I've recently come across the terms spiritual bypassing and toxic positivity. In my opinion, the people who came up with these terms don't understand what it truly means to practice spirituality or to work on a positive mindset.
In my research of the terms, I've discovered that these folks believe that using spiritual practices like meditation don't actually force people to look at their problems. Instead, it allows them to ignore their issues for a more flowery way of thinking.
Those same folks think saying things like going through trauma made you stronger or think positive and you can change your life negates the actual emotions a person may be feeling and need to deal with it.
To those people, I share this story.
Last year, I found myself squatting over a plastic bowl from the Dollar Store to use the restroom, in my rented Toyota Corolla. As I placed my excrement's in a plastic Ziploc bag to contain the smell, I thought to myself: How in the fuck did I get here?
It was at that moment that I decided I'd had enough. I wrote down all of the issues that had gotten me to where I was in that moment: homeless, quarantined in a car down the street from my old apartment, alone, fielding crybaby emails from the CEO of the company I was furloughed from with the subject line:"Smaronavirus". Next to that list, I wrote down everything that I needed to do to improve my actions that lead me there.
I realized that I had spent the last ten years running away from my childhood trauma and it had finally caught up with me. I decided to make healing, spirituality, and myself my top three priorities in my life.
I had no money to pay someone to teach me how to do that and all the libraries and book stores were closed. So, I turned to Google and YouTube to teach me how to take back control of my life.
While I had learned of the benefits of spiritual practices such as meditating and journaling before, they did not stick. However, this time, motivated by the goal to use the restroom in a toilet, I researched benefits and instructions on how to meditate, and journal. I created a morning routine where I started each day with prayer, meditation, journaling, studying the bible and going for long meditative walks.
I read about spiritual practices such as a full moon ritual, understanding chakras and using crystals. I started talking to God throughout my day and not just when I woke up or before I went to bed.
I used all of these tools to dig deeper into my mind and figure out why it was I did the the things I did that led me to homelessness. As someone who spent the first seventeen years of my life homeless, hungry and abused, you'd think I'd know better. What was I running from? How could I face that? I wrote all of those things down and turned them into goals.
I continued practicing these tips and in less than two months I was living in a new home. But before that happened, I ran out of money and had to turn in my rental. That left me sleeping outside in a church parking lot. A few weeks later, all of my belongings were robbed. Through both of these set backs I was able to stay calm and work towards a solution rather than dwelling in the negative emotions these acts caused me.
When I found my home on June 19th, two months later the owner of that home decided he wanted to sell the place. He needed to build a windfall for his business that was struggling during covid. This brought up negative emotions like panic and heart break. However because I was more spiritually in tune with myself, I was able to work out an even better situation for myself where I am now living in a place that is $300 cheaper a month with a stacked stock portfolio thanks to the owner buying out my lease.
When my boss started spouting off racists and sexist remarks towards me. I didn't return the same energy. No, instead, I started my own company and started investing in the stock market and started keeping meticulous notes of any and every transgression. In the end, I was fired from the company but not without getting paid an eight months severance that took care of my salary and my benefits.
Practicing spirituality doesn't afford me the opportunity to gloss over my problems. In fact, if you're doing it right, practicing spirituality and keeping a positive mindset is hard as fuck. Because meditation doesn't allow you to escape from the pain you're feeling. It forces you to face it head on. Writing out your thoughts and emotions every day in a journal, allows you the opportunity to release those emotions in a healthy and organic way.
Studying the bible teaches me how to handle situations that may arise in my life. Practicing a full moon ritual every month, allows me to truly let go of what happened last month, check in with myself, and set intentions on how to do better and be better the next month.
I absolutely hated the apartment I live in now, when I first moved here. Practicing gratitude every single day, forced me to find the deeper meaning behind my hatred. It wasn't that I didn't like my new home. It was that, I was in love with the home I had that my landlord decided to sell and I couldn't help myself from comparing the two. However as time went on, practicing gratitude allowed me to see the benefits of my new home. More money in my pockets each month, a new stock portfolio that allowed me to become a real estate investor, it was closer to my job, in fact it was closer to everything that's in the heart of Orange County. I really got the better end of the stick here.
Now, whenever I have a set back, I think of all that I have overcome. Yes, this may feel like shit right now, but if I was able to shit in a plastic bowl for month and survive, I can damn well survive anything else the universe throws at me.
So, I reject the terms spiritual bypassing and toxic positivity. People who use these terms, don't truly understand what it means to practice spirituality or are studying people who don't know what it truly means to practice spirituality. They are using surface level example to equate to half-hearted theories. Those terms are generalizations that can not be applied to everyone who uses positive thinking, meditation, and more to heal, learn, and grow.
In fact, in an effort to Step Outside the Box with my content creation, I have made it a goal to create content that dives deeper into these practices and how spirituality, positive thinking, therapy, and self-care can all play a major role in helping you completely change your life. As they say, I can show you, better than I can tell you.
Get ready Queen, we're just getting started.