Have you experienced that raw, gnawing, gut-wrenching feeling--like you were kicked in the stomach--when you found out that a loved one betrayed you?
It was, by far, the worst feeling I've ever felt.
Betrayal is such a life-crushing event that can leave lasting and painful scars on our hearts and spirits. It leaves us feeling vulnerable, unlovable, abandoned, and broken as we experience the ultimate violation of trust.
It's especially excruciating when it comes from those in our innermost circle: our partner, our family, and our dearest friends. But what if I told you that there was a kind of betrayal that was even far more painful and lasting than those I've described?
During one of my "a-ha" moments, I realized that no one has ever betrayed me more than myself.
I've been unfaithful to myself in so many ways; oftentimes without even knowing it. When we're unloving and unkind to ourselves, and not living our true authentic lives, we're committing the ultimate act of betrayal and self-hatred.
How do we betray ourselves?
By comparing ourselves to others (If only I was like...)
Comparing ourselves to others is a dangerous game that doesn't have a happy ending. There will always people who are stronger, faster, smarter, and better looking. (Sorry to break it to you!)
We can never package all the strengths and talents from everyone else into a neat little perfect box and become the "perfect person."
Media, advertising, magazines, and social media bombard us with enticing images of people for the sole purpose of trying to sell us something. Yes, you too can be _______ (fill in the blank: skinny, beautiful, sexy, smart, successful) if you buy this product or do this.
When we compare ourselves to others, and secretly wish we could be more like them, we're telling our inner critic that we're not good enough the way we are.
You're unique. There has never been and there will never be another human being who has the unique gifts, strengths, perspective and challenges that you bring to this world.
By pretending we are someone we are not (I'll present that I'm someone else...)
This isn't always so obvious.
Here's an example. One of my patients worked in her family business out of obligation when secretly her passion was to pursue a career as a teacher.
She continued to choose misery instead of confront her family about leaving the business. She was untrue to herself for the sake of not hurting her family.
Another way we do this is by trying to hide our true selves--our flaws, warts, wrinkles, and mistakes. When we present to others that we are perfect and have it all together, we're being dishonest.
When we try to be someone else, live up to others expectations, or present to the world the less-authentic version of ourselves we're really saying, "I'm not proud of who I am. I'm not enough."
You're a beautiful, imperfect person who lives in a world with other imperfect people. Be proud of your quirks and flaws and choose to be in community with those people who embrace your imperfections.
You're fully worthy of love and acceptance just the way you are.
By looking to others to "complete you". (When I meet "the one"...)
Our society, the movies, and the media has tricked us into believing that the most important relationship we'll ever have is with "the ONE" and that our lives are not whole until we find that person and ride off into the sunset.
We've all felt a sense of incompleteness when single and that desire to find our "better half" or the "one who completes us".
And, many of us get into relationships with the hope that our partner will "fix us" or compensate for our imperfections.
But we can never have a satisfying relationship with any other human being until we have the most satisfying relationship with ourselves.
We spend more time with ourselves than any other person, so make the relationship you have with yourself a priority.
You're whole, beautiful and complete, whether you're in a relationship or not.
By not living fully present in the moment. (In the future, when I...or Because of my past, I...)
When we live in the past or in the future we're robbing ourselves of the present moment.
The present moment is all we have. We certainly can't change the past and there are no guarantees for the future.
Often, we think, I'll be happy when I ________ (fill in the blank: lose weight, get the promotion, find "the one", etc). Somehow, we think that when we accomplish those things in the future that our life will magically feel complete and happy.
Or on the other end of the spectrum, we hear, "I can't be happy because of what happened in the past". Yes, parts of your past were awful, miserable, and left devastating scars on your life.
But, why does your past get to rob you of your present happiness?
We must be loving and kind to ourselves and love where we are on the journey. Each present moment provides us with a beautiful opportunity to embrace our circumstances, our surroundings, and the lessons life is presenting to us.
You deserve to live the beautiful life you've always dreamed of. Don't let your past dictate your future. And, don't let the promise of a better future rob you of the joy you can find in your life today.
Self-love is fully accepting ourselves, unconditionally, and loving who we are and where we've been. It's fully embodying that we are complete and whole human beings.
It's time to stop betraying yourself with your thoughts, actions, and beliefs.
With loving-kindness, and with compassion, accept that you may have been unkind to yourself in the past and move forward with a new desire and awareness to be kind and loving to yourself.
You're worth it.
I'd love to hear from you. Are you guilty of self-betrayal? Do you owe yourself an apology? Please leave a comment below.
Originally published by Dr. Deborah Caldwell on www.DrDeborah.com
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