Life is a dream for the Wise, a Game for the Fool, a Comedy for the Rich and a Tragedy for the Poor!
Life COULD be….
By DARLENE LANCER, JD, MFT
It must be cellular: Men and women automatically feel humiliated when their partner cheats, even though they themselves have done nothing to be ashamed of.
Too often, people feel embarrassed for their partner’s behavior, whether it’s domestic violence, emotional abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, gambling, or sex addiction. Too often, those addicts and abusers shift the blame onto their wives and husbands. It’s called “blaming the victim.”
But the truth is that we are only responsible for our own behavior and others are responsible for theirs.
Betrayal is a devastating assault upon our ability to trust — to trust in ourselves, other people, our sense of justice, even God. It can affect our self-esteem, if we let it. For some people, the worst part of adultery is the dishonesty — sharing our life with someone whom we discover has been living a lie day in and day out. We start to doubt our own senses, let alone our own attractiveness. Who was he or she, really?
We go over in our mind past intimate moments and wonder what he or she was thinking. We recall clues and doubt that we dismissed, and wonder what we were thinking. When the truth finally comes out, along with the pain is a sense of relief, because it validates what we intuitively suspected. But then we wonder if he or she loved me all those years — was it all fake? Was I in love with a fraud? We can begin to distrust our judgment in the future. Can I trust or “love” again? Can I trust another man or woman?
When our partner was unfaithful with someone we know, care for and trust, we suffer betrayal by two people. Sadly, it happens that spouses betray one another with their mate’s housekeeper, best friend, or sibling. The pain of the double betrayal is horrendous.
Rebuilding trust can be a long process. Building bridges of empathy with each other can only begin when the betrayer takes responsibility. Sometimes, adultery is a symptom of problems in the marriage — a lack of open communication, sex, or emotional intimacy. Other times, it’s an act of anger or a way to stake out some freedom or independence in lieu of setting boundaries or expressing anger directly with one’s spouse. It can be viewed as an act of defiance.
That doesn’t mean it’s the other person’s fault. It means that the relationship itself and both partners need help in changing their communication patterns and developing a healthier intimate connection.
Addiction is rampant in America — our codependent country — and sex addiction is rarely talked about. An addict’s family life is built upon shame and secrecy that eats away at everyone’s self-esteem. We are never responsible for someone else’s behavior, nor does it reflect upon our worth. Only our actions reflect on us. If you’ve been betrayed, stop every self-doubt that creeps into your mind. Your value, and your self-respect, aren’t tarnished one iota.
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Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. Discovering that someone we trusted has deeply hurt us pulls the reality rug from under us.
When we see the word “betrayal” we may immediately think “affair.” But betrayal comes in many forms. Abandonment, vicious gossip, and spreading lies also may be experienced as betrayal.
A damaging aspect of betrayal is that our sense of reality is undermined. What felt like solid trust suddenly crumbles. Our innocence is shattered. We’re left wondering: What happened? How could this happen? Who is this person?
Some betrayals leave us with little choice but to heal and move on with our lives, such as when we’re suddenly abandoned.
Affairs are more complex. Should we gather our dignity and end the relationship? Or, is there a way to maintain our dignity while attempting to heal and rebuild trust?
A serious betrayal puts us in a situation where we need to discern what’s best for us. It’s complicated.
Perhaps love is still alive and our partner admits his or her mistake and expresses remorse. Would it be a courageous risk to give our partner another chance or a foolish mistake to trust again? Rather than act impulsively, we may serve ourselves by taking time to sort out our feelings and find some clarity about what’s best for us.
Repeated expressions of heartfelt sorrow and regret by the betrayer may offer some hope for healing. Couples therapy may offer a safe place to hear each other’s feelings and uncover longstanding issues that may have created a climate for betrayal. Perhaps with helpful support, the betrayed person can take a risk to reveal vulnerable feelings that lie beneath the initial anger and outrage.
As Janis Abrahms Spring puts it in her excellent book, After the Affair, “If you’re feeling indignant, try to risk showing the soft underbelly of your anger — the fear, the hurt, the humiliation that lie beneath it.”
In some situations, we may not have contributed to the betrayal (except perhaps by making an unfortunate choice for a partner). We’re suddenly hit by something that comes out of the blue.
In other instances, when we’re reeling from a devastating loss, it’s easy to succumb to the role of a victim — and refuse to explore whether we had some part in creating a climate ripe for betrayal.
It takes courage to consider whether we might have played some unknowing role in a betrayal. Maybe we neglected our partner in some subtle way. Maybe we didn’t listen well when she tried to express her feelings. Or, we repeatedly overrode his concerns and desires with our own pressing needs.
We may not have noticed how our lack of attentiveness created a growing resentment that led our partner to find someone who offered kindness, listening or affection not present in the partnership.
Of course, such possible lapses of mindful awareness do not excuse the betrayer for their behavior; perhaps they couldn’t find the courage to face potential conflict by expressing their needs and wants more assertively. But we might find greater compassion if it’s true that we played some role in the matter.
The possibility that we co-created a climate for betrayal can be an empowering realization. It offers a basis for hope that we might find some resolution by facing the issues that were being ignored in the relationship. In this case, betrayal can be a wakeup call. And just as a broken bone can become stronger after it heals, the relationship might grow stronger as we share our hurt, feel heard and respected, and communicate in a more authentic way.
Betrayal is a complex topic to write about. Circumstances vary greatly. And our personal tolerances for uncertainty and emotional pain differ.
Yet betrayal is an unavoidable human experience — one that may help us move toward deeper wisdom and maturity. Growth and transformation rarely come without pain.
As expressed in my book, Love & Betrayal:
“By courageously confronting the inevitable abandonments, rejections, and betrayals that life brings us, we can heal the hurts of our heart, discover new aspects of ourselves, and find a greater degree of safety in relationships and in life. Betrayal in its many forms can become, in effect, the unwelcome rite of passage that ushers us toward a brighter understanding of what love is and what love isn’t — what helps love grow, and what destroys it.”
Experiencing betrayal invites us to be kind and gentle toward our pain, allowing ourselves time to heal and understand ourselves — and perhaps our partner — more deeply.
By Michael Miller, Manal Ghosain and Dave Buznik
A second chance at love, mending estranged relationships, apologies that were never given….It is always inspiring to see someone pick themselves up and keep trying, in spite of repeated mistakes and disappointments.
“We’re all on the same journey. People are taking different paths to get there. And I think no matter how many times you fail or you fall down in your life, you certainly have the opportunity until you take your last breath to be redeemed.” Oprah Winfrey
We have all heard that everyone deserves second chances. Before a second chance can usher itself into anyone’s life, the past has got to go. However, it is simply not in our human nature to give second chances. For some, we have been the victim of a wrong doing. For others, we know someone or are close to someone who has been jaded. For many, unless we have ever needed a second chance, we completely shut down the idea. For some, we place ourselves so far above others that we would never consider giving a second chance to anyone. If we are honest with ourselves, there has been a time in all of our lives where we have needed a second chance. For some, it may have been a small request and for others a much larger request.
Mistakes are synonymous with being human. We all have a dark side, a destructive side. How much we allow it to take over depends on our level of awareness and what stage of growth we’re at. And that has nothing to do with age or experience. Our path is as unique as our fingerprints and our entire existence.
When asking for second chances, it is more difficult for the requestor than for the person being asked. It takes a boat load of humility and requires eating the largest piece of humble pie imaginable. We all need second chances. Quite frankly, most of us need third, fourth, fifth, etc. chances. It’s up to us to ask for those chances though. Then we can only hope and pray that the hearts of others are softened by that request.
We have all made mistakes in our lives – some that we choose to never disclose if at all possible. Some of those mistakes are brought into the light from others. I know I have made mistakes in my life and my actions have brought pain and humiliation to those who I care about most. If someone ever invents a time machine, I will be one of the first in line so that I can go back and right all of my wrongs. Since the time machine is probably not a reality, I must live my life looking forward and trying to be a better person.
There are people in our prison systems who have committed heinous crimes. There are people living in our communities who have committed crimes and have not been caught. There are those who have been wrongfully accused while the real criminal lives a life of freedom. It is not our place to pick and choose who gets a second chance. We just have to be willing. That’s all we can really do.
I am so regretful for some of the bad choices I made in my life. For those choices that pained others, I can only ask for forgiveness and hope that they would give me a second chance.
None of us is perfect, but all can I ask for my heart to be softer and help me to freely give second chances. I pray for a heart of forgiveness, because I know one day, I will have to ask others to forgive me. We owe it to ourselves and to each other, to understand more than judge, to support more than tear down, to encourage more than ridicule, to love more than fear.
As you go about your day, think about ways that you can live a life of second chances. Stop focusing on the outer shell because you’ll miss the hidden pearl. Instead of waiting for that person who had wronged you to ask for forgiveness, go to them and offer a second chance. Life is short. Living a life of no second chances makes life even shorter. We are all so blessed to have been given a multitude of second chances. It’s our turn. It’s our choice.
Will we continue to tear down the lives of those who have made bad choices or will we offer them a hand and help rebuild their lives? It’s our choice to make. It’s my choice to make. I choose to live a life of second chances.
51 Things That Will Make You Smile
By Lori Deschene
Some days, it’s easy to smile. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, with the warm glow of the morning sun cradling your face. You take several deep, cleansing breaths standing beneath a perfectly cascading shower, just before drawing a smiley face on the steamed-up glass with your index finger.
Your roommate or significant other makes your coffee, just the way you like it. You hit every traffic light. You sing to your favorite tunes. And you arrive at work refreshed, excited, and anxious to create and collaborate.
But not every day starts this way. Sometimes you wake up to chaos, in your head or in the world around you. You hit snags, and bumps, and roadblocks at every turn. You try too hard, or don’t try enough, and things fall apart, or things fall short.
You struggle, you fight yourself and other people, and you find yourself wishing you could stop the world so you could get off for a while.
But there is an alternative. When things go wrong, you can fall down or look up. You can shut down or wake up, all over again, starting from right where you stand. You can accept that the days won’t always look bright, but commit to finding something worth smiling about. Not sure what that might be? No worries, friends! I have a few ideas….
“I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile.” – Charles de Lint
1. Call a friend who knows how to laugh at herself to remember what it’s like not to take yourself too seriously.
2. Ask a friend to come over and make you smile. It’s really simple and obvious, I know, but sometimes we forget to just ask for what we need.
3. Read a letter, card, or email from someone who thought of you when you were going through a hard time.
4. Search your deleted email folder for “thank you.” You probably made a huge difference in someone’s life recently—remember that now!
5. Text a friend, “What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard today?”
6. Text your significant other with a silly picture of you and ask for one in return.
7. Ask your significant other to make you breakfast in bed—and to be creative with it. (I have no idea what that could mean, but just seeing the thought s/he puts into it will likely make it extra fun).
8. Post on your Facebook page, “What made you smile today?” (Like I often do on the Tiny Buddha Facebook page!)
9. Tell a child in your life that you need a hug. Just try to stay stoic when she throws her little arms around your neck and sings “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”
10. Alternatively, ask that child to draw a picture of you and him or her together.
11. Take a break to enjoy a simple pleasure that you often multitask—like a cup of flavored coffee, or a favorite snack.
12. Rearrange your furniture. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I do this, and I also really enjoy the novelty of creating a space with a different feel.
13. Give your cat a ball of yarn or give your dog a wrapped gift and watch him try to open it. Pets playing = instant smile, at least, for me!
14. Go out and invest in a hula hoop. It’s nearly impossible to stay glum when you get moving like you haven’t since you were a kid. (Alternative option: jump around on a trampoline and just try to not smile!)
15. For the ladies: paint your toe nails a bright color that you wouldn’t usually pick.
16. Ask a child in your life to do your hair. Seeing yourself with massive 80s bangs (ladies) or a Mohawk-inspired look (men) is sure to get you laughing!
17. Blast your favorite music and dance around with absolutely no regard for rhythm or appearance.
18. Bake something that has a silly face on it. Really—this is a valid suggestion!
19. Eat food that requires you to use your hands, and get messy—and then really get messy. Get rib sauce all over your face and just go with it.
20. Make some type of arts and crafts project, just like you would have as a kid, with plans to give it to someone else. (Two-part smile: when you see the ridiculous thing you made, and when you see your friend’s face after receiving it).
21. Make a snack you loved as a kid. Maybe it’s peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or a sundae with gummy bears on it.
22. Watch a movie or cartoon from your childhood. (Smurfs always do it for me, especially when I remember how my mother called them devil worshipers because Papa Smurf did magic.)
23. Write a hand-written letter to someone you love, using different colored pens.
24. Look at pictures from your childhood. I can’t help but smile when I see the ridiculously thick bangs my mother gave me (translate: the front of a mullet).
25. Pop in the video/DVD from your child’s last recital—or your childhood recital.
Laugh Often, Love Much
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