Heal From Betrayal Via Gentle Self-Love With Award-Winning Expert Noah benShea

Imperfect Love | Noah benShea | Healing From Betrayal


We want to believe that love will last forever, and perhaps it does. Yet, as imperfect humans, we sometimes let down others—and even ourselves—in ways that sever the trust that is so necessary for lasting, healthy relationships. When we experience the deep pain of betrayal, which can cause immense psychological damage, it can be tough to grieve, heal, and move forward. Betrayal comes in many forms, including sexual infidelity, emotional affairs, and financial deception, yet all involve dishonesty and a lack of integrity. When we turn inward to gently embrace faith, love, and courage, we can find much-needed inner peace and restorative balance. The gift of self-reflection doesn’t take away the pain of betrayal, but it can create a wonderous internal transformation that fosters healing and strength. Join Dr. Carla and award-winning expert Noah benShea for a heartfelt dive into the journey of healing from betrayal. 


Books by Dr. Carla Manly: 

Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly 

Joy From Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend  

Aging Joyfully: A Woman’s Guide to Optimal Health, Relationships, and Fulfillment for Her 50s and Beyond 

The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships 


Connect with Dr. Carla Manly: 

Website: https://www.drcarlamanly.com 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drcarlamanly/ 

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/drcarlamanly/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drcarlamanly 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carla-marie-manly-8682362b/ 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@dr.carlamariemanly8543 

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@dr_carla_manly 


Books by Noah benShea:  

Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World 

Jacob’s Ladder: Wisdom for Your Heart’s Ascent (Jacob the Baker Series) 

Jacob’s Journey: Wisdom to Find Your Way; Strength to Carry On 

We Are All Jacob’s Children: A Tale of Hope, Wisdom, and Faith (Jacob the Baker) 


Connect with Noah benShea: 

Website: https://www.noahbenshea.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/noahbenshea/ 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/noahbenshea 

Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/noahbenshea 


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Heal From Betrayal Via Gentle Self-Love With Award-Winning Expert Noah benShea

Discover The Key Steps To Healing From Betrayals Such As Sexual Infidelity And Emotional Affairs 

We want to believe that love will last forever, and perhaps it does. Yet, as imperfect humans, we sometimes let others down and even ourselves in ways that sever the trust that is so necessary for lasting healthy relationships. When we experience the deep pain of betrayal, which can cause immense psychological damage, it can be tough to grieve, heal, and move forward.

Betrayal comes in many forms, including sexual infidelity, emotional affairs, and financial deception, yet all involve dishonesty and a lack of integrity. When we turn inward to gently embrace faith, love, and courage, we can find much-needed inner peace and restorative balance. The gift of self-reflection doesn’t take away the pain of betrayal, but it can create a wondrous internal transformation that fosters healing and strength.

In this episode, our special guest who is renowned for offering gentle wisdom in a complicated world will guide us as we focus on this reader’s real life question. “I discovered that my partner cheated on me. I first suspected that it was emotional infidelity, which was bad enough, but now it’s clear that it had moved to a physical affair. I’ve always trusted my husband and thought he had integrity, but I’m so shattered that I want to divorce. He wants to try to save things, but I can’t get past my anger and mistrust. Am I wrong to want to end the marriage?” That question is the focus of this episode.

In this episode, I’m joined by a very special guest, Noah benShea who’ll be sharing his expertise on love and elevating the human spirit. Noah is an author, poet, scholar, theologian, and so much more. One of my favorite quotes of his is this. “Of all the things you can make in life, make a difference.” With that very modest introduction, welcome to the show, Noah. There is so much that I am about you and I’m delighted to have you on the show and know that our readers will enjoy your honesty, genuineness, and wisdom.

Thank you. I’d say I’m very humbled to be here and honored, but I’m reminded by Golda Meir who said also, “Don’t be so humble. You’re not that great.” My hubris[Ma1]  said, be, but also my humility. It’s very nice to be here and to be an ally in your good work.

Thank you, and I am so grateful. I want to read just so our readers know a tad bit more about you. Also, because of your humility, you might not say some of the other important things about who you are, but Noah is one of North America’s most respected and beloved poet philosophers. He is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated international bestselling author of 28 books translated into eighteen languages. Noah is a scholar and a theologian.

Imperfect Love | Noah benShea | Healing From Betrayal

He has spoken to numerous prestigious universities and institutions, including the Library of Congress, and the US Department of Defense, and he’s been published by Oxford University Press and the World Bible Society in Jerusalem. He was the dean at UCLA at the age of 22 and at 30, he was a Fellow at several esteemed think tanks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg and I do want to also say I love this one quote. This is by Howard Schultz. He’s the executive chairman of Starbucks. “Noah benShea has elevated the human spirit to great heights with his wisdom.

That pithy, yet beautiful quote says so much about you. Also, before I ask you a little bit about you, I want our readers to know that our guest in this episode wrote a beautiful book called Jacob the Baker that was written many years ago, but it’s now in film form. I just watched the film and was so delighted about so many aspects of the film. That film is now nominated for a very wonderful award. Noah, I’m going to turn it over to you so that we can know a little bit more about that film before we launch into responding to our reader’s question.

I was an Assistant Dean of Students at UCLA at the age of 22. Let me begin with my friend Ram Dass across that time said to us that nobody ever became somebody who didn’t first become nobody. Let me calm down and hold myself with some perspective there. Jacob the Baker is an important spiritual and dramatic full feature film. It’s now streaming on Amazon Prime, Tubi, Voodoo, and Vimeo up in Canada.

After many years and many people wanting to bake, Jacob the Baker into a motion picture. Julia Roberts was walking around the set of Pretty Women quoting Jacob to the people in the cast. I decided to move forward. I am the producer of this film along with Steven Rales, who does all of Wes Anderson’s films and The Grand Budapest Hotel. A colleague in this film was Mark Johnson, who did Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. They were both producing allies.

Deepak Chopra has said very kind words about this film and about my work time. I think the motion picture mostly is a profoundly authentic film and I invite people to take a look at Jacob the Baker. I’ll leave it at that. Jacob Baker now streaming on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and Voodoo. Take a look, folks. I think you’ll find something special in the film and you. I hope you’ll meet a friend named Jacob the Baker in the motion [00:06:44]. We’ve just been nominated. We are right at the ILLUMINATE Film Festival and an award as one of the premier films on this that everybody’s excited about.

I am so excited about your film and for the nomination, because watching the film, it’s what made me know even more that you are a great fit for this reader’s question because you focus in Jacob the Baker on some of the key concepts of my life and my work. Also, probably the questions that this individual is pondering. The importance of love, authenticity, integrity, and respect in our lives, as well as the importance of acts of kindness.

When we look at this listener’s question and the pain. I know we can’t answer and tell the reader what to do, but we can look and be with her in this difficult time and maybe illuminate some concepts that will help her make a wise decision as well as help our readers who may be struggling with similar issues or had similar issues in the past that they’re still not recovered from or an issue around the corner that they don’t know they’ll be facing.

I think that’s exactly what we can do. First, it’s by realizing that in every anguish with enough time and enough dis distance is our anguish. When we shot the film, we shot it around the world in the middle of COVID and all the stories. Fidelity becomes one of the essential stories that we’re exploring in Jacob the Baker, along with parenting, faith, economic pressures, and a lot of the keen stuff.

One thing I want to step back and say for a second about this issue of love is we live in a world now where everybody’s so often in political silos and either right or left or blue or red. Not only in the United States but globally, the same kind of thing is happening. What’s important to know is that the issues of love in your life don’t, care who you voted for. They don’t care what you call yourself.

Love, the loss of love, or the challenges of love is an equal opportunity employer. It’ll come into your life no matter who you think is right and who you think is wrong. In my perspective this person’s anxiousness about this moment in her life and entirely right to be that way because if this is happening and you know and you’re not emotionally stirred, then that’s what’s wrong with you. It’s because sometimes the only thing more than what’s bothering you is what isn’t bothering you and how you respond to it.

In my own take, we all talk about how love without honesty is betrayal but the flip side of that is that honesty without love is brutality. It’s important that this woman and in a sense, she’s an archetype of a lot of us in this world that when we have to deal with somebody where we feel a sense of betrayal, we have to be able to be, express our honesty about it without necessarily expressing our anger about it.

Can you be loving and tell somebody how they have so disappointed you? At the end of the conversation, not that they feel good about you, but that you feel good about yourself. That is, you can’t be in a love relationship unless you’re in a love relationship with yourself. When dealing with anybody who has disappointed you, you have to make sure that you’re not abandoning your own love of yourself and how you conduct yourself in the middle of it.

When you wake up in the morning, you’re not in charge of what gets delivered to your door. You are in charge of your response and the important thing is to respond, not react. To this woman, I might say, “Please pause for a second and ask yourself if you’re in a reaction syndrome.” A reaction syndrome is like watching a pool ball on a pool table get hit by another ball. It bangs off one wall on another and it sinks. It never made a decision. It just was in a reaction syndrome the whole time. That’s the terrible way to live one’s life.

To be responsive rather than reactive and to come to these questions that she’s facing with the love for herself and be able to express that love. It’s tough to do. The easy road isn’t always the wise road. It isn’t always the most direct path. Sometimes it’s in the struggle there. In the middle of the 20th century, there’s somebody said, “There’s only two issues in life. It’s love and work.” How you resonate with love and work defines who you are.

If you know somebody who’s got both love and work and is working for them, then they’re pretty good. If you take one of those away, you’re like Peg Leg Pete, you’re absent without work or love. Jacob the Baker says there’s only work and life. If you’re fortunate, you love your work. If you’re wise, you’ll work at love.

Thank you for saying that because the part about working at love is a piece that so many people miss. They think that love should be easy, that the journey of love is all fairytales and princesses and Prince Charmings and it’s not. Love asks us to dig in.

If you want to fuel passion, you have to chop wood.

If you want to fuel passion, you have to chop wood. Click To Tweet

When we look at our reader’s question, and it goes back to something you just said, when I’m working with clients, I often will say, “Ask yourself what would love to do here?” It’s because I can’t answer their questions for them. I can lead them. I can light the way. As you said for the person who was betrayed diving inward to say, “What is love for myself asking me to do here?” Yes, love for the other, but also we must love the self and come from a place.

If she’s feeling that she’s broken and shattered, as you said, pause. We don’t want to react. We want to respond, which means we’re coming from a place of pain. When we’re betrayed, we feel deeply pained, very confused, lose focus, and all those things. Yet, if we take time to slow down to recalibrate, then we can work on loving ourselves and asking the self, “What would love to do? What would my self-love do here?”

It was like when you take something at a metaphysical level and move it to a physical level. In Japan, oftentimes when one finds himself with a vase that they cherish that has been broken, they will repair it with gold so in the end, the broken vase is now even more valuable for having been broken. It’s a very tough position to come to. I remember someone time a long time ago when I thought that was in a very hard work situation.

Somebody said to me, “You’re just building character.” I said, “I’ve been building enough character for a while. I’ve got enough character.” We don’t look to these experiences but it’s important to know that every moment is a portal to another moment. How you go through that door is what matters. Again, things happen that you’re not in charge of, but it is a time to look and reflect and maybe for this person to think about.

I remember talking to a therapist once who said, “I met a woman who told me she had to be divorced from this guy.” She asked, “Why?” She says, “It’s because of the way he takes the clothes out of the dryer.” It’s psychology they say, “The thing is never the thing.” A lot of times, the thing is never the thing. What you think is driving you crazy about somebody else is reflecting on what drives you crazy. You have to stop and realize that it’s not the issue at hand.

There was a movie a long time ago where one of the key lines was “Never underestimate the power of denial.” When people hear that, their first thought is that you can be in denial about anything. The real power in denial is what you bury under the carpet becomes volcanic. By the denial, it becomes volcanic, not just what you’re denying is reality. I would suggest that this person, as much as she might be looking at her husband use this time as an opportunity to be a mirror on herself. A lot of times, it’s important for us to remember that a window is also a mirror because it allows us to look at the world and see ourselves.

Noah, that’s a lot. Let me slow it down for me and for our readers. I love that you brought up the Japanese method of making pottery and mending it with gold. If I recall correctly, it’s something like Kintsugi or something like that. I saw that in a sense when I was in India where I was amazed that they took pottery that had come over from China thousands of years ago and used it to create these beautiful buildings, the mosaics on the outside of the buildings. They didn’t let it go to waste.

If we take that to what the listener is struggling with, I’m not losing sight of the idea of the mirror as well. I want to dive into that but what you are saying if I’m hearing you right is, “Reader, slow down. See whether you stay or don’t stay there. There is some shattering here, some shattering of your heart, some shattering of your life, and put it together wisely. Use gold, not literal gold, to put it together, but the gold of your spirit, the gold of your kindness, and the gold of your love, so that whatever you decide to create out of this brokenness can become beautiful. Did I get that right?

You asked me to slow down. I’ve been thinking about these things for a long time. My wife one time was talking to a friend and he said he just had this very philosophical conversation with Noah. She said, “That’s the only conversation he has.” This is my two thoughts as a response to what you were saying if I might. Many years ago, I was chosen for a state department in India a long time ago. I turned 21 in Calcutta. I was on a train and they came in when they served you tea. They served tea on the train in a ceramic cup. When you were done with it and you wondered what you did with it, they said, “Just throw it out the window.”

I said, “Just throw this cup out the window?” They said, “Yes.” I said, “It’ll break.” They said, “Yes.” I said, “Why?” They said, “When the train pulls away, there are people who walked down the track picking up all these pieces of broken low-fire clay and put it in a pot, add water, mix it together again, and it’s another cup by the end of the afternoon.” That’s one thing about how you transform something is about how is it transforming you.

To understand that the only state we live in is a state of [00:17:38.8] in a state of transformation. That’s the only state that you live in. Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It can only change form.” This is Noah via Einstein. You could only be in a state of transformation. When you talked about the gold, I had this thought from many years ago that the Golden Rule is fool’s gold if you’re prepared to treat others with the same disrespect you have for yourself.

We live in a state of transformation. That's the only state that we live in. Click To Tweet

We say treat others as you would want to be treated. That’s the Golden Rule. As long as you’re not prepared to treat others with the same disrespect you have for yourself. Again, let’s circle back to our friend’s question and realize that this moment in your life is as much about how you are treating yourself as someone else treated you. That’s where the moment is in its major transformation for you.

You’re not finally in charge of what this man did. You are in charge of who you are in this moment, how you react, and how are you going through this transformation. It’s because trust me, this will not be the last transformation in your life, my dear, whoever this person is asking this question. This will not be the last major transformation in your life and if you doubt that for a moment, let me introduce you to getting old.

I hear the deep compassion, wisdom, and empathy that you have for our reader and it seems like you are inviting her to slow down again, listen, and dive within. We keep talking about gold and we think about in alchemy where the science of alchemy where we turn lead into gold and that this is that opportunity. It’s hard when you’re in the pain. I’ve been betrayed. I get it. It’s hard to be in that place of deep pain and say, “Noah, you’re asking me to transform. All I want to do is cry and be a lump on the floor. How, Noah, can I transform into a place of loving myself when all I can think of right now is that I trusted this person and they betrayed me.”

To keep it in perspective, they did. That’s their business. That’s their karma. That’s what they have to drive this world. To vary from gold, but no less a value we have to remember that a piece of coal, and a lot of us who don’t think we’re very important might think we’ve been treated like a piece of coal. That a piece of coal under enough pressure for a long enough time becomes a diamond.

If you’re thinking that what has happened to you can’t be anything but negative, I want to remind you that some of the most transforming experiences in our life are not experiences that we come to and feel positive about at the time. The average child will fall 300 times before they learn to walk. Nobody ever learned to walk who didn’t learn to fall and that falling is not failing. It is the human experience and it doesn’t reflect that we are frail. What it does reflect is that we are brothers and sisters because we all fall because we’re all frail because we’re all human.



Again, thank you to this reader who wrote this question to you because she has invited us into this conversation which will be transforming for a number of us even in myself, and listening to myself to remind myself about the transformation and the alchemy that is part of day-to-day living. If you don’t forget what it is to be born again. I want to share this with you.

One time, I had some dear friends who lost a child, and I was standing at the grave with them. One of the sisters of the family who had lost a child said to me, “Noah, do you believe in reincarnation?” I said, “I do. I just don’t think you have to die to be reincarnated.” I think this becomes a very incredibly rich moment for this person to use this betrayal as an opportunity for reincarnation and to remember that you don’t have to die to be reincarnated. Also, trust me. In a long life, there are many lives. Goodbye, Hello. The Beatles song, “You say, “Goodbye” and I say, “Hello, hello, hello. You say goodbye. I say hello.” I think that’s about as wise as I get at the moment.

I do have to say I love that part. I never thought about reincarnation as a part of being alive and that’s so beautifully put because it makes sense what you’re saying. Also, through that lens, I can see how I’ve certainly reincarnated several times in this lifetime and each version has been thankfully and mercifully a better one than the one before. It’s one I’m prouder of and more in love with. You are saying to our reader, “Friend, stay the course. Turn inward, self-reflect, pause, and allow this to be the reincarnation of the next best version of you.”

That’s the only dance you’re invited to in this lifetime.

I want to go to something that’s in Jacob the Baker. I don’t normally take notes when I’m watching a film, but I did find myself compelled to take notes. One of the things I loved and I love many things, but there is a piece where you were talking about how it is important to know the difference between honesty and integrity. Those are two of my favorite words, and I try hard to live by them. Could you explain to all of us what the difference is between honesty and integrity because some people might pass it by quite quickly?

I think there is some congruency between honesty and integrity but with this pause, honesty is the relationship you have with others. Integrity is your relationship with yourself. That’s what I had put it in. I was born into a blue-collar family, and you could be wise around the dining room table, but you better not be long-winded, otherwise you’d get a fork in the wrist. My attitude combined with a lot of time spent in Eastern consciousness was to try and find peace, quiet, and brevity.

Honesty is your relationship with others. Integrity is your relationship with yourself. Click To Tweet

I think that’s the difference. Honesty is your relationship with others. Integrity is your relationship with yourself. Let me add this. If you are dishonest to yourself, if you are dishonest personally, you will be dishonest socially. That’s a road sign on the journey. If you are dishonest with yourself, you will be dishonest to others because you’ll need to support that dishonesty with the public, however it is.

None of us have lived long enough who haven’t with integrity come to witness that. We’ve all seen that. In the film, someone asked me because part of the film is me stepping onto the stage as Jacob the Baker for a one-man evening. They said, “You have no script. You’re doing this without a script and you’re talking for an hour and a half on a stage.” I said, “I’m not trying to speak into a character that they see. I’m trying to speak into the character I am. If I’m being honest with myself, if I’m in a state of integrity with myself, how can I forget my lines?”

If you’re in a state of integrity with yourself, you don’t have to worry about who else. You can’t forget your lines in this lifetime but if you’re playing to an audience, then you better remember your lines. However, if you’re in a state of integrity and honesty within yourself, you don’t need someone whispering your lines, “Say this line now.”

I so agree with you, and I’ve seen that in life people who live with integrity don’t have to worry about which story they’re telling because their story is always the truth. They don’t worry about being asked questions because there are no lies to cover up. They don’t worry about having an open and honest conversation or somebody throwing, “Could you answer this question? Could you tell me about this?” They’re not afraid because they’re living in a state of constant integrity.

I share this with you. My director and co-producer were also co-authors on this and they were fabulous. The script was great, but in many circumstances in the film, I also spoke without script. In particular, a part of the film turns on this reporter coming to interview me before my evening on stage. At one point, I’m telling that I discovered that she was going through a difficult time. I began to speak to her about how when I came home as a child, my mother would be waiting for me. She was wearing this old house dress and had her hair and curlers.

As I began to remember how much I cherished my mother’s being there for me, I grew very misty-eyed in the film. We finished that thing and the director said, “Cut. That was great.” He says, “Now, let’s do it from this angle.” I said, “No.” You get to say some things when you’re the producer. He said, “Why not?” I said, “Because if I do it again, I’ll be acting.”

That’s what I wanted in the film. I appreciate it when you said you felt the authenticity in the film and the honesty in the film. For me, that was the sine qua non. This honesty was required and authenticity was required. Otherwise, I’m a guy selling snake oil. I’m prepared to be rejected. I’m just not prepared to be less than the best self that I can bring to the conversation.

I think that is such a beautiful benchmark for all of us to aspire to be our best authentic imperfect selves at any given moment. When we look at what the reader wrote about where her partner was not his best self. He did something that was not his best self. He made a choice or choices that took him into an area that has some big consequences and that lack of integrity.

Now, we are looking at your quote, “Honesty without love is brutality.” His lack of honesty and his lack of love ends up having brutal consequences for her now she gets to dive inward and say, “I want to find my integrity here, my honesty, my truth to myself,” whatever that might look like for her. It sounds simple, Noah, yet when we’re in that dark place or dark night of the soul of finding that I believe that if we’re willing to do that work, that’s where we grow our internal strength and our roots that allow for that next reincarnation.

If this makes her feel that she thought she was in a relationship and now she feels absent from a relationship, she’s wrong. She’s not absent from a relationship. She’s in a relationship now with herself. This is the relationship she’s in. You have to come home to you before you can go out and visit anyone else. That’s when she comes home at the end of the day. You have to have that be in that company with herself. That may not be easy. Her husband’s choice, was it wrong? It may have been right for him because he has to go through this anguish before he gets to his better place but that’s his work. None of us can do the work of another in this lifetime.

No, we can’t.

I tell people that in this life, your work isn’t what you do, but who you are. You go to a party and you say, “What do you do?” It isn’t, “My work in this life isn’t what I do. My work in this life is who I am.” That’s your work.

In this life, your work isn't what you do, but who you are. Click To Tweet

I’m only going to mention this once, but it’s my book, The Joy of Imperfect Love. People ask me, “Why do I start with the self?” It’s because it builds from self-love to relationship love, or whatever kind of relationship, friendship, romantic love because that’s what I believe. I believe that we have this being, this self, and it’s rough and that we get to work on polishing the stone of who we are again and again throughout this lifetime.

Also, we are in charge of whether we choose to let it be rough and jagged or whether we keep doing the work to evolve and continually polish the stone of who we are. It sounds very much as if that’s what you are saying to our readers. Again, your husband can be a jagged rock. He has his own journey but let’s come back to you dear friend, dear reader, and help you polish.

Let’s shift metaphors again because this is the work of a poet-philosopher. It’s self-description. You ask any architect and he will tell you that when you build the foundation, you determine the height of the building. If you’re trying to make or witness the tower that you might yet be, work on that foundation. Work at what’s inside of you. No tree ever grew blossom that didn’t first grow roots.

It’s not the philosopher’s job to make simple things complicated, but complicated things simple and that’s what I would suggest. What you were trying to build in your lifetime, make sure you start by working on your foundation. The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two other characters. One is danger, and the other is opportunity. Every crisis you encounter is a dangerous opportunity.

I’m sorry for the circumstances. Thank you for being the spurge of this conversation. Is there danger in this circumstance? Yes. Is the danger that you’re going to be left alone? Perhaps. All of the big dangers might be about who you are in the middle of this experience and how you treat yourself. If this person treats you as less and you sign up for it, now, we feel like less. One of the major keys in psychotherapy is not to confuse how you feel with who you are. It’s because you feel like less doesn’t mean don’t be confused that you are less. This is a crisis moment in your life. It is a dangerous opportunity. Witness the danger and embrace the opportunity.

I’m a big believer in the fact that trust takes a long time to build and it can be broken extremely easily. For our readers to realize that in situations like this, her trust in her partner is broken, but she can use it as an opportunity to increase her trust in herself.

There’s no reason for that to be fractured. I go to Italy with some frequency and a few years ago, I was there. I fell and I broke a leg. I was reminded of coming home when dealing with my orthopedic guy who says, “A broken bone heals stronger.” What will you do in the brokenness of this moment? One, it’ll be stronger. Cooking is a big part of my life. I have that. Every morning I love to make my wife breakfast, but I have to break eggs. I have to break something in order to make something that’s of value. It may sound like this is being fairly flipped for somebody feeling tremendous pain in their heart. I’m not trying to make it flip, but I’m not trying to allow it to escalate into what it isn’t.

You have to break something to make something that's of value. Click To Tweet

You might have to, and I’d say one of the lines I’ve thought about for many years is that all personal transformation requires self-witnessing. That’s why all the churches say, “I need to witness or I have a witness.” This is a time for this woman to witness what she might have done that was part and parcel of this brokenness in her life. I’ve lived long enough to have times when there are people who have done things that I haven’t been able to forgive them.

It wasn’t until some years after the experience that I began to realize what I had done that might have been part of that brokenness and whether was I willing to be self-forgiving. Until I was willing to be self-forgiving, I couldn’t be other forgiving. Strangely enough, when I was self-forgiving, then I could be other forgiving. Everything moved forward. It was over. It was done. I was self-forgiving and other. I think that this forgiving business is in the process of self-love, the Christian theologian said that forgiving is higher than forgetting because it is forgiving in spite of remembering.

You don’t want to forget that this happened to you, but you want to come to a place of forgiving about this. Saint Augustine said that there is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future. We all have to have some of that in our conscience. This ability not to forget, but to forgive, because to forgive does not mean that you forget but it is higher yet because it is forgiving in spite of remembering.

A few things, Noah. First, it’s almost time to wind down. I do have one more question for you, but I want to make a few clarifications for our readers that I too absolutely believe in the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean we invite someone to do something again. It simply means that we are forgiving that and we may need to have very strong boundaries about how they are in our lives or not in our lives.

The other piece is that when we talk about turning inward to reflect on things you may or may not have done, we are never, and this comes certainly from me. I am never telling people when I ask them to reflect that they caused somebody to betray them and that something they did or didn’t do caused a betrayal. Noah agrees with that. I can see that we don’t want to blame our reader and say, “You need to turn in and reflect because you may have caused your partner to betray you.” No. We cannot cause someone to betray us. That is their choice and their choice alone.

Coming back with one question, Noah, is the part when you said that to our reader the piece about trust, and you said there’s no reason for her to mistrust herself. Here’s my question. So many times when I work with people where there’s been a betrayal, the person will say, “I no longer trust myself. I brought this person into my life. How could I have let a person who is dishonest, a manipulator, or a bad human being in certain ways? I don’t trust my ability to pick a good partner or to pick healthy people?” Could you speak to that part of the trust that gets broken?

I want to come to it from another direction if I might. For many years, I was a national philosopher for a number of very large companies dealing with addiction and recovery across the country. One of the issues that people often have is that it’s the shaming that’s involved with addiction. It’s the shaming that keeps people [00:38:16]. My response to people and people, once they’ve felt that they’ve done something that they may be involved in what happened is that they become self-abusive. They start beating themselves up. “Mea culpa, mea culpa. What I did, what I did.”

I said, “There is no strength in self-abuse. It is not about being self-abusive. It is about being self-accountable.” In the circumstance, you have to say, “See what happened. Be upfront with what happened without beating yourself up about it.” If you tell a child that they were a fool for long enough, you will be a prophet. All transformation spiritually is about penance, which is saying it is being witnessed, being self-accountable, but not self-abusive. If I could give a gift to people listening to this experience, be self-accountable for this without being self-abusive. It’s a big difference in one’s life.

Noah, you captured one of the things I had written down from watching the film. It’s the self-accountability versus the self-abuse. I absolutely love that piece and think it’s a wonderful note to end on because it is so critical that by being self-accountable and again, taking it straight to our reader, she can look at her life. She can self-reflect. What you call self-witnessing, I call self-reflection. She can work on that.

Instead of saying, “I made a mistake. I picked a bad husband,” or, “I picked a bad partner or someone I shouldn’t trust,” being able to say, “Were there red flags? Did I miss anything,” and just go through that. If I didn’t, then there’s nothing here but to be able to look inside rather than blaming because blaming doesn’t help us in any way to blame the self and to blame others. What helps us is to require accountability of the self and accountability of others. I’m a big believer in that.

I feel that the moment fleeing. I have a couple of thoughts on leaving if I might. Of all the things you can make in life, why not make a difference to you and make a difference together? Whoever is listening, seeing, and witnessing, may you go from strength to strength and be a source of strength to others. Amen.

Of all the things you can make in life, why not make a difference? Click To Tweet

Noah, thank you for blessing us with your wisdom, with your kindness, with your light, and thank you for helping our reader and all of our listeners along the way. It’s been such a pleasure and a joy.

Thank you for this moment in my life.

Thank you, Noah.



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About Noah benShea

Imperfect Love | Noah benShea | Healing From BetrayalNoah benShea, speaker and inspirational guide, is one of North America’s most respected and beloved poet philosophers. He is a Pulitzer Prize nominated, international bestselling author of 28 books translated into 18 languages. He is a scholar and theologian who has spoken to numerous prestigious universities and institutions including: The Library of Congress and The US Department of Defense, and he has been published by Oxford University Press and The World Bible Society in Jerusalem.
He was a dean at UCLA at the age of 22 and at 30 a Fellow at several esteemed “think tanks.” He has served as a private advisor to corporate and political leaders, Visiting Professor of Philosophy University of California SF Med School, Philosopher in Residence/ Dept of Internal Medicine Cottage Health Hospitals, Santa Barbara, and Ethicist for Sansum Diabetes Research Institute. Noah’s uplifting book, “Jacob the Baker,” is an international bestseller. In his continued mission to make a positive difference in the world, Noah embraced the starring in the 2023 film “Jacob the Baker” which he also produced; this captivating film is an official selection for the 2024 Illuminate Film Festival.

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