I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. (Stephen Covey) If I were completely honest with myself, I would say that most (if not all) of the bad things that have happened to me in my life were the result of bad decisions on my part. It’s not to say that there were not people who deliberately mislead, deceived, and betrayed me. However, at some point, I did chose to associate with these individuals. I decided to trust before trust was earned. I chose to accept apologies that were not backed up with actions. I ignored my inner voice, instinct, and gut feelings that were giving me warnings. I did not adequately educate myself on discernment, relationships, and decision making. I did not listen when older, wiser people tried to give me good, solid advice. I was arrogant, willful, stubborn, and foolish. These things I own. In every single circumstance in which I was grossly betrayed in a relationship I clearly had early warning signs the person or the relationship was not what it seemed–not in my best interest. My biggest mistake has been to see and belief things to be how I wanted them to be instead of how they really were. When I made the firm, deliberate decision to see things (and people) how they really were (and not how I wished they were) I began making better decisions and having better relationships. When I decided I wanted to know the truth no matter how hurtful or unpleasant that truth may be, I was able to face what I had to face and move on.