Of course they’re aren’t going away!
Some can be easily resolved. Others are better off swept under the rug.
OR, how a lot of people deal with problems…
Through spiritual practice.
There’s a name for this.
It’s called spiritual bypassing, and it’s how we humans protect ourselves from psychological harm.
In this week’s podcast, we talk with Psychotherapist Robert Masters about spiritual bypassing, when it starts to cause more harm than good, and how to overcome it.
What is Spiritual Bypassing?
Spiritual bypassing is the use of spiritual practice to avoid unresolved emotional conflict.
It’s turning away from the psychological wounds we received from past experiences, events and relationships.
For example, take the relative who tends to overstep people’s boundaries. Unknowingly, they say something hurtful to you. What would you do?
Rather than voicing their concern, someone who engages with spiritual bypassing may choose to look the other way. They’ll excuse their relatives’ behaviour and avoid confrontation, even if they’re angry inside.
And this can be dangerous.
Because while spirituality offers some enlightenment, those deep-seated problems still remain. They don’t go away by themselves.
Rather than a solution, it’s used as a shield to protect ourselves from harm. And prevents us from understanding what’s really going on inside.
The reality is that it only suppresses the problem even further, making it more difficult to resolve in the long-term.
Signs of Spiritual Bypassing
Similar to a narcissist, spiritual bypassing is not very easy to spot. However, the following signs can help you become more aware of this type of behaviour:
- Being overly optimistic
- Believing that there is a lesson to learn from every traumatic experience
- Believing that everything happens for a reason
- Feeling spiritually superior to others
- Believing that “positive thinking” is the answer to life’s problems
- Avoidance of anger
- The unwillingness to accept negative emotions
Spiritual bypassing may offer some mental relief in the short-term. It gives us the illusion that “everything will be okay,” while the problem silently lingers in the background.
So, how can we overcome it?
How to Overcome Spiritual Bypassing
I’m not going to lie to you. There is only one way to overcome spiritual bypassing.
And that is to turn towards what’s difficult.
Now, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be uncomfortable, even scary.
But Roberts believes it’s worth it.
“People love the light, but can’t stand the heat,” he says. “But fire is heat and light. So if you want the real light, you need to face the fire.”
Once you gain self-awareness, it’s much easier to navigate and deal with your problems.
You don’t have all the answers yet, but you know the story.
A story you now have the power to CHANGE.
And you don’t have to go all in. Take little steps.
When the pain arises, don’t run from it.
Feel it. Explore it. Embrace it.
With time, facing the problem won’t feel as intimidating. That’s a good sign; it means your mind (and heart) is heading in the right direction.
There’s no other way around it. You need to do the work.
This means seeking help from a mentor, coach, guide, course or any other resource you believe will be essential to your healing.
But remember: you can’t do it all alone.
You need a support system.
Someone who will be there for you throughout this journey.
Someone who loves you enough to tell you the truth.
Someone who will remind you of your strength when things get hard.
I think I know who this could be…
After all, they know you better than anyone else in your life. They’re your best spiritual teacher.
After all the tears, anger, and self-shaming…
The only person who can make you change is YOU.
So what point is there in constantly beating yourself up about your problems?
It’s already happened. You can’t change the past.
But you can change your future.
And it starts with giving yourself compassion.
Compassion takes courage. It’s refusing to walk away from life’s problems, no matter how painful, because you love yourself.
And it’s through the bold act of compassion that we are heal faster.
Because we’re no longer leading with pain.
We’re leading with love.