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Trust, Betrayal, Forgiveness: The path to self-liberation

Curious fact about forgiveness is that it entails a betrayal which in turn implies that there was once trust.

Sounds bewildering? Let me dig a bit into this idea. You come to the conclusion - by yourself or with help - that you feel hurt and disappointed. Perhaps with your partner, or with your parents, or with a friend. When looking into what lies beyond the surface, you notice certain behaviors and attitudes that come from a place of sadness and sorrow. After dedicating some quality time to self-reflection, you realize that you feel betrayed. That person did something to betray your trust. This fact makes your heart ache, especially if we are referring to a loved one.

The closer you are to this person, the more painful is the betrayal. After all, you have trusted them with your heart and soul, and they found a way to crush it. In other words, they are responsible for your pain - or so you convince yourself.

As long as you get attached to the victim role - you are the betrayed while the other is the big bad wolf - you will remain stuck. You hold on to your pain and anger and disappointment. You do that for a long time until you no longer recognize another way to connect to that other person, than the dysfunctional relationship you have developed. You are punishing them as much as you are punishing yourself. How can you move forward if you deny your own responsibility? If you refuse to take one step closer?

The answer - you ask? Forgiveness. Only through forgiveness you can move toward inner peace; moving from feeling betrayed to be able to trust again. How would life be without forgiveness? And not only without being able to forgive, but without even feeling its need in the first place? Forgiveness lives from betrayal, but above all it comes from trust. You can only forgive someone who betrayed you and whom you once trusted.

We trust ourselves to the ones we love. There is no other way. Loving someone is to show ourselves in the most raw and authentic way. By doing so, we are inevitably projecting our needs, our beliefs, our fears, our dreams into that other self. By being the object of that same love, we are also a recipient of the other's inner life.

In the midst of these two inner worlds and thousands of experiences, trust is undeniable, hence betrayal is a given. You have both projected your wants and needs on one another. Until eventually, this mismatch reflects in the relationship and trust is felt to be broken. But whose trust are you betraying at the end? Isn’t it the trust in yourself? The same trust you have projected onto the other.

Nonetheless, there is love. Love is always there. If no longer for the other, for yourself. Thus, forgiveness is the path for liberation. By forgiving the other, you are forgiving yourself. You are restoring trust in yourself. Does it mean you are setting yourself up for betrayal again? Well, that depends on you. What have you learned about yourself? What have you uncovered about your needs and wants? The more self-aware you become, the less you put on others what is yours for the take.

This opens space to be your authentic self with the ones you love, encouraging the other while staying receptive for the same level of authenticity. My belief is that when this mutual awareness is reached, the trust seed has been planted and a whole new relational construct has space to grow.



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