“Betrayal can only happen if you love”
As the great spy novelist John Le Carre said: “Betrayal can only happen if you love.” Indeed, we can’t feel betrayed by someone we don’t care for. But it can be extremely challenging to rebuild faith once it has been demolished; often we feel betrayed by the whole world, there is no one we can trust, and we have entered an inescapable cycle of betrayal after betrayal. We can’t afford to think this way: lack of faith in others, especially in our partner, can demoralise our enthusiasm for life and shroud our future in a cloud of uncertainty.
Consider these 10 steps to reclaim faith in others and yourself after suffering betrayal:
1. Evaluate past betrayal
In order to overcome betrayal, you have to first acknowledge that you’ve been betrayed, by whom, and understand how each instance of betrayal has affected your own evolution.
Make a list of the times you’ve felt betrayed and the toll that these events have taken on your life up to this day. Have any of these events impeded your potential for personal progress? Have they kept you from entering a new relationship or allowing new people into your life?
Accepting that the trauma of betrayal has had a real impact on your life is key to moving past it
2. Forgive those who betrayed you
I always encourage forgiveness, and that’s because to forgive means to detach. There’s a reason that every great teacher of humanity, like Jesus and Buddha, preached forgiveness over and over again! We can never hope to overcome a negative situation unless we forgive those who harm us.
As long as we harbour hatred or anger against others, we remain stuck in a situation and can’t mentally or emotionally move on. Strive to forgive one person each day, especially in regards to the people who betrayed you.
3. Throw the feeling of betrayal away…
…literally throw it away!
I want you to try an exercise: write down on a sheet of paper the worst betrayal you’ve ever felt. Capture the emotions you felt, describe the terrible moment, and highlight the magnitude of the episode. Get it out of your system, no matter how many years have passed since this event. Then, fold this paper up neatly and get rid of it in a dramatic way. You can toss it into a dumpster, put it in a bottle and throw it into the ocean, or flush the paper down the toilet.
I’m not encouraging you to litter the streets with letters of betrayal, but I do want you to symbolically rid your subconscious of any traumatic traces of betrayal by ridding yourself of this paper which holds your deepest emotions.
Your faith wasn’t damaged in one day, so it can’t be rebuilt in one day
4. Start faith slow
Your faith wasn’t damaged in one day, so it can’t be rebuilt in one day. You have to start piecing your faith back slowly, like you place brick after brick to construct a house. At first, you might find it hard to trust anyone, but slowly you’ll redevelop that sense of confidence in the good will of others which you used to feel before you ever experienced betrayal.
It’s okay if it takes time, so long as you’re making an effort to believe a little more each day.
5. Regain faith in yourself
The first person you have to trust in is yourself. You can’t accomplish anything without that sense of deep, unbreakable trust in your outstanding capabilities and your own promises to yourself. Make a new promise to yourself each month. Keep that promise and practice it every day until it becomes habit. For example, you can promise yourself to eat healthier and take small, daily steps until that promise sticks.
Think about it: if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
6. Detach from people you don’t trust
There’s no reason to put up with other people’s excuses or lies. If you feel someone is not trustworthy, you don’t need them in your life. You must be selective about the people you choose to let into your life, as you’re free to decide what is best for you. Choosing to keep people in your life who don’t inspire trust will only cause you to distrust everyone else as a whole.
Walk away from the people you know are not right for you.
7. Never betray anyone
Remember the phrase, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’? Never forget it! Whether you’ve been betrayed or not, don’t betray anyone else. If you’re unhappy in your relationship or marriage, don’t betray your partner. Separate and move on, but don’t willingly choose to do harm to anyone. Even if your betrayal is fuelled by revenge for having been betrayed first, this only creates negative karma and traps you in a cycle of constant recurring negative actions.
Remember the phrase, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’? Never forget it!
8. Control your emotions
Your emotions can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Emotions are beautiful, and there’s no greater feeling than falling in love or the adoration we feel for our children. But when emotions are taken to the extreme, they begin to block our lives. We can easily become stuck in our emotions, emotionally and even physically.
When we’re depressed, we find it difficult to go about our daily routine or we may overeat due to our extreme feelings. In order to heal from betrayal and keep it from recurring in the future, you have to keep your emotions in check. If you obsess over something that happened in the past, you’re alive only in that moment. But if you can think logically and understand the bigger meaning behind an event, you can truly become the master of your emotions.
9. Take a leap of faith
Make a decision based on pure faith. Don’t think about it too much or overanalyse it. Take a leap of faith based on what your intuition tells you; this can be to leave a job you don’t feel is right for you, move to a new home if you keep feeling the urge to live in a different place, or even separate from your partner if your gut tells you something is wrong. Making a significant decision out of faith alone will show you that you will never let yourself down.
10. Reaffirm your faith every day
Every morning when you wake up, speak an affirmation to yourself in a loud voice. Make this an affirmation about your strong faith in others and yourself. You can say things like, “I trust my husband with all my heart” or “I know my partner will never betray me again.” Waking up with a faithful affirmation each day will wipe away all doubts in your mind and will bring you closer to the people you can truly trust.
Apply a few of these steps each day to strengthen your trust in others and regain faith in your future.