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Man in the Mirror

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Man in the Mirror:

As strange as it may sound, some former cult members find difficulty seeing good in humanity because they view others with the same negativity as they view themselves. Having been manipulated by cult leaders, they are untrusting. Without trusting others, they mistakenly assume that others do not trust them. Severed from contact with cult friends and family, some former members find difficulty feeling empathy for others because they are "gun shy". Having been "burned" once, they avoid deep connections to avoid being "burned" again. They mistakenly feel others do not have empathy because of their own cult-related issues.

A wise man once said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world," and a famous song says it best: "I'm starting with the man in the mirror." Until we overcome the guilt of our own shortcomings - even if those shortcomings were the result of cult issues beyond our control -- we can never expect to see the very positive aspects of life around us. The best way we can believe in a world we can trust is to start by trusting others. The best way to see compassion in the world is to share compassion with others. When former members start creating a positive life for themselves, they quickly notice others in their life seeming more positive. That perception gradually spreads to include connections of connections as positive stories start to spread and others respond.

These types of positive reactions are empowering for former cult members. Not only have they created a better world for themselves, they have actively participated in creating a better world for others touched by their positive outlook. The contrast between the negativity in their life as a cult member and their positive outlook after escaping forms a barrier of separation. Memories of their former life seem cold and dark. Visions of future possibilities seem peaceful yet exciting. Life itself becomes a constant reminder of how much better life with freedom can be.