Betrayal In Four Acts #4
When we're ashamed, we can't tell our stories, and stories are the foundation of identity. Forge meaning, build identity, forge meaning and build identity. That became my mantra. Forging meaning is about changing yourself. Building identity is about changing the world. All of us with stigmatized identities face this question daily: how much to accommodate society by constraining ourselves, and how much to break the limits of what constitutes a valid life? Forging meaning and building identity does not make what was wrong right. It only makes what was wrong precious. —Andrew Solomon How the worst moments in our life makes us who we are
No feeling is final, so the importance of traumatic or intense experiences is what they teach us about ourselves. We are the only person who can decide how we feel and what "it" means. If you want to survive trauma and have a rich a and meaningful life learn to retell your story! The issue that many trauma survivors face is the stigma associated with trauma. Trauma is what it is for each person, not to be diminished and also not to be embellished. The stigma generated by a society embarrassed by its inability to resolve its own conflicts is transferred into shame and guilt and often projected onto the survivors of trauma. Shame and guilt, just like feelings of betrayal, are learned and taught through socialization…we are not born feeling ashamed or guilty!
What can we learn or unlearn as a result of feeling betrayed? The primary lesson for me has been to look deep inside myself. I don’t buy into betrayal at this stage in my spiritual development. Betrayal takes on a hollow quality and loses its power once I acknowledge my inherent ability to know connection and intimacy. When I am in a space of trust and safety, I KNOW it. I know it because I emerged into the universe whole and perfect and ready for connection. It is the foundation of who and how I am both interpersonally and globally. To paraphrase Brené Brown, I am hardwired for connection…we all are.
Betrayal is a stop sign on the road map of self trust. It forces the ego to rewrite the software and reevaluate levels of trust. Betrayal is an opportunity to pause and take note of when we began to ignore our instincts. This has been an important step on my journey to liberation because it places the power of choice back in my hands. In other words, I get to decide how I feel, rather than juxtaposing my truth with some external source. If we don’t take the time to understand where we checked out or where we missed the signs of distraction in another person, then we will continue to walk the same path; pick people to feel alone with; sign-on with a company more interested in profit than human resources; believe phony marketing, etc.
Repeating destructive behaviors is the definition of insanity and holding on to betrayal can be the fuel for cycling through destructive thought and action. On the other hand, if we can see when and why we started to tune out of our TRUTH, we immediately have the option to be more aware. This process of waking up and staying tuned in gives us the opportunity to choose a different path and improve the recipe of our life.
Essentially I don’t believe in betrayal…it lacks substance for someone who chooses passion over not being unhappy. I do believe in my innate ability to know, to learn, to grow…which implies how I live my life always was and always will be my choice. This doesn't mean I won't experience sadness or the grief of loss or incredible joy and bliss...there is no spiritual bypass...and I am all in for all of it! It means I believe my life has inherent value regardless of the measure. It means I trust myself first a foremost and by doing so I am able to fully embrace a delightfully chaotic world. It means passion and connection in this moment can be just as valuable as longevity. In my book of life, betrayal means wake up, look around man and find people who have values and who value you…doing anything else is a waste of this one true and beautiful life.