More and more people are turning to self-help tools and techniques to try to live their dream lives. The problem is that while these methods are often healthier for us, they don't always turn our dream life into our real life; instead, they can become another form of escape.
I run into this challenge with my clients all the time. They want to think more abundantly. They want to tap into their spiritual Zen place. They want to feel more self-love and they want to elevate all of their conversations to focus to deeper topics of life purpose and passion.
As a result, they feel pressured to be the best version of themselves all the time, and they try to spout random phrases of "spiritual wisdom" at everyone, everywhere.
Sadly, this doesn't work. It doesn't bring about real abundance, peace, self-love or truly deep conversation. With spirituality, you can't fake it until you make it. Faking it or becoming elitist about it is actually spiritual bypass.
How do you know if you or someone you know is a spiritual fake? Here are three potential signs:
1. You're a workshop or guru junkie.
Do you have notebooks full of ideas from all of the workshops you attend or books you read, but don’t have a lot of your own personal results to show for it?
Do you leave a workshop with the best new intentions, only to be back to your old habits a week or two later?
The challenge, especially at a workshop, is that you're tapped into the energetic aura of the speaker and those around you. That connection can give you a false sense of willpower. It's happened to the best of us, including me. The problem is that once you leave, the connection is gone and so is the willpower.
A lack of willpower doesn't make you a failure. Instead, it means that you need to find a new way to tap into action, and going to another workshop is not the answer.
Action: Pick one idea from a recent workshop or book that you want to incorporate into your life. It's important to limit yourself to one. Then ask a friend, hire a coach or join a weekly group to give you accountability. Create check-in times, or see if a friend is willing to do the activity with you.
2. You're outwardly happy all the time.
I'm generally a happy person, so I would probably say this applies to me. But what I really mean is do you push negative emotions away, or do you pretend they aren't there?
In seeking the path to our dream lives and being more spiritual, we're often led to believe that expressing any negative emotion is bad and will only create further negative experiences. Likewise, there's the misconception that once we're living our dream life, we'll be happy all the time.
What we forget is that our ability to grow and connect deeply with others lies in our ability to embrace our own negative emotions.
At every level of growth and expansion, just like your current level, you're going to face challenges and have moments of upset or overwhelm. The key is not to push them away or hide them, but to hug them and let them in.
Action: The next time you're feeling upset or off, give yourself permission to ask these three questions. Why do you feel this way? How did you help to create this experience? What is one action you can take to feel better?
It's never as simple as being the victim. Owning your piece in it all will help you heal. Likewise, taking action can also mean releasing control, apologizing or asking for help.
3. You're a spiritual elitist.
These are people who only want to be around other people they deem as spiritually evolved, because everyone else is a waste of time, or uninspiring.
I get it. When we start having deeper conversations with more and more people, small talk becomes wholly unappealing. Trying to make small talk gives me a headache.
However, spirituality and inspiration can be found with anyone or in anything. I often feel inspired when I see a parent and child interacting on the street. And I've had spiritual revelations while listening to someone tell a joke.
Action: Let go of labels. Whether an event is overtly "spiritual" or not, you have control over how you experience it. Set the intention to be inspired in three new ways today and see what happens!
Share below! Have you ever experienced or witnessed spiritual bypass?