This week I received a painful lesson in the power of belief. I discovered that the man I had been in love with for six years – the man I thought I shared a mutually sacred and deep connection with based on trust and love – had been deceiving and manipulating me—all along.
But as with all painful lessons, if we look at them correctly, there’s a great gift to be gained within.
You see, as a result of this information (and my own insights as I separated emotionally), it’s as if I seemingly snapped out of a hypnotic trance—realizing that everything I believed to be true and real all this time was a lie. Did he love me on some level? Sure…or at least I’d like to think so. Were his intentions malicious or is he just messed up? I’m inclined to believe the latter, but then, I always try to believe people aren’t disingenuous.
The truth is, I remain absolutely shocked. Stunned to find out the details that recently surfaced and the numerous ways I had been lied to (and more ugly truths continue to unfold). What I’ve learned is so far outside the realm of my belief about who he was that it took me days to process the information—and every time I think I’ve reached the bottom, turns out there’s a sub-basement where more betrayals are unearthed by mutual acquaintances. Like being told the world is not flat. Blasphemy!
But should I have been shocked—even slightly? No. The red flags were there all along, but then, aren’t they always, in hindsight?
Here’s the kicker – in retrospect, I knew everything i needed to know from the beginning. He had been lying to my face and engaging in a romantic affair with another woman all along. He had been living in my apartment half of every week and leaving to “go for a walk” nearly every evening. Then he’d come back to my apartment and tell me he had talked to one of his “buddies.” Buy my intuition knew something was off, so I ignored my own principles and snooped in his email when he left the apartment one day. I just needed to know, and what I discovered validated my worst fears.
I was so committed to my “preferred” version of reality – the one in which he was loyal, honest, had my best interest in mind, and was genuinely in love with me – that I now have no choice but to take full accountability for everything that transpired since. If I am to be honest with myself, I must admit I had been a willing and eager enabler in the perpetuation of these lies because they supported my belief. My love. My heart.
When we first began our relationship, everyone close to me (and I mean everyone) told me that I was making a huge mistake. None of my friends liked him, although some were more forthright about that than others. My mom didn’t like him. They felt he was inauthentic and arrogant, even devious.
To my surprise, his own mentor, whose seminars we had attended together, advised me unequivocally to “leave him” whenever I asked his opinion directly. As if that weren’t enough, even a couple of his own life-long friends stopped speaking to him around that time—saying they were disgusted by his behavior—the way he always seemed to find girlfriends who could provide for him, advance his career, and whose homes he and his son could live in, one after another in succession.
But even if I ignored what everyone else said, how could I be so blind as to ignore the simple fact of his life situation when I met him? He had been living in his mom’s house, broke, unemployed, in between girlfriend’s houses, with no clients and no success to speak of, but plenty of elaborate hypnotic language to describe the success that was just around the corner. Success was always just around the corner.
I had excuses for everyone’s opinions—I defended him tirelessly and challenged them all—calling them crazy. In fact, just a few months ago, a close friend of mine (who had never met him), saw one of his video blogs and texted me his thoughts—uninvited: “He’s a manipulator…he’s lying to you,” my friend said. “I know you love him and you don’t want to believe it, but that’s what I see.” I didn’t talk to this friend for a full month as a result. Still defending him. Still in denial.
This is the power of belief.
We can choose to believe anything and bend our reality to fit our version of the truth with little to no effort. If you only knew how much evidence I had found and ignored during the course of my relationship that indicated he was a liar and severely lacking in integrity! But all I could see and feel were the crumbs of love he fed me. I thought he really saw me. I clung stubbornly to that belief because the alternative (the truth) was too devastating. What would it say about me? My self-esteem? My judgement? My entire belief system? My idea of love and trust?
Years before I was diagnosed with MS, three separate medical professionals with three different specializations at three different times all mentioned the possibility of MS to me. I didn’t hear them. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. That information simply did not fit my version of reality at that time, and therefore, it was as if that possibility had never been suggested. Which is why I didn’t act on the information and wasn’t diagnosed until 2007.
The power of our beliefs to shape our reality cannot be underestimated.
However, if you read my blog with any regularity, you know that it’s my mission to take life’s pain and suffering and transform it into lessons that serve us and help us heal. Which brings me to my intention in sharing all this with you.
So far in this post I’ve only mentioned instances where the power of belief can be a very destructive force. But this same power of belief, when applied properly, can also be our greatest asset. Of course, it could be said that I wasted six years on someone who clearly never deserved my love, attention, time, effort, thoughts, and money. Many of us can claim similar things in the game of love. But if I remove the content of the story, what’s left is the awareness that I’m apparently very f*%#cking good at blind belief!
I excel at deciding something is true and ignoring all evidence that contradicts my chosen reality. So, now that I’m fully aware of this remarkable ‘skill’ I possess, what’s to stop me from using it to heal my MS? Why not simply replace my powerful belief about him, which did not serve me, with the belief that I can absolutely heal my illness—or anything else that serves me for that matter?
If I commit to the belief that I can heal my multiple sclerosis with the blinding zeal and passion with which I was committed to my belief about him and about not having MS, then surely I can be unstoppable. But only if I truly believe it.
See, I realize now that this was the trick that enabled me in the past to believe my beliefs with such fervor. The trick was that my fear of the alternative reality was so great that it kept my commitment to my chosen belief in place. The fear that he didn’t truly love me, that he didn’t even know what love was—that he couldn’t see his own self-sabotaging behavior and deeply hurtful and manipulative ways, and that therefore my relationship was a lie, was simply too painful to be accepted. So I didn’t accept it.
So what I am suggesting is that you do the same. I am suggesting that you go deep into the fear and aversion of being sick for the rest of your life and use it to fuel your commitment to the belief that you can heal. Believe blindly and stubbornly in your power to heal and ignore all evidence that could indicate any other truth.
Perhaps you think you’d be a fool for believing in this irrational way? What if healing does not happen in the realm of the rational? What if healing is purely a right-brain activity, one that we simply cannot make sense of? What if your blind, gullible, naive, absurd belief in your own power to heal your MS is precisely the ‘medicine’ that can actually cure you?
I think it is! In fact, I now see how that relationship was keeping me sick, but that I needed to go through it – this invaluable lesson about the power of belief and my own skill at believing beyond reason. And most importantly, the lesson that I was simply applying the right skill in the wrong place.
So today I invite you to be devout in your belief in your power to heal yourself. Know that this belief is your reality and that no other reality is acceptable. Use the remarkable power of belief to fuel a stubborn, purposefully blind position on healing. Accept no other reality but the one in which you heal completely.