There's a theory I read somewhere years ago. Something about it stuck with me. I've noticed lately, that it has been popping into my mind more and more...this theory...I'm fascinated and drawn to it. What if (before we were born), depending upon your belief system, we made an agreement with our family and friends on the other side? It's made in order to help us to grow spiritually on this side. In this agreement, they must challenge us, test us, and push us to grow. These are the people that do that, and are the hardest on us here on earth. The ones who agreed to take on something that isn't seen as "good" in order to benefit us. I love this theory...it brings such peace to so many negative situations. At least for me it does, and maybe you too!
I'm not saying that there aren't just "evil" people in the world, because there are/have been...Hitler, Bin Laden, Vlad Tepes, Joseph Stalin...I'm saying that most people who teach you forgiveness, tolerance, self acceptance, and self love are the one's who make your life path rocky and even make you question your beliefs. Usually, they are even the most important people in your life. I'm not supporting the "this is for your own good" situations. I disagree with that type of attitude, and do not support physical abuse, emotional abuse or any abuse. However, if you notice, the strongest people (spiritually), are the one's who have experienced these situations, forgave the offender, and moved on with their lives.
There are people that forgave their parent's for abandoning them, pushing them too hard to succeed, or made to feel like whatever they did wasn't good enough. Work situations, where they were asked by their co-workers or superiors to do something unethical, but stand their ground even if they might lose their job. In extreme cases, these are the people who forgave criminals for killing their children, and even go as far as to speak at a trial to save them from the death penalty. The person, who as they were dying, forgave the person who killed them. These are all ways people grow spiritually and emotionally.
Personally, I no longer allow others to define my self worth. Complete acceptance by friends, family members, or strangers is no longer needed to make me feel validated, whole or complete. I try to remember that a person's perception or opinion is simply that...their opinion or perception. It doesn't make them right or wrong. In every bad relationship or bad situation we are given choices. We can be bitter or we can be better.