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I've changed my mind about being good.

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't measured by "good" or "bad". 

"When I was growing up I was told there were two kinds of people in the world: good and bad. Like most children, I worked to show off my good qualities and tried hard to hide my bad ones. I desperately wanted to get rid of all those parts of myself that were unacceptable. As I got older more people came into my life with all their opinions, and I realized there was even more of myself I had to hide."
Debbie Ford, The Dark Side of The Light Chasers

I just wanted to be "good".

Last summer, my husband and I visited a childhood best friend of mine. She and I had years of catching up to do and only two days to do it. As we shared stories, she excitedly produced a handful of wrinkled letters - letters I wrote to her after I moved away, right before high school. The handwriting was unfamiliar, and yet I knew it was mine. With each line of broken cursive, my stomach churned. Who was this girl? Everything I wrote about my life was a lie. Even to a best friend I felt the need to hide behind the truth and present myself as a girl who was adapting well with many friends and dating prospects. Being good was popularity, not introversion. Being good was being attractive, not invisible.

Sitting across from my friend on her couch, I admitted to her that I was only pretending to be okay back then, that I was actually quite miserable and spent more time alone or with my family than the many friends I alluded to having. And I wasn't asked out by a single boy at my high school.

In my striving to be a "good" girl, I lost my sense of self completely. 

I didn't want to be "bad".

"By choosing not to allow parts of ourselves to exist, we are forced to expend huge amounts of psychic energy to keep them beneath the surface. If there is an aspect of ourselves that we don't accept, we'll continually attract people in our lives who act out that aspect."
The Dark Side of The Light Chasers

My first year spent on church staff I found myself in conflict with another pastor's wife. I felt attacked and disrespected; I wasn't being listened to. I am a good person, I thought, why is she making me out to be so awful? In an attempt to clear the air, we met with a mediator at a coffee shop to talk things out. Instead, we yelled. From then on, we would pretend the other didn't exist if we found ourselves in the same room. It was seven months before either of us were willing to try working things out again. I had recently finished reading The Dark Side of The Light Chasers and I was learning to accept my "bad" qualities. During the second meeting with this woman, with only a few minutes of eye contact, I finally saw myself in her. We weren't all that different. What I didn't like about her - her defensiveness, her abrasiveness, her unwillingness to see my point of view, her eye rolls, her assumptions - was exactly what I didn't like about myself. I wasn't "good" or "right" nor was I "bad" or "wrong", and neither was she.

Competing for goodness only illuminated the parts of me I was ashamed of. 

"The hardest words to own are always related to incidents where we feel someone has wronged us. Our egos resist owning characteristics that would make us give up blaming someone else for the condition of our life. When you don't own an aspect of yourself it runs your life. At any moment in time we can give up our resentments and judgments and choose to forgive ourselves and others."
The Dark Side of The Light Chasers

I've changed my mind about being good.

It's taken years for me to accept my true identity. I'm learning the devil and angel on my shoulders have an equal voice, one is not better than the other, they are simply different perceptions, two options to consider. They are both me. My "bad" qualities serve me just as well as my "good" ones. 

And when I see you, I can't help but see me.

"My mission is to be whole, to be complete, to be perfect and imperfect at the same time. My mission is to listen to my inner wisdom and to live my life as fully as possible. My commitment is to love myself as much as humanly possible, for I know that when I do I will in return be able to love you."
The Dark Side of The Light Chasers

I've changed my mind about spirituality.

I've changed my mind about money.