Polonius counseled Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.“ How many times have we heard that in our lives? “Oh, just be yourself,” “You do you,” etc… How many times have we betrayed ourselves out of fear, or loss, or rejection? Yet we do it every day, and it is done to us every day. I’ve touched on this subject in the past but an incident happened a few weeks ago that spurned this deeper deliberation.
I had been communicating with a gentleman that I met online. Some would say I use the term gentleman loosely, but my gift of understanding does not allow me to be bitter. His profile stated he was looking for a long term relationship. Great, so am I! We had many things in common and could make each other laugh. Awesome! We’re off to a great start. By the second week we had been Skyping and face timing nearly every day and trying to figure out our schedules so we could meet IRL. Now, I have been through this before over the past couple years and there were somethings that still needed to be discussed before I committed to it. Things like deep connection on values and growth within a relationship and especially how to handle conflict.
We made a date to Skype and then he didn’t answer. However, 5 minutes later wanted to text. I asked if he remembered our date, no answer. I stepped back and didn’t reply. Sure enough a couple hours later, “Jenny, are you there?” and proceeded to flirt. My intuition was on high alert at this point. I asked point blankly. “How do you handle conflict, because I am feeling triggered right now?” One word came back. “Sex.” And then a string of laughing emojis and a message “You know love isn’t real right, it’s all great for a couple of months, then reality sets in.” I called him out. I also told him I felt disrespected by him laughing at my needs and that we shouldn’t continue. His profile was gone within the hour. 3 hours later I got a text. “You’re right, I’m sorry, I hope you find him.”
The Me that drowned in the last 5 years of my marriage would have probably tried to convince him I was different, I may have caved in and met him anyway trying to convince myself he didn’t really mean it because I liked him so much. But that in itself would have been a betrayal of self. I did that in my own marriage. When things started to get difficult and my Ex wouldn’t meet me half way, I changed who I was to try to make him happy, I caved in, I went to counseling, I let behavior slide so I didn’t upset the cart, after all that’s what we are taught to do growing up. But doing so required me to betray a part of self. And the result of that was me not respecting myself, my husband disrespecting me, our union and our bond. I own that.
I’m not that person anymore.
If someone tells you to behave in a way that isn’t you and makes you question yourself, that’s betrayal. It’s betrayal when you step out of your own integrity to accommodate someone. Hamlet, anyone? What are the consequences of allowing another person to persuade you to step out of your integrity? It sets up a dynamic that eats away inside of you and brings out the worst in you. It diminishes your presence. It isolates you.
This is the same reason I don’t like it when parents force kids to kiss or hug people whether they know them or not. It may not be in the child’s comfort zone and forcing them to do something physically uncomfortable breeds not only resentment, but teaches them that making other people happy is more important than how they feel. Already boundaries and trust are broken. Whew…that’s a lot to take in.
Every interaction you have is a tissue sample into your inner world. When you take time to notice your patterns of speech and behavior, you can begin to learn a lot about you really are. What you usually find is that the toughest, most challenging, most frustrating relationships in your personal and professional life trigger negative feelings within, which lead you to react in ways that are not in your self-interest or self-respect. The thing about these people who trigger negative emotion is that they are here to teach you something about yourself. It’s not about fixing them or pleasing them or running away from them whenever they approach you. It’s about understanding how you react when experiencing negative emotions such as rejection, bitterness, jealousy, despair, shame and so on, these reactions don’t serve you.
The problem is that even though you may feel abandoned or engulfed by the frustrating people in your lives at work and at home, it is the way that you react to those negative feelings that becomes your responsibility. When you develop patterns of reacting to negative emotions in ways that do not represent who you really are, you wind up creating an ongoing cycle of deeper negativity. You betray your own best interests by generating momentum of more negative emotion through your reactions. If you look at this deeper, you may discover a thread that leads you back to the way your caretakers related to you. It’s as if there is a mental blueprint of self-betraying behavior and speech that you learned way back when. Like guilting you into hugging or kissing your “Aunt May” when you clearly weren’t comfortable with it.
Becoming aware of how you betray yourself in your relationships will help you discover the truth about yourself. You will discover your authentic voice, your inner power, your real desires, your connection to your spirit. Ironically, it also requires you to become aware of the blindspot you’ve had towards your self-betraying patterns, but that just makes you a human being! Exhausting, huh?
It is so easy to live in self-betrayal to who you can truly be. A large number of the population are doing that, unaware that they have taken on someone else’s life, daily habits, mindset, dress code, values, mission, goals, vision, outlook and entire life. It is a shame that people just resign themselves to the life that they have stumbled into. And they find it a great challenge to break out of it, as it is easier to work on someone else’s dream than it is to your own. But taking no risks in regards to what you want to do with your life will bring certain failure and disappointment within yourself a few years down the line. It seems as though people prefer to remain asleep to their greatness and not take responsibility and control of it. The blind are following the blind into what? A life of regret, disappointment, mediocrity, cowardice, and too afraid to face their fears? I was once that person and I become physically sick when I feel myself slipping back into that comfort zone.
This moment now is what you have, this is the moment where you can stand up and face your fears and go after what you want like a warrior, battle the demons within you that try to confine you to a life of self-betrayal. If you want to be free you must break out of the false misconception that you have of yourself of who you are and see who you can truly be; a champion, a fighter, a believer, someone who is blessed, someone who is able, someone who is driven to succeed and live a life of greatness. You have everything within you to make the changes needed to take your life to new heights and make a difference, to make an impact, to be of service and to do good and to impact humanity in unimaginable ways.
You will stumble, you are human. Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate.
This is all part of the journey.