Quotes to Live By - The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves

Posted by Lauren Eyer

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not twist them to fit our own image.  Otherwise we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
Thomas Merton
I wanted to pick a quote this week on the subject of love because the Valentine's Day holiday is tomorrow.  I didn't want to focus on just the topic of romantic love, because there are many forms of love in our lives including love for our family and friends and even the practice of self-love.
To me, this quote is about challenging us to accept others as they are.  Not to control what they do, or what they wear, or how they speak or act, but to view them as they are, and love them for their uniqueness, and the qualities that only they have.  It's loving without judgement, or without trying to mold them into a person you think they should be, rather just appreciating them as the individual they are.  
I challenge you to do this for yourself as well.  So many of us try to become someone we think others want us to be, and we move further and further away from the person we really are, or from what we want to do.  It's hard when there are so many pressures out there to fit a mold, and the reality is that all of us, no matter our background, really just want to be loved.
The truth is, and I think the older I get, the more I realize is that the people who really love you and accept you for who you are will be there for you when you speak your truths and follow your heart.  The people there when you do that are the ones who really love and care.

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