Bouncing Back From Betrayal
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Being betrayed is grueling. Learning someone you trusted is not honorable can be shocking. It may be the catalyst for emotional upheaval. But, you can use this delicate predicament as a springboard toward a more fulfilling, positive direction.
What matters more in this situation is not what or who has happened to you, but how you respond. It is not an easy process. You’re human, of course. Regardless of your disposition, an emotional process is natural. The question is how to navigate your feelings to steer things in a more positive direction?
1. Don’t retaliate. Instead, clarify. If possible, aim for an objective dialogue to rule out any miscommunication. Whether the other party refuses to talk it through, or you manage to have a conversation, you will learn something. You'll discover a miscommunication and clear it up. Or, you’ll discover someone is not who you thought they were.
2. Take a beat. Being betrayed pushes your buttons. Give yourself some space and time to absorb before responding. This gives you time to reflect without making the situation worse.
3. Find a safe place where you may feel what you feel. If you’re angry, punch a pillow. Take a long bike ride, using your anger to pedal yourself further (literally and figuratively). Exercise helps lower stress. Vent. Talk to someone close to you who is completely trustworthy and supportive of you. Or write in your journal. If you’re creative, fire up a new creative project. Whatever you choose, it’s important to safely vent your feelings.
4. Break free. If possible, cut all ties completely so you are free to move forward in a different direction. Do so with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. How others behaved speaks volumes about them, not you. Always take the high road.
5. Reflect on the gain. Appreciate you are not stuck in a situation with people who create negative causes or drama, or who cannot be trusted. Appreciate that you are free of toxic people. Difficult experiences can teach you lessons about yourself. Learn what you can from the situation.
It may be a catalyst for you to rely more on and believe in yourself. It may train you to become a better judge of character. Or, it may serve as a guide for you to create a stronger, more harmonious team based on a shared vision. The outcome may free you to do more of something you’d rather do but hadn’t had the time for it.
Life is full of unexpected challenges and difficult people. Handling the situation with optimism, while squarely facing the challenging reality creates value.
Remember that other people‘s actions say more about them than you. Use everything as a learning curve to become a stronger, more compassionate, wiser you. Turn the ordeal into fuel for momentum toward a more positive direction.
“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Feel free to leave a comment answering these questions:
Have you turned a betrayal into something positive?
What did you learn from the experience?
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