putting your 
> feelings aside, smoothing 
> things over and ignoring your needs. You learn 
> that feelings of entitlement 
> are perfectly OK....and that it is your right to 
> want things and to ask for 
> the things that you want...and that sometimes it 
> is necessary to make 
> demands. You come to the realization that you 
> deserve to be treated with 
> love, kindness,sensitivity and respect; and you 
> won't settle for less.
> And, you allow only the hands of a lover who 
> cherishes you to glorify you 
> with his touch... and in the process you 
> internalize the meaning of 
> self-respect. 
> And you learn that your body really is your 
> temple, and you begin to 
> care for it and treat it with respect. You begin 
> eating a balanced diet, 
> drinking more water and taking more time to 
> exercise. You learn that 
> fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create 
> doubt and fear. So you take 
> more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the 
> body, laughter fuels our 
> soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play. 
> You learn, that for the most part, in life you 
> get what you believe you 
> deserve... and that much of life truly is a 
> self-fulfilling prophecy. 
> You learn that anything worth achieving is worth 
> working for, and that 
> wishing for something to happen is different from 
> working toward making it 
> happen. 
> More importantly, you learn that in order to 
> achieve success you need 
> direction, discipline and perseverance. You also 
> learn that no one can 
> do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking 
> for help. 
> You learn that the only thing you must truly fear 
> is the great robber baron 
> of all time. FEAR itself. 
> You learn to step right into and through your 
> fears because you know 
> that whatever happens you can handle it, and to 
> give in to fear is to give 
> away the right to live life on your terms. And 
> you learn to fight for your 
> life 
> and not to squander it living under a cloud of 
> impending doom. You learn 
> that life isn't always fair, you don't always get 
> what you think you 
> deserve; and that sometimes bad things happen to 
> unsuspecting, good people. 
> On these occasions you learn not to personalize 
> things. You learn that God 
> isn't punishing you or failing to answer your 
> prayers. It's just life 
> happening. 
> And you learn to deal with evil in its most 
> primal state - the ego. You 
> learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy 
> and resentment must be 
> understood and redirected or they will suffocate 
> the life out of you, 
> and poison the universe that surrounds you. 
> You learn to admit when you are wrong and to 
> building bridges instead of 
> walls. You learn to be thankful and to take 
> comfort in many of the 
> simple things we take for granted, things that 
> millions of people upon the 
> earth can only dream about; a full 
> refrigerator,clean running water, a soft 
> warm bed, a long hot shower. 
> Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for 
> yourself by yourself; and 
> you to make yourself a promise to never betray 
> yourself and to never, ever, 
> settle for less than your heart's desire. And you 
> hang a wind chime 
> outside your window so you can listen to the 
> wind. And you make it a point 
> to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay 
> open to every wonderful 
> possibility. 
> Finally, with courage in your heart and with God 
> by your side you take a 
> stand; you take a deep breath, and you begin to 
> design the life you want 
> to live as best as you can. 

 Rhonda McClary 
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