It’s about time we talk about toxic spirituality, its effects, and how we should approach it. The importance of taking care of your body, your mental health, and your spirit without neglecting one or the other has been on the rise. Most of us now realise just how much our thoughts influence our physical reality. People now cultivate their own spiritual practices that help them connect with the Universe. Spiritual practices which help them manifest the future that exists in their beautiful minds.
Your spirituality can look very different from mine. In essence, we recognise spirituality as a term that represents how you connect to your Higher Self. It represents our ability to connect to our Spirit through various meditation techniques, yoga, journaling, creating music etc. I wouldn’t be able to name every single practice that could fall under this umbrella, because there are so many! Practising visualisations, gratitude and magic also brings you closer to your Higher Self. There is no right or wrong way to practice spirituality. The important thing is that in the end, it makes you feel good, it makes you grow.
So the question is, does spirituality ever become toxic?
In this blog post, we will discuss what is toxic spirituality and how it can be approached.
what is toxic spirituality?
Toxic spirituality occurs when we lose sight of the true purpose of spiritual practices. Some of us may have been misguided from the very beginning. You can find countless articles and videos about how blissful it feels to connect to your Inner Self. How meditation or various other practices change your life and help you leave the dark moments behind. We often talk about how our physical reality is a reflection of what goes on inside. Therefore, we concentrate on practicing gratefulness, the Law of Attraction, staying positive, and end up tucking the dark moments aside.
I have talked about this positivity stigma in the world of spirituality before and I feel like it’s time we banish it for good. I have experienced it myself first hand, therefore I totally understand how it feels. Whenever any negative emotions come up and you let yourself express them, there will be people raising an eyebrow at you. ‘But didn’t you say that we should always find something to be grateful for?’. ‘You are always so positive, what is going on with you?’. ‘Are you even spiritual?’. The latter question perfectly shows how some people believe that in order to be spiritual, you have to be wise, have a positive outlook, and be drunk on good vibes all the time.
Please remember that spirituality does not revolve around positivity and gratefulness. Spirituality is so much more. Law of Attraction is so much more. Whoever needs to hear this, you don’t have to always see glitter everywhere, you don’t have to script when you want to cry, you don’t have to always be wise and see the glass half full. Most importantly, you don’t have to ‘act as if’ around other people. They are not your audience, you are allowed to feel every bit of anger, frustration, anxiety or jealousy. That doesn’t make you any less spiritual and that doesn’t mean that you are a negative person.
When we use spiritual ideas and practices to avoid dealing with the issues in our lives, we are quite literally practicing SPIRITUAL BYPASSING.
This term was coined by John Welwood in the 80s, therefore it goes to show that toxic spirituality has existed for decades, even before the rise of social media. However, naturally, it is most prominent nowadays. So many of us have been guilty of spiritual bypassing, it may have been one day or even months, years of hiding under spiritual ideas. This causes an emotional build-up and it becomes more and more difficult to deal with our psychological issues.
Therefore, I invite you to find a loving approach to toxic spirituality and be okay with not feeling okay.
I don’t believe that toxic positivity and toxic spirituality mean the same thing, however, I do think that they can be related. Remember how I mentioned the positivity stigma? Not only have I experienced it coming from other people, but I also ignored some of the emotional burdens in the past myself. Not only it’s extremely unhealthy, but it also creates a distorted view of spirituality. Additionally, it can become so severe that you can literally start resenting it. Something that was supposed to be so beautiful and enjoyable suddenly feels like a job you hate.
So the way I see it, toxic positivity falls under toxic spirituality. However, toxic positivity can be experienced or practiced by a person who doesn’t even consider themselves spiritual.
approaching toxic spirituality
I really feel like our dark moments are just as important as the light and positive ones. Of course, nobody really enjoys feeling down and nobody really asks for it, but we came to be learning continuously. After all, your dark moments make you appreciate the good ones, yes?
Understand that you have to deal with certain unpleasant situations in your life. You have to deal with emotional frustrations.
You can’t just put paint all over it and expect it to disappear. First, you need to make space for the good things/feelings/situations to come in. You absolutely mustn’t ignore the ugly stuff. Therefore, I want to encourage you to spend as much time as you need to overcome whatever you are going through. Focus on it and forget about trying to focus on the glass half full.
stop what you're doing for a second
I find that resting from your spiritual practices can be a good way to gain some perspective. However, I only recommend this if you feel like it hasn’t been helping you at all. Notice if you almost start feeling guilty about your feelings and you cannot shake it off, that’s the time to pause.
don't act around people
Acting around people as if you’re absolutely ecstatic when you’re not is one of the biggest reasons why you could start feeling guilty about your feelings. I know this feeling way too well because I used to feel ashamed. Ashamed to admit that I haven’t been doing okay, I’m not happy, and I don’t feel positive about the future. However, that shouldn’t be something you have to hide.
Be simple with yourself.
unclog the feelings
It’s important to let your feelings flow. Therefore, work with them and always do whatever feels right on that day. Do some sports to get your rage out, smash some plates at those plate smashing places lol. Go to the forest and shout, take a sad walk, write about your feelings. Or if you feel like crying in bed, do that as well. Let it out. Find the process and best practices that work for you.
Namaste. I am proud of you.