One of the most destructive emotions is the emotion of betrayal, how can it be that someone who was once so close can turn into the 'enemy'?
Sadly it seems to be happening more and more these days. You only have to pick up a newspaper or turn on the internet to read of the latest backstabbing betrayal, maybe you've experienced that yourself too, I certainly have, the phrase 'killed by your own kindness' springs to mind.
So what are the basic, visceral emotions that come up for you when you face the kind of injustice that can only come at the hands of someone close to you? Are you most upset with yourself and your judgment for being so wrong? Are you most upset that you did not act when you saw the warning signs (yes you did) and instead you chose to gloss over them or, are you more upset at humanity and society in general that there are people in the world who hide behind that 'butter wouldn't melt exterior' but when you scratch the surface you reveal a cold vessel of darkness... Or that's what the revengeful thoughts might have you believe anyway.
I think for most of us we cycle through ALL of those emotions very quickly until we settle on just our own inner hurt vowing never to let it happen to us again.
We resolve never to love so we can't get hurt, never to be so kind so we can't get taken advantage of, never to share so we can be plundered. But is that really the lesson we are supposed to learn? Surely it can't be that... can it?
I am reminded as I sit here by the pool in LA of a story my good friend Michael Neill often shares. It's a story of a guy sitting by a pool just like I am, relaxing and settling into some much-needed time off. As he closes his eyes and reflects on all the good that has come from his work and all the people living happier lives because of it. As he is just about to unwind properly he is brought right back to his senses by the sound of yelling and splashing. 'Argh, no... ' He thinks 'I don't deserve this, I deserve a relaxing break! Ok I'll not react, I'll just lay here with my eyes closed and it'll pass, this too will pass.' But as he lets that thought go he is splashed on again, more this time a real soaking and then even louder yelling... 'That's it' he thinks as he opens his eyes and jumps from his rest fully ready to have it out with whoever is making all the noise and waves... 'That's it, I've had enough!' But in that moment as his attention moves from the 'hard done by' thoughts in his head to the reality on the outside he realizes that the person in the pool is not just splashing and yelling, they are in fact drowning!!
In fact whenever you find someone splashing you for reasons that you cannot fathom just stop and think about it. Are they splashing you, or are they desperate, hurting and drowning themselves..?
Then remember the first rule of life-saving, NEVER get in the water with them, because without even meaning it they can pull you under too. But maybe they are deliberately trying to drown you... That is sadly a possibility too and so you may have chosen to gloss over the warning signs in the past but now that it's out and you have your eyes fully open and you can see it for yourself you owe it to yourself not to get dragged into the pool.
But next time you feel betrayed by someone just remember the moral of this story... They're not splashing, for whatever reason, they're drowning... Emotions come and go with our thoughts but you owe it to yourself, do EVERYTHING you need to do to make sure you don't drown too!