More than ever people are turning to spirituality to gain a better understanding of the universe, themselves, and the soul journey. But there are many so-called ‘spiritual’ practices touted in modern society that aren’t rooted in spirituality at all. Instead, these practices encourage people to repress their emotions, ignore their issues and pretend everything is always OK.
In this article on toxic spirituality, we’re going to explore:
- What toxic spirituality is
- How it’s different from spirituality
- 3 signs you’re engaing in toxic spirituality (and what to do if you are)
Let’s get started!
What is toxic spirituality?
Toxic spirituality is based on the belief that negative emotions are bad and by always thinking happy thoughts (even when they aren’t authentic), we can instantly elevate ourselves from any situation — no matter how challenging.
Spirituality vs. toxic spirituality:
Spirituality is defined as “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”
When we practice spirituality, we do so with the intention of connecting with the soul of the world, ourselves, and the Divine. Our goal isn’t to gain anything in the material world, instead, it’s to grow and evolve on a soulful level.
There are countless ways to practice spirituality including:
- Asking for guidance
- Saying “I love you” to someone and truly meaning it
- Practicing yoga
- Using food as medicine and honoring the body
- Helping others going through difficult times
- Following your passions
As a disclaimer, it’s important to understand you can ABSOLUTELY be spiritual without being part of a religious community. You also don’t have to partake in any specific traditions or masses to celebrate your spirituality! All of us are infinite beings who originated from the same all-loving Source, and as such we are all equal children of God!
3 signs you’re engaging in toxic spirituality:Toxic spirituality: believing negative emotions are bad (and therefore repressing them) which results in denial, invalidation, and minimalization of the human experience. Click To Tweet
1.) You Blame others for their circumstances
All of us have the ability to improve our lives. This process includes taking responsibility for our decisions (all of which have consequences) and making better choices in the future.
But that doesn’t mean we are in control of every aspect of our lives. Unexpected events happen to all of us — and those experiences aren’t always pleasant.
For example, if someone loses a parent and spirals into addiction (such as alcoholism) blaming this person for their circumstances doesn’t help them whatsoever. It makes them feel worse. Furthermore, there’s no way this person could have prevented the death of their loved one. Could they have made different choices as opposed to using alcohol to cope? Of course. But sometimes desperate and dire circumstances cause us to act in ways we otherwise wouldn’t.
As spiritual beings having a human experience, we are going to make mistakes (on an ongoing basis). Many of those mistakes will lead us to less-than-ideal circumstances which offer us another chance to learn a valuable lesson about life.
As Jesus once said, “My brother, choose again.”My brother, choose again. – Jesus Click To Tweet
Whenever you see someone struggling with difficult life circumstances, don’t point your finger and blame them. There’s nothing evolved or spiritual about assuming you’re better than other people because you’ve ‘manifested’ a more ideal life for yourself. This is nothing more than a toxic distortion of the spiritual practice of manifestation.
Instead of acting high and mighty, offer others grace, understanding, and love. And whenever possible… a helping hand.
2.) You believe showing negative emotions is unhealthy
Emotions are an internal compass, gifted to us to be used as a guide throughout our human experience — including challenging times. When we honor them and allow them to be felt fully (i.e. crying when sad) they help us heal and evolve physically and spiritually.
However, when we repress our negative emotions, they end up getting stuck inside of us – unprocessed. As a result, we aren’t able to move past our difficulties or heal from past trauma.
With emotions, you can’t fake it ’til you make it because deep inside, you will ALWAYS feel the discord brewing if your emotions go unheard.
Rather than trying to avoid feeling negative emotions, instead ask yourself, “What are these emotions trying to teach me (about myself/this situation/what inside of me needs to be healed)?”
Whatever your answer is — explore it. Go deep. Uncover the root of your negative emotions (every time you feel them) and honor them.
3.) You lead with inauthentic positivity
There’s no denying positivity is attractive. Happy people are magnetic. They send out waves into the ethos that act as boomerangs, drawing people and opportunities into their lives like magic.
As quantum physics states, “like energy attracts like energy” and when you put positivity into the world you DO draw it back into your life.
But there is a big difference between authentic and inauthentic (aka toxic) positivity. When you pretend to be positive, but you’re really miserable, people can tell something isn’t quite right… and so can the Universe.
What’s more, when you tell other people to “just cheer up” or “don’t worry about it” when they’re going through tough times, this is another example of toxic positivity. You aren’t actually helping them work through whatever issues they’re facing — instead, you’re inadvertently instructing them to avoid their problems.
Inauthentic positivity is toxic because it stunts our personal growth and prevents us from learning and growing with life.
Have you experienced toxic spirituality in your life? Let me know in the comments below!
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer and life-long student of the universe. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to simplifying the spiritual experience and making it attainable for everyone. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest, and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness, and empowered living.