It’s often the people closest to us who will betray us. We put our hope and trust in those we love, only to find they’ve let us down, disappointed us, or left. We feel hurt, angry, and confused. “How could they do this to me?” we wonder. “How could they treat me like this?”
We play the scenario over and over in our minds, searching for the clues we missed – the point they changed their minds, turned away, or decided we weren’t what they wanted. Betrayal can feel like the ultimate rejection. Someone we cared about or loved disregarded us.
If there are feelings of worthlessness buried inside of us, betrayal will make them glow like hot embers. Those sparks might scream, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Nobody loves me”, or “Why don’t I matter?” Whatever the words, the message is the same – I’m not important; I’m not enough.
What do you do when someone in your life has betrayed you? How do you move past this energy to douse the pain, to feel free and clear again?
The answer: forgiveness.
Yes, you must begin forgiving the person for hurting you. This does not mean you must accept their behavior or hang out with them. It does mean you don’t want to carry this pain or burden with you any longer and are willing to do something to free yourself.
Try this 7 step process. It can feel painful (but you were feeling that anyway, right?), yet it has a powerful effect on releasing old wounds, loving yourself, and shifting the energy of relationships.
- Repeat, “I forgive you, _____. “(It’s okay to use unsavory descriptive adjectives along with the person’s name until you feel some of the anger and hurt begin to subside!)
- Add, “I ask for your highest good and greatest joy. May you get everything you want, need, and desire to make you happy.” (Don’t expect yourself to mean it. That will only come with time.)
- Forgive ourselves. Yes, somewhere, we probably betrayed ourselves – denied the truth, stayed longer than we should have, or put their needs first in order to keep the relationship going. It’s just as important to make amends with ourselves. Tell that beautiful part inside of us, ” I am sorry for giving you less than you deserve. I am sorry for not treating you better.”
- Repeat these steps over and over until the tears have subsided, the hole in your chest begins to fill, and words of anger take too much energy to give.
- Trust this will pass. Give yourself time to grieve. Hang in there until relief comes. It may come at first as a deeper breath or fewer tears. Stay with the pain until the pain begins to pass. The truth is it won’t pass until you do.
- Watch with curiosity for a shift of energy in the people involved. Attitudes and actions may miraculously change, people who do not treat you as you deserve may leave, or a sudden sense of value in yourself may emerge.
- Give yourself time to grieve and work through these emotions. Forgiveness is not something we do, it’s something we receive.
To regain your sense of serenity and power, you must forgive. Forgiveness isn’t weak, forgiveness is your freedom.