There comes a time, when something inside clicks, and you start to see things for the way they are.  Slowly,you move beyond the daydream of “one day” and learn to deal with the stark reality of today.   You brutally and honestly asses your life and yourself.  You take a deep breath, and decide to stop.

Stop screaming, and crying and wondering why.  Stop fighting, and clammering to hold on to a dream that in reality died long ago.  Stop wishing, and hoping, and praying for a change in someone else.  As the sobs of your latest tantrum subside, you look at the world through new eyes. This is your moment of clarity.

You begin to realize that you are not, and never were Cinderella, and there is no Prince Charming.  There are no fairy tales, and any hope of happily ever after must come from you, and only you. Once you can finally embrace that truth, and embrace it with your whole heart, there will come true peace.

You stop worrying about who you are supposed to be, who you are supposed to love, who you are supposed to allow into your life.  It doesn’t matter anymore what “they” say. Where you should shop, what you should weigh, what you should eat. Who are “they” anyway? Suddenly you wonder why you ever cared to begin with.

You begin to accept the fact that you are not perfect, and you cannot be everything for everybody, no matter how much you want to.  Like it or not, not everyone is going to like you all the time, and eventually that becomes okay.  You begin the work of liking and respecting yourself, and learn to require that same respect from those around you.

You look at friendship in an entirely new way, and see that friendship is a two-way street.  You begin to extract from your lives those that are only looking to fill a void in their lives, without ever caring much about yours. As painful as the letting go can be, you realize that to obtain the peace and serenity you so desperately desire, you must let go of the toxic people in your life.

You learn that success can only come from hard work and perseverance. You define success in your own terms for the first time, instead of someone elses, because for the first time, you realize that you are smart enough to define your own life.

You face the obstacles that you have avoided for so long and realize that they aren’t as insurmountable as you once thought. You accept the fact that you are strong, and your strength has been there all along, just waiting to be discovered. You face starting all over again from scratch, and although it is scary, and there are people depending on you, you know you can do it. You give yourself permission to be afraid, and move forward at your own pace, and believe in yourself like never before.

Then you begin to consider the possibility of love. Once so frightening a thought that you swore never, ever again, you realize that it doesn’t have to be that way.  You learn that you can’t look to a relationship to fill your needs, and you cannot fill anyone elses needs. You cannot be responsible for anyone’s happiness, and you cannot make anyone responsible for yours.

You picture instead this lover of your dreams.  Someone who will talk with you for hours about literature, and poetry, and music. You fantasize about a cabin in the woods, with a lake and a fireplace, and a Golden Retriever at your feet.  You daydream of long walks together, canoe rides, and time alone to write, content with the knowledge of your lovers closeness.  You dream of hands of someone who cherishes you despite your flaws,caressing you and teaching you to respect and love yourself in the process.

You stop working so hard to deny your feelings. You put aside once and for all the facade of the cold woman of steel you worked so hard to perfect.  It’s hard to let that facade go, it has been your only protection for so long, but the compassionate, caring feeling person underneath all that steel has been buried for far too long.

You learn to deal with the painful negative feelings as they come.  You learn to redirect anger, bitterness, and hostility before they have a chance to become implanted, and risk building a bridge instead of a wall.  You take joy in the simplicity of everyday life.

Finally, as the sun sets on another day, you will stand in quiet gratitude, thankful that the Universe allowed this clarity into your heart.  You see the steps you need to take to make a life worth living, and with a deep breath, you begin.

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