We all have our avoidance mechanisms. Maybe it’s a Netflix binge to avoid dealing with something uncomfortable in your life, or perhaps it’s constantly checking your phone, so you don’t have to address the awkward silence with a friend. Whether we know it or not, most of us put up roadblocks that keep us from having to really look at something uncomfortable going on in our lives and deal with it. Such avoidance mechanisms are referred to as “spiritual bypassing,” which is a term coined by psychologist and author John C. Calloway in his book, “Unitive Thinking: New Visions of Self, Community, and Society.” In his article “Spiritual Bypassing: What It Is and Why it Matters,” Dr. Neela Samant explains that spiritual bypassing refers to “a tendency among enlightened individuals to use their spirituality as a means of evading rather than addressing problematical aspects of themselves — what they see as negative or unworthy parts of themselves — as well as challenging social issues such as oppression, injustice, and inequality.” The following blog
post will explain what spiritual-bypassing is, why you might be doing it, how it might hurt you (and others), and how you can stop doing it once and for all.
What Is Spiritual Bypassing?
Spiritual bypassing is when you use your spiritual practice or beliefs to avoid addressing issues that are uncomfortable to you. You use your spiritual or growth practice as an “out” clause to avoid addressing something you don’t want to deal with. This might be an issue related to your psychological health, some unresolved trauma, or something that challenges your identity.
Why Do People Spiritual Bypass?
People use spiritual bypassing because it’s easier than facing what’s really going on. Whenever something challenges your identity or you have some unresolved trauma that you haven’t dealt with, it can be painful and uncomfortable to confront that. It can feel like you’re being pulled into a black hole of self-doubt. There are also issues of scarcity that can come up when you’re faced with your own struggles. You might feel like you’re not “good
enough”, or that there isn’t enough “success” or “perfection” to go around. In this way, confronting your issues can feel like a threat to your own sense of security and identity.
How Can Spiritual Bypassing Harm You?
When you use spiritual bypassing, you don’t really get to confront your issues and work through them. This means they stay stuck in your system and continue to manifest in your life as unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns. What often happens is that you might see some initial success using your spiritual practice to avoid dealing with your issues, but then your issues catch up with you. When this happens, you may feel like you have to turn to your spiritual practice even more, which can cause spiritual bypassing to become a chronic pattern in your life.
How To Stop Spiritually Bypassing?
First, you need to be aware that you’re doing it. To do this, you can keep a journal where you write down your feelings and thoughts. You can also talk to a trusted friend about what you’re dealing with and notice what you’re turning to as an “out” clause. When you become aware of what you’re doing, you can start to challenge the thought patterns that lead you to use your spirituality as a crutch. Start to notice what you’re telling yourself and whether it’s actually true or not. You can also try to apply the same rules to yourself that you would
apply to a friend.
Confront Yourself Head-On
When we look at ourselves honestly, we can connect with and release stored and suppressed emotions, and we can identify and release the personalities we create that do not truly honor who we are. If we continuously paint everything pretty and purple, we will have no pathway to deconstruct our false Selves. Look at yourself, honestly. Admit your faults and seek to improve upon them. Release the aspects that do not serve you. Own your nature and life so that you can advance mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The point of spirituality is to help you be the best version of yourself you can be. It’s not there to be a crutch to get you out of dealing with things that challenge your identity. The more you confront your issues with spiritual bypassing, the more you’ll be able to use your spirituality for good. You’ll also be a better friend to those who are dealing with their own issues by not using your spirituality as an “out” clause. There will always be challenges in life, and they are what make life exciting and meaningful. By confronting your issues and using your spirituality to support yourself, you’ll be a happier, healthier, and more empowered person.
Meet Paul Wagner
Paul Wagner is an Intuitive Life & Business Coach, clairvoyant reader, and a five-time EMMY Award-winning writer. He created “THE PERSONALITY CARDS,” a powerful Oracle-Tarot deck that’s helpful in life, love, and relationships. Paul studied with Lakota elders in the Pecos Wilderness, who nurtured his empathic abilities and taught him the sacred rituals. He has lived at ashrams with enlightened masters, including Amma, the Hugging Saint, for whom he’s delivered keynotes at Her worldwide events.
Paul tours the world lecturing on spiritual liberation. He lovingly offers intuitive readings, inspirational coaching, and illuminating courses to help others with self-discovery, decision-making, healing, and forgiveness. Book a session with Paul: HERE