If you are anything like most people, you like doing things that you are good at. Whether it’s yoga, cooking, finances, parenting, or keeping the peace, it’s more fun doing things that you are good at than it is to struggle along, do poorly, and feel awkward and inept doing things you are bad at. Once you find something that you’re good at, you just keep on getting better at it too, because you do it more often. And the more you do it, the better you get and the more fun and satisfying it is!
As an adult, you are used to mastery. Without realizing it, you have probably structured your life around things you are good at. You are used to being competent and capable, and when you need to learn a new skill, it’s typically only in one area of life, (such as getting a new job) so you still feel successful as a human because the other areas of your life have stayed the same.
What Does Betrayal do to a Person?
The problem with betrayal is that it pulls the rug out from under you and upends every aspect of your life. Emotional, physical, relational, financial, spiritual, and mental to name a few. Instead of rebuilding one area of yourself or your life, you are suddenly being tasked to rebuild every area of your life, while struggling to figure out who the heck you are now. And because nobody is practiced at rebuilding everything, all at the same time, you are going to feel overwhelmed, incompetent, victimized, and totally lost.
The gap between where you are, and where you want to be, is going to seem too large to traverse and you will either want to crumble and die, or leap ahead into a new life, new home, or new relationship so you can feel settled and normal again.
How do You “Fix” Betrayal?
To “fix” the betrayal, you must go back to the basics and relearn much of what you already know. You need to stop pushing ahead and trying to rebuild on broken ground – because you can’t. Rebuilding on top of a broken or unsteady foundation gives you an unsteady structure. If you want to “fix” what was broken by the betrayal, you must go back, clear away the rubble, choose which building blocks to keep, which to get rid of, and relay the foundation.
Does this feel like too much? Let me give you a different perspective. When was the last time you were a true beginner at anything, let alone many things? It’s my guess that it’s been quite a while. Although it’s comfortable to move through life on autopilot, as an “expert” at being you and living your life, was it really what you wanted? Really? Rebuilding can be kind of exciting, because this time you can create exactly what you want!
And just like with any skill, no matter how much of an expert you are, sometimes going back to the basics is what’s required if you want to expand your skills and move to the next, higher level. So often rewinding and relearning things that you thought you already knew changes everything.
How do You Come Back After a Major Betrayal?
Take yoga, or any kind of sport. To progress to the advanced moves, you must master the base moves. Why? Because the base moves provide the necessary strength, flexibility, and skill that launch you to the next level. When you take shortcuts, you may win in the short run, but you lose in the end because you don’t master the skills necessary to move on to the next level.
In yoga, many people want to learn how to do wheel pose (a back bend). Executing a safe back bend requires flexible hips, abdominals, and shoulders and strong glutes, triceps, and lats. When people rush into a back bend without building the necessary strength and flexibility, they end up injured, necessitating time away from yoga, and end up further behind.
Even pro-golfer Tiger Woods went back to basics and re-learned his golf swing not once, but twice. Both times his scores took a significant hit before he achieved mastery and reaped the benefits of rebuilding his swing from scratch.
The same is true for coming back after any major betrayal. You must go back and master the basics if you want to heal. Which means going slowly; rebuilding necessary skills; and remaining consistent, dedicated, and positive. When you do, you can achieve long lasting success, happiness, and satisfaction.
How to Rebuild After Losing Everything After Infidelity
Research shows that it takes a person approximately fifty times of doing an activity to achieve comfort and mastery in that activity. It doesn’t matter if it’s taking your car in for repairs, managing finances, or learning to come home to an empty house, it’s going to take about fifty tries before you feel comfortable in your new life.
No matter what you are seeking to rebuild – your identity, self-worth, or your entire life, my challenge to you is to let go of the idea that you can “fix” things after infidelity. You are supposed to be uncomfortable right now. You are a beginner! How compassionate are you with a toddler as she learns to walk? How can you be that compassionate with yourself? Go back to the basics with perspective before launching ahead. If you want a glorious new life, it needs to have a strong foundation. Build that now, so you don’t have to rebuild it again a few years from now.
If it’s better relationships you want, go back and review and practice basic communication skills. If cooking and eating is your struggle, master a few basic recipes and reconnect with simple flavor combinations. The same is true for personal growth. Before getting too fancy or overly ambitions, take time to tune into your own heart and listen to the rhythm of your own soul.
Make this your time to return to the basics. Check in on your mental, spiritual, and physical foundations and make the necessary adjustments. Take down and rebuild what’s crumbling. Choose stronger materials this time around or change where you build your foundation in the first place. Give yourself permission to pause and check back in with the basics.
Begin again with patience and a beginner’s mind, knowing that the work you put in this time around will succeed because of the strength of your foundation!