5 Steps To Heal From Betrayal & Make Your Future Relationships Stronger Than Ever

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5 Steps To Heal From Betrayal & Make Your Future Relationships Stronger Than Ever
Heartbreak

Have you ever been so hurt that you thought you didn’t know how to heal from betrayal?

We recently spoke with a woman who discovered her fiancé was cheating on her while standing in line to get into a bar. He walked out of the bar holding another woman’s hand and she was devastated.

She kept saying over and over again that she didn’t think she could ever trust someone again.

Can you relate?

RELATED: Getting Past The Pain Of Betrayal Requires This Subtle But Dramatic Shift

How many times have you loved and lost?

How many times have you had a dream, took action, and at some point thought you were getting somewhere, only to have the rug pulled out from under you?

How many of you think that you had something to do with it going south?

Do you know the answer to the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Here it is: to make them better!

Just because something awful happened to you does not mean that you deserved it, or that you are somehow not worthy of something better.

This place we inhabit is filled with polarity — good and bad, up and down, left and right, etc.

You can heal from a betrayal by learning how to mourn, move on, and put the past behind you, allowing you to begin again from a clean slate.

In this way, you also learn the many ways to make your relationship stronger and better than ever.

If you’re dragging around baggage from last week or last decade and have no idea how to create new habits and strategies, you’ll get stuck.

Here are 5 steps to take to heal from a betrayal so you can have stronger relationships in the future.

1. Take it day by day.

Some days, you’ll feel like you’re ready to move. Other days, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever feel like your old self again. That is normal and to be expected.

Healing from betrayal isn’t something that happens overnight.

Your best approach is to just take it day by day.

If you wake up and you feel strong, use that day to get things done. If you wake up feeling like a truck ran you over, then take extra-special care of yourself that day.

It may seem that your life will never get better. That is a lie you’re telling yourself.

No one was ever so delusional and overcome with joy or happiness and thought, "I’m going to feel like this forever!"

Yet, when we feel sadness, grief — or even guilt and shame — we convince ourselves that we’ll be stuck in some abyss. You won’t. You will go on. You will feel better.

All emotion is temporary. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, express it, and it will move through you.

You may uncover deeper layers of hurt and anger, but those emotions will shift and change, as well.

Don’t focus on asking "why" this situation happened. Don’t look for the reason. These types of questions only keep you feeling like a victim and hold you back from moving forward.

There is no answer to "Why did this happen?" that will give you the peace you are looking for. Sometimes, bad things happen — events are not always logical.

Your brain wants to find an answer or an explanation in order to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the only solution is to go through your feelings to the other side.

A great mantra is to just keep going. Keep going until you feel better and at some point in the future, you will even feel great again.

Be patient with yourself, and take it one day at a time.

Feel all your negative emotions, instead of trying to deny them. They are just feelings after all, and they will change.

2. Dedicate time to mourn.

Grief compounds. When we experience grief, we feel all of our past losses all at once. You can’t skip over the feelings of grief.

It will come upon you when you least expect it, triggered by hundreds of random experiences throughout your day. You don’t have the option to set a time limit on your grief.

That’s just not how it works.

Allow yourself time to feel your grief. Jewish tradition puts aside seven days of mourning after a loved one passes where there is no activity, and then another 30 days of limited activity in the world.

What follows is a 12-month period of mourning that includes daily prayers and thoughts of the person who passed.

After a full year, the headstone is placed on the burial plot, the mourning period officially ends, and normal daily activity returns.

In our modern society, we don’t allow ourselves enough time to mourn our losses.

Would you tell a friend to just "get over it" when they are struggling with the death of a loved one? Likely not, and yet that is what we say to ourselves when we experience loss.

Be kind and compassionate with yourself, just as you would be with a dear friend.

Many people with a spiritual practice want to rush to forgiveness as soon as possible. There can be a desire to avoid feelings of anger or hurt about what has happened.

You don’t get a prize for being the quickest one to forgive; it actually can stunt the healing process and prolong your grief.

This form of spiritual bypassing doesn’t allow you to go through the whole grief cycle. It is normal to feel anger. It is okay to allow your imagination to run amuck and wish bad things upon the person who hurt you.

You are not less spiritual because you entertain these thoughts or feelings.

The difference between a normal person and a crazy one is that crazy people act on those fantasies. Just because you wish bad things would happen to someone doesn’t make you a bad person, it simply makes you human.

Be okay with your human-ness. You can release a lot of emotion by entertaining those not-so-nice thoughts.

Give yourself permission to feel and imagine whatever you need to. You may even take your thoughts so far as to add some levity to the situation and inspire some laughter.

It can be the best medicine, even through the darkest of times.

Entertain your thoughts and feelings, whatever they are — you may find yourself giggling at the thoughts you have when you simply allow your mind to wander.

3. Up your self-care routine to calm your nervous system.

When we experience loss and trauma, we can be triggered into old emotional and behavioral patterns. Our bodies can go into a fight-flight-freeze response and our logical rational mind can go offline.

When our reptilian brain takes over, we no longer are acting in a rational or healthy way.

Take time to calm your nervous system so that your big, beautiful brain can come back online.

Take a warm bath with baking soda, epsom salts, and essential oils. Go to a restorative yoga class. Get a regular massage and chiropractic care. Walk in nature. Breathe.

When you get triggered and you feel the urge to act out, attack, or run away from your problems, sit down, breathe, put your hands on your chest and say to yourself, "I am loved and I am safe."

Keep repeating this until you calm down. Add in wrapping your arms around yourself or a pillow for a big hug, giving yourself the feeling of being held.

You’ll want to take extra time for self-care while you are going through this experience. There will be a desire to numb yourself with TV, alcohol, work — whatever your distraction of choice is.

Use whatever energy you have to commit yourself to calming your nervous system instead of numbing it.

Checking out keeps you disconnected from yourself and others. This can create a dangerous spiral of isolation. Every person on the planet has been through tough times.

When you stay committed to your self-care, you remain connected to yourself and leave the doorway open to connect with others.

It is the connection to yourself and others that will bring you the healing you are looking for.

The new experiences you have with people will connect you back into knowing you belong here on planet Earth, that you are not alone, and that you are part of the universal oneness of all things great and small.

Your inner guidance knows how to heal from betrayal. Take time to listen to it.

4. Decide that you will be better for the experience.

This is probably the most important step in this process. You get to decide how this experience will shape you and change you.

If you allow yourself to feel like a powerless victim, then you’ll reinforce this victim story in your life. You’ll be giving your power away to the person who betrayed you.

You’ll be abdicating your ability to create happiness and success in life.

In order to stand in your power make a decision about how you’re going to transform through what happened, make it a conscious choice to be changed for the better.

You can’t change the circumstances of what happened. The betrayal and hurt have already occurred.

Focusing on regrets or wishing it didn’t happen or that things were different is only going to keep you stuck in the hurt and trauma of the event.

Instead, decide that you’re going to be stronger, better, smarter, etc. because of this experience. Decide that you’re going to become a better person. Then focus on what you can learn and how you can grow from having gone through it.

Taking control of your inner-dialogue is the first step in making this transformation. When helpless thoughts arise, change your thoughts to positive ones and focus on who you are becoming.

RELATED: 6 Signs You're Suffering From Betrayal Trauma (& How To Heal If You Want Healthy Relationships)

4. Nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it.

This is an essential part of the process to reinvent yourself for the better. You and you alone get to decide the meaning you assign to the events you have experienced.

When it comes to the meaning you would like to give to the experience, choose wisely. Focus on the end result you desire for yourself.

Ultimately, you are not defined by the events that happened to you. What defines you is how you behave on the other side of them.

You’ll falter along the way. You may spend hours, days, even weeks wallowing in self-pity. It’s not a straight trajectory — it’s more like peaks and valleys.

It is not whether or not you stumble on your journey that determines your success. It is getting back up again after you fall. Keep getting back up and opening your heart to new possibilities.

Your commitment to becoming better does not need to be perfect. You only need to keep returning to it. It doesn’t matter how many times things appear bleak, be determined to return to your commitment to become better.

You may not even know what it means to become better from the experience. You’ll probably feel like there is no way you’ll ever overcome this setback. These thoughts and feelings are expected and also temporary.

Just keep telling yourself that there is something here for you to learn about yourself so that you can be better for this experience, and you’ll find the gold that will transform everything.

5. Forgive.

When you are ready — and only after you’ve taken the journey of the first four steps outlined above — make time to forgive.

Forgive yourself for not knowing any better. Forgive yourself for making whatever mistakes, for not seeing the problem, or even for being the type of person who would allow this to happen to them.

You are a human being, and therefore not perfect. If you knew all of the answers, then there would be no point in living this life.

Forgive the person who betrayed you. That person was doing the best they could with the resources they had.

Maybe they had a crappy childhood or a wound that caused them to lash out at others. Maybe they just believe they are no good and act from a feeling of self-hatred and self-sabotage.

What we know to be true is hurt people lash out and hurt people. The fact that this person hurt you means they were hurt, too — not by you, but they carry a wound that caused them to behave as they did.

Whatever their story, now is the time to find compassion for the hurt person who chose to hurt you.

Ultimately, forgiveness is for you. Practicing forgiveness will free you from the energetic dance you’ve been doing with this person.

It doesn’t mean that you forget what happened and allow a toxic person back into your life.

It does mean that you free yourself and move on with your life.

Our favorite practice of forgiveness is the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono, a forgiveness meditation that's about coming back into wholeness with yourself.

"Pono" is the Hawaiian word for integrity, and Ho’oponopono is coming back into integrity with yourself.

We have personally experienced magical outcomes by committing to this particular forgiveness meditation.

To practice Ho’oponopono, picture who you wish to forgive in your mind. This can be the person who hurt you or it can be you. It can even be you (or the other person) at an earlier age.

Place your hands on your heart center — the center of your chest on your sternum — and repeat these four phrases:

  • "I’m sorry."
  • "Please forgive me."
  • "Thank you."
  • "I love you."

Practice this daily for five to 10 minutes until you feel the energy and emotion shift, and you feel whole again.

Forgiveness sets you free.

The Buddha says: "Holding on to anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

This is exactly why forgiveness is essential. The anger and resentment you may hold against another person will ultimately poison you, limit you, and hold you back from living at your full potential.

No one is immune to being betrayed. We’ve all been blind-sided by a person we trusted in one way or another.

Relationships are complex and people are multi-faceted. There is some evolution that you must go through to ensure this won’t happen to you again.

Caring about and loving another person does not come with any guarantees. We all risk when we choose to love.

The rewards are always greater than the setbacks and pain, as long as we find the silver lining and grow. The growth is your ticket to a new level of living and loving.

The healing will allow you to connect more deeply with other people, likely new people who will love and accept you and support you more than you ever imagined was possible.

Allow yourself to be renewed through these steps to choose a better life for yourself.

If you feel like you are a magnet for the same kind of hurtful experiences over and over again, it’s likely your brain is wired for those events because they are familiar.

RELATED: 8 Strategies To Survive The Emotional Pain Of Infidelity & Betrayal In Marriage

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Orna and Matthew Walters have been soulmate coaches for over a decade together, they have helped thousands of readers create soul-lasting love. You can download a complimentary copy of their e-book, "Recognizing Mr. Right," along with a guided program on self-acceptance on their website.

This article was originally published at Creating Love On Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.