I have been thinking a lot about the beach. Even though I’ve had so much sun exposure that I will soon be a piece of charcoal, I still adore body-surfing in the surf and sun. The undulating waves instantly pacify my mind and body and bathe me in serenity. It’s a preference, but also a symptom for me.
It means I’m in my religious addiction again. I’m driving myself to earn something I think I need and I’m doing it with such relentlessness, my mind is signaling me it’s time to go to my happy place and press the reset button.
Instead of being a renewable source of serenity, peace, hope, confidence, and the unshakable certainty that you are enough, a religion that is an addiction produces the following:
1) You feel drained and burned out, emotionally and spiritually.
2) Submission to the will of God looks exactly like subservience to the wishes of others. You can’t “ let anyone down” without feeling acute disappointment in yourself, intense anxiety or both.
3) Your shame is triggered by the behavior of other people towards you, not your own actions.
4) Guilt and shame are indistinguishable.
5) You forgive everyone but yourself. You can’t forgive yourself for whatever evidence of your imperfections that is present in your life. You treat yourself more harshly than anyone else.
6) Forgiveness of others means never kicking someone out of your life, even if their presence dissolves your peace, happiness or self- worth. The potential that you may help them negates how they might hurt you.
7) You fear punishment by your Higher Power and anger from others.
8) Your own anger is so scary or “ wrong” to you that you are rarely aware of feeling it, even when boundaries are being crushed and it would be completely justified. Instead you often feel disappointment, sadness or fear.
9) It’s often almost impossible to distinguish selfishness from simple self- care or self- discovery.
10) Faith and Grace may be bedrock principles in your religious practice, but trust in a God who loves you, understands you and is your friend seems as remote as the Hubble Telescope.
We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be whole. – Jane Fonda