Debilitating betrayal and trauma in 2010 was the springboard of a 7-year spiral of anger, fear, resentment, self-preservation, education, self-discovery, boundaries, and permission to heal and truly live again.
The betrayal was very personal, the kind that knocks the breath out of you, leaves you reeling in shock – the kind of shock that makes you think you will wake up only to realize it was all a very sick nightmare. But you don’t and you’re left making irrational decisions as an act of avoidance and self-preservation that others will likely judge. But you’re at a point in your life where frankly, you no longer give a damn what others think or say about you.
I learned…don’t respond to other people’s judgment of you, and certainly don’t let their condescension define you and your future. People will think what they want to think about you. You’ll do better to remind yourself they’ve never walked in your shoes and no one has the right to judge what they don’t personally experience or understand. Let them judge. Let them talk. There will come a day when they too will desire a little compassion in their life. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up being that compassionate voice.
Education seemed to be the most logical next step to find some normalcy and rhyme and reason to a life disoriented. So I pursued an MBA and earned it within 5 years.
I learned…I can do what I set my mind to; I’m a good critical thinker; I’m a passionate creative force to be reckoned with; I’m a connector; I’m worth far more than I ever gave myself credit for.
But education doesn’t fix betrayal and trauma, so let’s get married!
I learned…marriage doesn’t fix it either, so I got divorced. Suffice it to say I picked the wrong man. His demons are his own and I hope he finds his own healing and way in life. I have my own junk to fix, and I learned quickly it’s not my job to fix his too. If I could have a redo, I’d say no to his proposal.
Let’s go back to work halfway through school. But betrayal exists in business too. And sometimes it exists in lifelong friendships and even in families.
I learned…I trust way too many people way too quickly. I assume people will be who they present themselves to be and will act with integrity and honesty. They don’t. I gave way too much of my time, talent, knowledge, and energy to people who were only interested in what I could do to help them get ahead. There’s a difference between helping people get what they want and helping them use you. My advice: hold your cards close; if people don’t act with integrity, move on quickly – you don’t owe anyone anything. With lifelong friends and family, sometimes it’s just a matter of a gross lack of communication and the unwillingness to agree to disagree. If the elephant remains in the room after you’ve tried to confront issues and seek resolution, I say let the elephant stay there. Maybe they enjoy the circus – they can have my front row seats. I’m exiting left.
Anger, fear, and resentment set in. They are like deep ruts worn into your soul, and you realize you better find something to fill in those ruts or they’ll end up so deep, you’ll never be able to crawl out.
I learned…I have permission to seek healing and forgiveness and to embark on a journey of self-discovery so that I can fully live again. I started this in the last quarter of 2016, continued in 2017, and plan to still be on the journey with a new mentality of POSSIBILITIES in 2018. I created healthy boundaries by letting go of both personal and business relationships that were toxic. I began seeking out and nurturing positive people who not only celebrated my strengths and contributions to the world, but also who were and continue to make their own mark on the world. These people are better than me in at least one area. I learn from them. I admire them. I trust them. They are worth my time, energy, and effort and they are givers, not just takers.
Possibilities…It is Possible to:
Be healthy again
Be joyful again
Isaiah 43:18-19 rang in my ears as I read it for the 1000th time, and I realized it is Possible to,
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.”
And it is possible to believe that
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The God of my youth, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, had never left me – has never left me – will never leave me or forsake me. I’ve forsaken Him plenty of times in my anger and bitterness and despair and questioning regarding betrayal and loss and trauma. There’s pieces of your soul that get scattered and sometimes it takes a lifetime to find those pieces. I’m not sure every piece returns. I think some pieces stay gone and that final restoration won’t happen until we meet Him face-to-face.
I know some people don’t believe in the whole concept that Jesus is Lord, and hell and heaven, and absolute truth. And as I move in and out of different circles of people I find more people who believe in subjective truth. It’s all very personal and opinion-based, but as I observe the world around me, I’m not so sure that’s even possible. Entropy and thermodynamics speak to some pretty profound absolutes. So does gravity and one-way streets and birth and death. I’m not so sure truth bends and changes to fit our personal preferences. I think it’s up to us to discover truth and then learn how to either reject it and own up to that rejection or embrace it and live accordingly.
I learned…it’s not up to me to convince other people of truth or right and wrong or their choice of what political party or religion to embrace. It’s also not my right to take on an “us versus them” mentality and arrogantly assume I know more than the next person or have some inside secret knowledge that is not freely available to all who would pursue it. What IS my responsibility in line with my own religious beliefs is that I am to love God, love people, and make disciples of those who ask for that specific mentorship. If not, continue to love God and people. Period. I’ve also learned I’m not another person’s judge and jury. I’m just another human being on the planet trying her best to make sense of her own questions and limitations and mortality. It’s time for me to spend more time working within my own space and less time crossing into another person’s space.
Stay tuned for my next post regarding possibilities in the world of business.