Stop Betraying Thyself! — Lionesses of Africa

by Nontobeko Mbuyane

Much of the difficulty and struggle that we go through in life comes from our resistance to change. At some point, we get stuck in painful circumstances, yet we fear facing our reality and doing the work required to ignite a positive change. After all we are so used to saying and believing that, better the devil that you know than the devil you don’t know. So, we settle, give up on our desires, try to make the best of what we have and sadly that works for a while. Until staying stuck becomes unbearable. Until we acknowledge that not dealing with our realities is making us sick. Until we realize that resisting change is self-betrayal. Until we say, enough! 

I always say that transformation starts when the desire to change overpowers our fears of it.  Sweeping things under the carpet and pretending everything is alright allows you to stay in control only in the moment, but the problem grows stronger until you realize eventually that running from, neglecting, and betraying yourself is no longer an option. You have to choose yourself, show up and find your way back to true self. My honest advice would be that you firstly need to commit to healing, just shift from self-abandonment to self-ownership. You might go through a lot of emotions at this stage. You might feel shame, feel like a failure, blame yourself for everything that has gone wrong in your life, but nonetheless just surrender everything to the higher power and pull all your energy back into yourself.

External Circumstances

Most of us will seek change in our external circumstances first if we are not happy with our lives. This works well to a degree, but at some point, we hit a wall and realize we must look within and change ourselves too. Healing is not for the faint-hearted. That’s why so many choose to never do this work. It is taxing, confronting, and there are no guarantees. You have to be willing to do difficult work, to take action, and move out of your comfort zone in order to face fears you may have been running from your whole life. You have to be willing to take a punch and risk emotional pain while you move through your fears. Often, you will be tested and tempted to give up. Keep going! Show up for yourself and do the work and your future self will thank you! Being everything for everyone might make us feel productive and valued, but it’s also draining. And it’s unsustainable. This is a recipe for burnout and feeling powerless and neglected. Shifting from self-neglect requires that you invest in yourself first and foremost. This starts with establishing healthy boundaries, listening to your body, and owning your mental health. You recognize that, like plants, you too need to be nourished and tended to in order to thrive. Radical self-care goes one step beyond that. It is recognizing your addictions and the habitual behaviors that are keeping you stuck and shifting to new ways of being and behaving. It’s not chasing people or giving energy to relationships that are toxic to your well-being. It’s dropping the compulsive need to control the outcome. It’s realizing your worth and putting yourself first, recognizing that only then you can be truly present for others.

Everyone Struggles

Learning to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings and staying in the moment despite the storm you may be feeling inside is very difficult, especially for those of us who experienced trauma and all sorts of life challenges. When things get hard remember that no one is perfect, and everyone struggles in one way or another. Don’t abandon yourself. Do your best to meet your internal experiences with presence and compassion. Remember to love yourself through whatever shows up, all parts of you need to be witnessed, accepted, and integrated.

Healing is an exploration of who we are at a deeper level. As we go through discovering ourselves again, we find what was lost, reconnect with our wounded parts, and remember what we wish to honor, support, and strengthen in ourselves going forward. Once you create distance between triggers and your patterns of reacting, you allow space for healing. This is where you discover you have the power to transform your pain into strength. Each time you stop glossing over your wounds and having compassion for your pain, you show up to deal with what hurts and has been hurting perhaps for years. When you are no longer willing to betray yourself. Instead, you face your fears, breathe through the pain locked in your body, and slowly dismantle your story around your underlying worth and your place in the world. For me writing about my pain helped me develop compassion for myself as I slowly released the stories that kept me stuck in the past. As painful as this process was, I kept showing up seeing how all these years of masking pain, running from fear, and not taking responsibility to heal what needed healing was a form of self-betrayal. I decided to surround it with love instead. My pain became the fuel for awakening, my wounds a birthplace of resilience, inner strength, empathy, and wisdom. As I embraced myself both my strengths and weaknesses, I began to show up with the fullest of who I was. 


Many of us have negative beliefs about ourselves that we have been shamed into believing and now accept as truths. Deeply hidden, these stories keep us stuck and feeling “less than.” This further sabotage our life and stopped us from being who we truly are. Challenging and rewriting those beliefs can get us unstuck and moving forward again. It is  empowering to finally stand up and assert your worth, needs, and boundaries. As you begin to validate your own feelings, fulfill your needs, and give yourself love and care your confidence and resilience grows as well. You will  begin to trust yourself and follow your inner guidance, learn to flow with what comes, grounded in self-care and self-love. The opposite of self-betrayal is self-love. The journey of transformation is really a journey of self-love and coming into wholeness. It’s the recognition that we are inherently worthy, not flawed, less than, or damaged in some way, as we were led to believe. It’s unbecoming, dropping all the programming we have  accepted as truths about ourselves and our place in the world. It’s showing up even when things are not  comfortable. No more self-rejection, exile, and making yourself wrong. 

My own journey changed me in more ways than I can count. I found inner peace where there was only turmoil and anxiety before. I processed a painful past and turned hurt into resilience. I embraced my vulnerabilities and accepted the complexities of who I am without needing to deny or shame parts of myself. I learned to trust myself, knowing that I can draw on my inner strength to handle whatever comes next. I shifted my energy toward building up and supporting myself instead of focusing on what’s wrong or missing in my life. I became my own friend, I learned to love and support myself, no matter what. Instead of constantly abandoning myself, I released the past, awakened to who I truly was, and began living out of that truth, fully, wholeheartedly, and apologetic. So, to you from me I say, Stop Betraying Thy Self!

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