Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
Betrayal rocks our sense of reality.
The solidarity of trust is crumbled and the innocence of the situation shattered. It is difficult to comprehend the falseness and deception of someone close to us and we are left questioning: What happened? How could this happen? Who is this person?
Betrayal is a breaking of trust and goodwill in a relationship through some form of wounding. Whether it’s our good friend, partner, work colleague, sibling or parent, many of us have experienced the specific wounding that is felt from betrayal. Rather than allowing victim mentality to control our actions, with patience and empowering action, we can step forth into higher self-awareness and empowered healing.
In the not so distant past, I had a teacher that taught at my business. I had mentored them as a student, supported them as they became a teacher and offered them opportunity. They struggled to build their classes so I devoted time, money and effort to assist with their expansion. However, the honesty and loyalty that appeared present was an illusion. This teacher had been secretly collecting personal contact information from my clients over the last couple years. They opened their own business and contacted said clients and offered classes at a cheaper rate.
Beyond the apparent unethical principles of their behavior, the betrayal quite simply hurt.
After spending a day clouded in the confusion of the subversion, I decided I needed to shift. There was nothing I could do in the current moment but to take care of myself and shift my own hurt and angry energy. Rather than focusing on the perpetrator's unfathomable behavior I went inward to focus on the only thing that I could control: myself.
Common experiences for those at the receiving end of betrayal reveal that many saw some of the signs beforehand. It may have been a sense that something was wrong, a gut feeling. We can often diminish these senses because part of us really doesn’t want to believe they’re true. We want to give our trust to the other person that we know and believe in their highest good.
From my experiences as a practitioner and teacher, as well being on the receiving end, I offer these suggestions for healing after betrayal.
1. Express yourself: Whether it’s to the person that betrayed you, a trusted confidant, or by journaling privately. Give yourself the space to be clear how the betrayal has affected you. Seek counseling or life coaching if needed.
2. Avoid victim-mentality: We may be victim to another’s betrayal but we don’t need to live from that view point. Victim-mentality can keep us weak. Do what you need to do to heal and move forward in a way that brings empowerment rather than weakness.
3. Action: What, if anything, do you feel you need from the other person in order to gain some peace and closure? If they are unable or unwilling to do this, how can you seek this for yourself elsewhere? What support and guidance do you need for this to occur?
4. Focus inward rather than externally: In order to keep a balance between an open heart and a clear head, notice if you need to pay more attention to your feelings, thoughts and intuition in regards to what will assist you to feel happier and healthier?
5. Honor fairness: Don’t seek revenge and don’t focus on hate rhetoric. Instead focus on fairness. If action is required for fairness and justice, seek it. But be aware of the energy of your actions and honor fairness and integrity.
6. Self-Worth: With betrayal sometimes it makes us questions our worth. Self-blame can sneak into our self-talk. Let the responsibility belong to the source of the betrayal while honoring self-worth.
7. Let it be: With the understanding of that which we give our attention to expands, be clear on what you want to amplify: Healing and empowerment? Or anger and blame? Perhaps you aren’t ready for forgiveness but know we have the power of choice and said choice can affect our own health and happiness.
8. Learn from it: Betrayal teaches us not only about other people but also about ourselves. What did you learn about yourself? What is in your control to shift and what is not? Focus on what you want/need instead of what you don’t want/need.
Life is full of defiance, and betrayal is a chapter in the book of challenges. But these experiences don’t have to define our life in a disempowering way. We can rise above and liberate ourselves through this change with our own self-awareness and self-care.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” - The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman.
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