How many times in your life have you felt betrayed or let down by other people, yourself, or society as a whole? When we feel betrayed the emotions it evokes are so primal, they seem to go to the very core of our being. Once we learn to view betrayal differently that feeling can become a gateway toward greater intimacy and a deeper connection to ourselves.
We all know what betrayal feels like but what is it really? The word comes from an old French verb that means to hand over or deliver up. The dictionary defines it as treachery, the disappointment of ones hopes and expectations, or to reveal, disclose, show, or exhibit.
I have found that betrayal can serve two very useful functions in my life that have very little to do with blaming the other person. They both have to do with me; my feelings of betrayal reveal my ability to communicate clearly and my willingness to take responsibility without blaming or judging myself or the other person.
Using any emotion in our life as our ticket to freedom first involves a willingness on our part to see things differently. When I look at betrayal I can focus my attention on what I perceive as treachery or look at my own expectations. Whenever I have an expectation I am setting myself up to be disappointed, especially if my expectations are not clearly negotiated.
Many of us have had the unrealistic expectation that people will treat us differently. They might lie to everyone else but they will tell us the truth. They will cheat on their former lover but they will be faithful to us. They will gossip about other people but they will keep our secrets and when they don’t treat us differently we feel betrayed. People are consistent unless they are actively working on changing a behavior.
Many of the disappointments in our lives are based on unspoken expectations. When I honestly looked at my past relationships I realize that I expected people to behave according to my internal rules and regulations. I never really took the time to find out what their expectations were or to tell them clearly what mine were.
My definition of friendship includes spending time with the other person so I expected that from my friends. One woman I knew consistently said she wanted to be friends but never wanted to spend time together. I would call her and ask her to do something and she would always say no. I often felt disappointed. When I finally talked to her about this I found out she was equally upset by my constant invitations to do things together. She was too busy to spend time with me. Her definition of friendship did not include spending time together. Once our expectations about friendship were clearly defined it was clear being friends would be impossible unless one of us became willing to change our definition of friendship.
When we negotiate an expectation with another person we also have to realize that people are not always in touch with what is true for them. We may say on thing when we really mean something else. We don’t intentionally lie to one another but our ‘truth’ often changes based upon internal or external circumstances. Does that mean we need to stop trusting everyone? No, but what it does mean is that we don’t try to make another person responsible for our happiness. Frequently, if we have trouble trusting people there is a good chance we have the expectation that people will betray our trust. If we have that expectation we will often choose to trust people who aren’t trustworthy. As we look at our expectations we learn to trust our own inner knowing above all else. We use past disappointments as a reminder to listen to our own inner voice.
Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the article …….
With love and aloha,
Angels are everywhere just open your mind and your heart to the signs.
Make Angels on Your Shoulder part of your daily routine and share it with a friend!