He cheated. And now what?
A few days ago, a student I dearly love came to me devastated. She discovered that her boyfriend had cheated on her all along.
Of all experiences in relationships, this may be one of the most painful.
That's why I'm writing this blog post. For her. And for any woman who's also in this great pain.
You need compassion. Not pity.
First of all, I want you to know that I am holding you in my heart, in the space of compassion. I see that you are in pain. And it must be so hard.
Each time a sweet moment between you and him flashes through your mind, you’re saying: “It wasn’t real!” You feel betrayed, disappointed, humiliated. “How could he?”
You feel as if you’ve lost everything. That all your love and effort were for nothing. You’re confused. You’re angry. You’re in despair. You’re curling up in this unbearable sadness. You’re crumbling down on the bathroom floor.
I am holding all of your pains in my heart with compassion. In this very moment, I am loving you.
And, sweetheart, I want to be clear with you that I am not pitying you. There is no part of me that feels sorry for you. There is no part of me that thinks “Oh… poor her…”
I have always loved you. And right now, your pains are not making me love you any less, or anymore. You don’t have to be broken to get my love.
That’s not the reason why I’m helping you. I’m helping you because in moments of excruciating pain like this. You have a chance to heal and grow to your higher self.
Like how the poet Rumi said: “The wound is the place where the light enters.”
He’s not the source of your pain.
Sweetheart, can I be completely honest with you? What he did is not the source of your pain.
Nothing outside you can hurt you. What he did just show you where the healing needs to happen: inside you.
Ultimately the thing that hurts you the most isn’t that he cheats on you. The thing that hurts the most is that his cheating affirms a suspicion you always had: “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not worthy of love and belonging.”
Can you see that the source of your pain is inside your mind? That is the place we need to heal. Now as you cry, I know thoughts are racing in your mind.
Your mind will try to understand this reality which it deems unacceptable.
And it will try to give you reasons why he cheats on you. One reason will be: “I am not good enough.” “I have not tried hard enough.”
If you can observe your thoughts; that is what you’ll find. But I can tell you that your mind right now is all wrong.
That’s not the reason. Something happens simply because it is time for it to happen. But if you have a deep sense of unworthiness, you’ll automatically use situations in your life to re-affirm it. Someone you love cheats on you is the perfect situation for your mind to say “See… I told you… You’re not worthy of love.”
The key here is to go through this while holding a firm awareness in your heart that “No matter how others people treat me. I am worthy of love. I am enough.”
Your mind is going to blame: blame him, blame you. “I’m so stupid!” “How can I not know?” or “I had sensed something strange…How can I not act?”
That’s not the right blame. Like another student I really love - whose name is Ha - said: “It’s everybody’s mistakes. But nobody’s fault.”
Your mind is also going to plot a plan. So you can win him back, or so you won’t ever be hurt again in the future: “I will never trust a man.” “I will be extra vigilant.” “I will never love again.” "I'll talk to the other girl!"
And that’s not the right plan. Because anything you plot in the state of fear and hurt will inevitably bring more fear and hurt in your life.
So how can you deal with those thoughts? By not “dealing” with them.
Simply see them come. Notice how they erupt more pain in your body. Realize that they are the product of the mind. And leave them alone. If you cling to them, believe in them, repeat them aloud to yourself or your friends, or try to reason with them, they will bring more thoughts.
More thoughts like that mean more pain.
Leave them alone. Don’t push or pull or poke at them. Just watch them come into your mind, hanging around your mind, and watch them as they slowly dissolve. It helps if you can rest your awareness with your breaths as you do this.
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Let your emotions be felt
What you need to do right now, sweetheart, is to surrender to the pain. Stop all resistance. The most you resist pain, the more pain persist.
Soften your muscles. Soften your mind. Soften your heart.
Drop into the floor like a baby drop its body on the soft bed.
The pain may seem destructive. But once you surrender to it - once you begin to relax instead of resist - you’ll find it to be a bed of green grass for you to lie down on.
Relax through being aware that you’re in pain. By being the observer of your tears, and by being connected to your breath - even when it may be hard even to breathe right now.
Three years of healing myself and healing others have taught me that: You can’t be done with the pain. The pain needs to be done with you. And you help it be done with you through the act of surrender.
Channel emotions into art.
Emotions are energy. It is aliveness. They are throbbing with the seeds of creation. Emotions are like a wild animal being held in your body. If you don’t release it, it will eat its way out.
Put your raw emotion into a dance, a painting, a song. Write it down on the page. Make a poem.
A pearl is created inside the oyster. The oyster releases a substance to cover the sand that got in its soft inner space. A pearl is a symbol of transforming pain into beauty. This heartbreak is the pearl you can make to wear on your neck.
When channel your emotion into art, you’ll experience the full spectrum of that emotion.
You can “enjoy” the emotion. “Enjoy” here isn’t machoism. This is bravery of choosing to believe that you’re strong enough to be the container of your emotions. In truth, you are.
How does heartbreak feel in your mouth and eyes and ears?
Enjoy it fully while it is here.
The storm has its own beauty. And no storm stays forever.
It will pass.
So receive the storm with open arms and legs. Feel its fierceness and its power.
And if you see deeper into the storm…
You’ll realize that behind the thick cloud, the sun, the moon is still there.
Finally, know that your past is your teacher. Your mistakes are your lessons. Your pain opens door to healing. And life’s catastrophes are but a divine correction to the right direction.
My dear, one day you’ll look back and thank this moment. You’ll look back and thank reality for having shown you the truth: he had been with someone else when he was with you. You’ll look back and even thank him for doing so. Because in this reality as it unfolds, he shows you where the healing needs to take place.
So you can turn pain into healing and struggles into strength.
So that, like me, when your soul’s true mate comes into your life, you’ll be stronger, wiser, and braver in loving him.