Everything in life is a gift – it is up to us to unwrap it and how we use it in our lives.

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. 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 emotion can become a gateway toward greater intimacy and a deeper connection to ourselves.

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 clear to myself or to the people around me. I must clearly negotiate and define my expectations. I must also check to see if they are realistic or not.

Many of us have had the unrealistic expectation that people will treat us differently than they do others. 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. When they don’t treat us differently we feel betrayed. People are consistent unless they are actively working on changing a behavior.

I have found that if I base my happiness on another person I eventually feel let down or betrayed. Ultimately I am the only person responsible for my happiness. If I expect my friends, lovers, or the world as a whole to ‘make me’ happy I doom myself to a life filled with disappointments. If on the other hand I realize I am in charge of my happiness I can be happy regardless of the events in my life. Focusing on the feeling of betrayal prevents me from looking at the role my beliefs and expectations play in the creation of my happiness.

If I turn my attention from what happened and to what I can change – myself and my reactions – life can become one magical experience after another. Even the most profound betrayal can be an opportunity for me to deepen my connection with myself. I can understand my expectations, see how they affect my choices, and choose anew. As I look within I learn to listen to my inner voice, to trust myself, and to clearly understand all of my expectations.

Betrayal can be my greatest guide; it will lead me to my expectations every time. And if I’m willing to change my expectations I can be happy no matter what is going on in my life.

With love,

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