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  • Writer's pictureChristina Cunningham Spinler

The Hidden Side of Always Staying Positive

Hidden side to staying positive is also know as toxic positivity or spiritual bypassing which is an avoidance technique in which individuals use spiritual beliefs and practices to mask unresolved emotions. It involves utilizing spiritual concepts like positivity, love, and enlightenment to dodge difficult feelings instead of accepting them and dealing with them healthily. I am 100% all for love and enlightenment! But I am concerned when its used in a way that can actually falter healing.

Here are some key characteristics and examples of spiritual bypassing:

  • Spiritual bypassing often involves the avoidance of negative emotions, with individuals trying to suppress feelings like anger, sadness, or fear, as they believe in the constant maintenance of peace and contentment. Such emotions can make them uncomfortable, leading to efforts to repress them.

  • Another characteristics is over-emphasis positive thinking and affirmations, believing that they can avoid dealing with deeper issues this way. This can lead to a lack of genuine emotional expression. The goal should be to manifest our authentic wants and needs, so repressing "negative" thoughts can actually lead to the manifestation of those very fears. To make sure our true feelings and intentions are manifested in life, it's important to be honest and authentic with ourselves. It can be difficult to fool the universe.

  • Escapism through spiritual practices is a phenomenon where certain individuals utilize meditation, yoga, or other spiritual methods as a means of evading their problems, rather than harnessing these practices for self-awareness and healing. It's essential to recognize that these practices can be deeply transformative and conducive to personal growth when employed with the intention of delving deeper within ourselves and exploring aspects that societal norms might encourage us to overlook. I love yoga, meditation and spiritual practices, but use it to look at my shadows and my parts that society says to ignore.

  • Judgment and shaming is a common theme in spiritual bypassing. People engaged in this practice may pass judgments on others who express negative emotions or who confront difficult truths, believing that those who are struggling simply aren't spiritually evolved enough. This can lead to an atmosphere of shame-based fear, as individuals feel unable to share their true feelings for fear of being judged or shamed.

This type of judgment and shaming can have harmful effects on mental health, leading to anxiety and depression and causing individuals to become even more disconnected from their own feelings and needs. Everyone is at different levels of spiritual evolution, so we must not pass judgment but instead offer compassion, love, and acceptance. We all have things we're dealing with in our lives, so judging someone else won't help them get through it any faster.

  • On the path to spiritual growth, it's common to aim for a kind of selflessness by pushing our egos aside. Yet, sometimes, people take this idea to extremes, completely ignoring or suppressing their egos, thinking it's the source of all life's difficulties. Unfortunately, this can lead to a weakened sense of self-worth and a feeling of losing touch with their true selves, leaving them unsure about their genuine identity.

  • It's possible for people to engage with spiritual teachings and practices in ways that appear more focused on 'looking' spiritual rather than having meaningful inner-growth. This is often referred to as spiritual bypassing. It's important to remember that genuine spiritual growth requires an open exploration of the self, rather than just outward displays of spirituality.

It’s important to approach any spiritual practice with the intention of delving deeper within ourselves as opposed to escaping from what makes us uncomfortable. Self-awareness is key for genuine healing as well as authentic manifestation! True spiritual growth often involves a balanced approach that acknowledges and works through both the positive and painful aspects of the self.

Yes being positive is important too - seeing what you do right and what is working is just as powerful as embracing your "less than positive parts". Its the concept of living an AND life and not an OR life.

Ideas to help

Start by developing a deep level of self-awareness. Acknowledge and accept your emotions, both positive and negative, without judgment. Recognize when you might be using spiritual beliefs or practices to avoid difficult feelings.

Shadow work involves exploring and confronting the aspects of ourselves that we may have repressed, denied, or considered undesirable. This often involves looking into past traumas and uncovering how they continue to manifest in our present day lives. It can offer a powerful opportunity for understanding and healing our emotions and behaviors at a deeper level.

The goal of shadow work is not to change or judge yourself, but to understand yourself from a new perspective. By doing so, we can gain greater insight into our emotions and experiences. It requires honest self-reflection and learning to accept all parts of ourselves without judgement. We must be open to seeing our imperfections and choosing compassion rather than condemnation.

As we practice shadow work on a regular basis, it becomes easier for us to embrace and integrate these so-called negative aspects instead of running away from them. Doing this encourages us to become more self-aware, which reduces the need to ignore or deny our true emotions. Embracing these “shadow” aspects leads to greater authenticity and increases our capacity for self-acceptance.

By exploring difficult feelings or memories in a safe environment such as therapy or with loved ones, we can learn how those events continue to shape us today - both positively and negatively. As we do this, we create space for greater understanding of ourselves as well as others. This can provide an avenue for deep transformation as it allows us to see reality more clearly without relying on avoidance tactics like spiritual bypassing.

Also a courageous benefit of shadow work:

Occasionally, it helps to reflect on the way we treat others. We shouldn't do this to accuse or blame ourselves or anyone else; rather, it's a reminder that no one is infallible and mistakes will be made. In those situations where we may have been in the wrong, its helpful at times to take responsibility for our part in any harm caused. To do this, we need plenty of self-respect and self-confidence to recognize our part in the situation. This doesn't mean striving for perfection but accepting accountability.

By doing so, we can foster a less defensive atmosphere in our relationships and introduce self-forgiveness into our lives. This self-forgiveness extends to being open to understanding the pain we might have inflicted on others, not to accept blame, but to genuinely acknowledge our actions and have the self-awareness and self-love to recognize that, like anyone else, we too may need forgiveness from others at times.

Ultimately, shadow work helps individuals ground themselves in the present moment by being conscious of their emotions while also accepting their flaws with love and understanding!

More ideas on my explore:

Addressing trauma that may have been repressed for a long time can be challenging, but it is essential in allowing for true healing to take place. Additionally, engaging in activities like meditation, journaling, art therapy, or other creative outlets can help us explore our shadow selves and recognize patterns we might not have noticed on our own. Utilize the power of mindfulness and meditation to cultivate a heightened level of awareness of your emotions. Incorporating these practices into your routine will enable you to gain a more understanding and neutral stance on your feelings, thereby providing an opportunity for healthier emotional processing and growth.

Please remember that we are all on our own journey; comparisons with others should be avoided as much as possible. Everyone is unique and has different experiences—what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. It’s important to practice self-compassion throughout this process and recognize that there is no right or wrong way to approach spiritual growth—we all have our own paths to follow!

There is no rush:

Recovering from trauma and exploring your feelings takes time. It's important to be understanding and compassionate with yourself on this path. Similar to tending a garden, healing requires dedication, effort, and patience. Keep in mind that there will likely be periods of progress as well as moments when it feels like you're being set back. Don’t forget though, any step taken is a step forward for your wellbeing. Persevere in your journey towards emotional health and understand each day brings you closer to a place of increased inner peace.

Let's embrace the fact that anxiety, pain, and fear are natural aspects of life's journey. Believing that we should never experience these emotions can lead to unnecessary disappointment. Instead, let's focus on building solid inner strength, which empowers us to develop healthier ways to navigate the typical challenges we encounter in our earthly adventure. With resilience and compassion, we better adapt to our adventure.


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