Getting betrayed by someone you care about is incredibly painful. There's no other way to put it, really. Whether you are betrayed by a friend, partner or family member, feeling like a bond of trust is broken can send you free-falling into your most anxious, circular thoughts — what I often think of as your pile of inner BS.
Betrayal can strip you of confidence and control, and it even can feel like it as the power to direct your car to the closest fast food window. You get my point.
I know this from experience. I spent three exhausting months feeling sorry for myself as I tried to find a way to deal with feeling betrayed by a loved one. (The details of the betrayal aren't the point here, really.)
But even though I was trying to search, I was distracted. There was ultimately deeper self-work I had been resisting.
Then I came across a saying by Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887 –1963). It went like this, "The highest spiritual practice is to bear insult without returning it."
I knew this was true. But a small part of my mind could not handle turning the other cheek! I still wanted to kung fu chop my now-nemesis in the face! I wanted to prove my self-worth to everyone in existence, and tell everyone about how I had been betrayed. I even fantasized about building a statue to commemorate my triumph when I took down my enemy, who no longer cared for or respected me.
Ultimately, I just wanted my version of the truth to be told to as many who’d listen! But you know what? I never said a word.
Why? Because I didn't need to cultivate feelings of toxicity. I didn’t want to rally the troops or gossip, and if I got really honest, all I wanted to do was say thank you to the person who'd taught me a lesson about self-trust.
So how did I get over it? What pushed me onto the higher road and led me away from revenge and self-destruction?
There was just one destination I truly longed for — inner peace — and there was only one-way to get there. I needed to remember who I was. I basically adopted the following reminder as a mantra: "Remember who you are."
It was difficult at first due to all the constriction that I let build up. It was hard to feel what was real and to imagine what the next move should have been. But here’s the thing: I realized that my mind had been hurt, but not the entirety of my being. Certainly not my authenticity. Not my creativity. Not even my talents.
Even if someone steals from you, talks sh*t about you or gossips about you until their buns fall off — it doesn’t take a single thing away from who you really are. No word good or bad, high or low can touch it.
And trust me, the people who really matter, the real people, will know this.
So the next time you’re trying to get over betrayal — try this:
- Sit with your betrayal for a few minutes each day.
- Listen to the chatter of the mind defend you (as it does so very well).
- Allow your awareness to go beyond the mind’s limitations.
- Feel your body, and notice any tension that has arisen due to the mind’s narration.
- Then give the body permission to relax: soften around any constriction that your body is holding due to the storyline of betrayal.
As you allow betrayal’s tension to melt away and the true you, the unstoppable, impenetrable you, will start to shine through.
You'll realize that there is an invitation to grow when betrayal arrives at your feet. And forgiveness can be a door to a greater, more authentic freedom. And repeat to yourself: Remember who you are, right now.
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