[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D4VMZb8wLY[/youtube]

“Sing as though no one can hear you,

Dance as though no one is watching you,

Love as though you have never been hurt.”

Someone who was once very close to me gave me a plaque quoting these beautifully inspirational words from Mark Twain. I had been going through a rough time in my life and was so touched by the thoughtful gesture that I broke down walls and trusted this person with my deepest feelings and most guarded vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, I was duped, but regardless of the motive behind the gift, no truer words have been said.

We’ve all been the victim of someone else’s agenda. We’ve been used, hurt, deceived  and betrayed – sometimes by family, friends or people we believed loved us. When it happens, we look back and think, “How could I have been so naive, so stupid to have trusted them?”

Trust doesn’t make us stupid, only vulnerable and susceptible to being hurt. We can’t gaze into the future or deep into the soul of those close to us to determine if they will be worthy of our trust, but we need to remember that when we are hurt by the agenda of others, it is not a reflection on ourselves. It is more than likely a result of fears, pain or insecurities of the perpetrator. Greed, fear, desperation and even pure evil can drive people to do cruel, even heinous acts and the innocent are usually caught in the crossfire.

Betrayal hurts, but when we lock up our hearts we empower the perpetrator to control and stifle our lives. If we lay blame on others, we keep ourselves in victim mode and the baggage weighs us down. While we need to be selective with whom we trust – it’s important to remember that trust is key for every relationship to grow and thrive. Relationships, be  they friends, family or romantic, are the greatest gifts life has to offer and worth the risk.

William Ward once said, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the handcuffs of hate.”  When we have been wronged or taken advantage of, we don’t have to embrace the perpetrator, but if we can forgive and move on, our own lives will be enriched.

Casi

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