Excellent blog post. I have the luxury of not being a professional photographer, so I automatically don't have to care what other people think of my photographs. To be a professional photographer, relying on your skill to put bread on the table, it takes real courage to work like you suggest, but in the same breath I must say I agree with you 100%. It's good to be challenged as an artist, and it is good to search within to find out how we want our photographs to look. It's what I've done for a long time now.
I do make some 'friend' portraits, but will completely stop with it, because the expectations of almost being able to alter what they look like (according to their own unrealistic expectation of how beautiful they look) until they resemble a much glorified version of themselves is stifling to say the least.
How do you deal with that as a portraitist?