Rooted in fear, self-betrayal is a painful window into the ways in which we are not honoring ourselves. It’s a complete dismissal of our own feelings or needs in order to accommodate another. A plaguing sense of willful ignorance for dread of being rejected, overlooked, or ignored. In the process, we permit space for ourselves to be absent; leaving us vulnerable to being violated and taken for granted.
What does this feel like? Awful, certainly. The cost of self-betrayal leaves a scar. Wounds left untreated will become infected. Healing cannot begin. And the painful reminder of this betrayal will stick with you; showing up time and time again until it is addressed.
It seemed just a moment. But it would stick with me to this day…
A few years back, I allowed myself to be put in a vulnerable position. Certainly, I hoped to trust the person I was with to have my best interests at heart. One could argue, that's where I went wrong.
I wasn’t myself. My mind was tense and occupied with multiple thoughts floating around. Out of sorts and confused, I agreed to a meeting for us to unwind. Thinking that this might just be what I needed. Some fresh air, a good laugh, and a change of scenery.
I was flattered to have their attention. So much so, I put my own needs aside. Along the drive, it became abundantly clear to me that I was in no frame of mind to process complexities. I was barely even in my own body. For all I knew, I was amidst the stars that night.
What I truly needed was to be alone. And yet, I wasn’t. Fast forward to the end. Almost immediately, I realized how unlike me the situation was. I played it off for appearances. But, inside, I knew the gravity of what I was feeling was intense.
It would take days, weeks, and then months for me to come to terms with what had transpired. And out of nowhere, it hit me. Stumbling on the phrase, “I betrayed myself,” I crumbled. I couldn’t look away. This hard, raw, and ugly truth was blatantly staring me in the face.
"I betrayed myself."
Broken doesn’t even begin to describe the devastation I felt. I cried, re-lived, processed and combed through every inch of it. What could I have done differently? Why did I allow it? Where was I in all this? How can I forgive myself? More importantly, how can I avoid it ever happening again?
I was relentless in my pursuit of redemption. The feeling of having betrayed myself shook me at every turn. I was embarrassed and hurt. There was no way I would allow myself to not have my own back like that ever again.
Where do you begin in healing from self-betrayal?
Forgiveness. Yes, it’s a hard concept to grasp when the overwhelm of what you’re feeling is all-consuming. Forgiveness is not an overnight process. It’s usually a somewhere-in-the-middle stage of the healing journey. Forgiveness is hard because it means you have to dig deep. You’re required to extend a great deal of compassion to yourself. To accept your faults and love yourself harder in spite of them. To accept that the result could not have been any different. Yet, you now have the choice to be better.
Choose yourself. Over and over until choosing yourself becomes a habit; a natural feeling to prioritize your wants and needs. In choosing yourself, you automatically emphasize the setting of clear boundaries. Communicate these boundaries. Let them know how you need to be treated. It’s a selfish act born out of deeper love and commitment to your core values. Anyone daring to overstep must be put in their place.
Regular Self-Analysis. By taking a hard look at who we are, what we want, what works, or what doesn’t, we get a better sense of where we’re going. We are constantly changing, therefore self-analysis isn’t a one-time thing. It’s necessary to check in with yourself regularly.
Unlearning. This usually goes all the way back to your childhood. How were you taught to love yourself and others? What examples did you have of love around you growing up? What triggers cause you to become absent-minded or allow you to put yourself in vulnerable positions? How have the events of your past shaped how you view things now? Everyone has unpacked baggage. It takes a strong desire for healing in order to go to these places, look, feel, and commit to change.
Time. All of these things take time. Time, like rest, is fundamental along the journey. You are dissecting and unearthing some deep stuff. Likely, stuff that you’ve never wanted to face. Discoveries that need time to absorb and undergo their own processing and healing.
Self-betrayal is traumatic. It stays with you in the worst and best possible ways. It often looks like neglecting yourself, denying your needs, dismissing your feelings, pretending to be okay to appease another, etc. And the way back to you begins with loving yourself harder.
It’s a long and winding road to get to a place where you can look back on your experience and be thankful. Thankful for the lessons, the self-reflection, and the growth. You are now stronger in your resolve and resilience. You now love more deeply and with eyes wide open.
In what way do you feel you have betrayed or are betraying yourself?
How does it make you feel?
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♡ Much, much love.