You probably tend to think – like most people do - that the most horrific betrayal of all is a person’s betrayal of his/her partner. After all, this is what you have been brought up to believe since childhood – from books and movies you have seen; from newspaper reports you have read; from TV programs you have watched as well as from conversations with others. But actually, the most horrific betrayal of all is a person’s betrayal of himself/herself: of living his/her life not according to what he/she would like to live them. Of being untrue and dishonest to oneself, to the inner wishes which one neglects and refuses to pursue.

You might have been brought up in an environment in which parents, teachers, as well as religious representatives have taught you that you always have to give in to others; compromise; be receptive to others’ wishes and needs. Be there for others, help them and do your best to be “a good person”. That you have to sacrifice yourself in order to “make” others happy and satisfied.

You might have also been brought up in an environment where politicians, movie stars and others have often been reported to have betrayed their partners and needed to face the consequences of their betrayal.

So the “lessons” which you have been brought up probably registered the following message in your mind: “betrayal of your partner is wrong” and “being there for others is good”.

Such lessons might have manifested themselves in your life in different ways. You might have not been true to yourself – not allowing yourself to follow your heart’s desire; you might have not allowed yourself to do that felt right in a relationship, but often succumb to what your partner wanted; you might not have been authentic – rather “agreeing” to do one thing while actually wishing to do another, for example: not wanting to go for a certain restaurant with your partner but hesitating to offer another alternative; agreeing to go for dinner even though you would have preferred to stay home. In such cases the fear of abandonment or rejection might have played havoc with you and you couldn’t get up the courage to express what you really prefer to be doing.

These, and other examples, might indicate that, for one reason or another, you might have not been true to yourself. Or, to put it more bluntly, you betrayed yourself.

When you betray yourself you probably don’t see it this way. Hence, you have been brought up under the assumption that “betrayal” is when one “cheats” on another. But if you take a minute to think about “betrayal” once more you can realize that, indeed, the horrific betrayal of them all is your betrayal of yourself; of your own heart; your own wishes; your own dreams. Betrayal of your life and future.

You might find one thousand and one excuses to justify the way you behave, the reasons for your not being honest and true to yourself: “One has to compromise”; “One has to be there for others”; “I must understand that my partner has his/her own needs which I need to adjust to”; “I can’t always do what I want”; “A relationship requires that both partners come towards one another”; and so on and so forth.

It is often easier to think that way, and to justify your “compromising” behavior that way, rather than acknowledging and accepting the possibility that you have not been true to yourself, that you might have betrayed yourself at the altar of a relationship.

It takes courage to look inwards, to understand what might have driven you to adopt such explanations and justifications – at times without even being aware that that’s what you do. You might be certain that you master “the art of relationships” – via communication and compromises – not being aware that you are not authentic and are not true to yourself, not being aware that the need to be loved and the fear of being rejected and left alone might prevent you from freely expressing what you really wish from your partner and from the relationship.

The sad part is that even if you might have failed in your relationships time and again, even if you have often “fallen in love” only to find yourself alone again – you might still have not let yourself question whether you have betrayed yourself all along.

When you will begin to entertain such a possibility and will be willing to get up the courage to understand what might have driven you to betray yourself, you will then be able to combat this tendency, become true to yourself and able to find a develop the relationship you have been wishing for so long.

Author's Bio: 

Doron Gil, Ph.D., is a Self-Awareness and Relationships Expert, with 30 year experience as a university teacher, workshop leader, counsellor and consultant. Dr. Gil has taught classes to thousands of students, has written numerous articles on the subject and is the author of: “The Self-Awareness Guide to a Successful Intimate Relationship”.