Betrayal. Yuck. It's one of the human experiences that can be so painful and hard to understand. It hurts when you feel lied to or when someone you thought you could trust shows you something different. When we feel betrayed or like our trust is broken, it's natural to want to hang on to the anger, resentment, blame and "how could she" or "I can't believe he" thoughts. But this keeps us in victim consciousness and only perpetuates our suffering.
There is a way out of the suffering. There is a way to bring lightness to this seemingly heavy experience.
Last week after receiving some unexpected information, I found myself in the depths of feeling betrayed. I did get through it and so can you!
I offer you this step-by-step process to move through betrayal:
Step One: Just feel it. Yes, you gotta just feel your feelings around it. Betrayal or violated trust can be incredibly jolting. In a sense, it can feel traumatic because it catches us totally off guard and threatens the (false) sense of security we project on others. Feel your sadness or anger. Cry, scream, journal, or hit a pillow. Talk to friends who will just listen and hold a loving space rather than engaging in badmouthing or throwing a pity party for you or reach out to a coach or counselor. Do not call or be feeling your feelings with the person who you felt betrayed you.
Step Two: Take action and deal with physical world reality issues if applicable. Often in a case of betrayal there are things you need to clean up. If you've been cheated on, get tested. If you require legal advice, consult a lawyer. Do what you need to do to care for your basic self needs. This is important because when trust issues are up, the little one inside of you needs to see you taking care of yourself. Being proactive creates peace of mind.
Step Three: Look for the lessons. Challenges are how we learn. Sure they don't feel so hot but they always turn up the heat in terms of our growth. Be radically courageous through your willingness to see your role in the situation. On the flip side sometimes there isn't a big lesson reflected back about us. We can be part of other people's lessons and on some level agreed to serve them in terms of our participation. Our learning in it is simply how we are with ourselves through the process. And there is always an opportunity to practice being more compassionate with yourself!
Step Four: Move to understanding. The person was truly doing the best they could. I know you may disagree and argue against that truth, but trust me when I say they were doing the best they could with their own inner resources. Everyone is on a different journey, learning different lessons. You don't have to like or agree with someone's actions or choices to forgive them. Forgiveness of yourself is also muy importante! When betrayed, we feel duped, stupid, or like a fool, so forgive yourself and know you were doing the best you could, too!
Step Five: Give them to the Uni-verse. When feeling betrayed, our righteous, "I'll show them" voices come up. We fantasize over worst case scenarios that could happen to them that will be redemptive! Resist this temptation because it only creates negative energy inside of you. Their lessons are between them and the Uni-verse and are none of your business.
Step Six: Bless them. Understand their actions that led to betrayal come from a pain place. Your perceived betrayer is suffering, too. Seeing them from an elevated and compassionate perspective moves you out fear and into love. Bless them and set them free. When the obsessive train leaves the station in your head, imagine the person, bless them and then redirect your thoughts toward your own blessings.
Finally and perhaps the most importantly, do not close down your heart! Keep that sweet heart of yours open. Choose forgiveness over protection. Please do not form or perpetuate a limiting belief that you cannot trust people. Use this experience of betrayal as a reminder to come back to the ultimate source of trust: The Uni-verse.