Spiritual Bypassing- A Fact that often Goes Unnoticed

Spiritual bypassing is a sidestepping process of using spirituality and spiritual ideas to avoid, suppress and not address unresolved emotional, psychological and related LIFE issues. 

Read it somewhere…

Spiritual bypassing is the practice of denying and suppressing the darkness within you and plastering it with a sparkly feel-good bandaid. 

Your friend denies having any sort of desire, physical or mental, is always happy, tells you to be positive when you are upset and that she is happy in her own space and all because she believes in intense spiritualism which keeps her away from all harm. She believes in ‘Good Vibes Only’ and whenever you confide something upsetting in her, she pacifies you calmly, without any emotional outburst that ‘everything happens for a reason.” Do these things sound familiar to you? If so, then you might be facing what is referred to as ‘spiritual bypassing’. 


What is Spiritual Bypassing?

Spiritual bypassing is a sort of veiling behind the garb of spiritual rituals and beliefs, a way of escaping the reality or avoid and repress one’s real emotions. It often arises out of such issues such as low self-esteem, psychological wounds or other emotional imbalances that cause pain to oneself. When the reality hits and it seems difficult to handle, a few take to the apparent glorifying world of spirituality and optimism to avert the harsh truths. So what are the ways in which spiritual bypassing surfaces? 


Common signs of Spiritual Bypassing

You chose not to vent, cry or discuss your issues. Instead of trying to face the life issues, you focus more on putting up a “All is Well”, “Just look at the Positive” facade. The Human evolution to face these situations and let the process define you. Anything less can easily become spiritually toxic. A few examples are…


1/4. “I am good because I am not attached to anything.”

While many religious practices preach the message of detachment from worldly affairs and desires, it is only humane to be attached to people and things around you. The real teachings, if explained in brief, are actually to be balanced in your approach towards worldly things and not to go overboard with any emotions such that it starts affecting your individuality. However, when a person deliberately tries to prove the point that he or she is happy and content just because of being aloof from the surroundings, it is a way of bypassing the very responsibilities that one is supposed to fulfil.


2/4. “I believe in Positive Vibes only.” Or “Be optimistic.” 

If these are the words which your friend or acquaintance says too frequently, you can watch out for other signs of spiritual bypassing. Imagine yourself to have lost a loved one and someone trying to pacify you by saying ‘ be optimistic’. Is it not weird to expect someone to take the situation positively when he or she has faced such an irreparable loss? A person looking into the present world situation and saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ and that we should practice ‘positive vibes only’ is not being realistic, rather trying to avert the harsh realities of life, accepting which is also a part of moving ahead. Such connotations are nothing but examples of toxic positivity that does more harm than good to the other person. 


3/4. “Meditate and be calm, your intense prayers will safeguard you from all harm.”

Have you heard the proverb, “God helps those who help themselves”, well it can be re-phrased as “God helps ONLY those who help themselves.” Whether you believe in the presence of an all-powerful existence or the presence of God or not, you need to understand that we have been created as the most intelligent being and occupy the highest place in the pyramid of creation for some reason. We have been endowed with the power to understand what is right or wrong, or at least, rack our brains to do so, but when we just leave it in the hands of the Almighty, and sit back, in reality, we are actually harming ourselves. If you choose not to take all precautions to keep yourself safe from some disease, you cannot expect, prayers will do the job for you. Praying should be taken as a way to imbue hope, not to take things for granted. Extreme belief in meditation and prayers also bring in a kind of beguiling existence of oneself that keeps one away from the rest of the world. 


4/4. “Yes, I am perfectly fine, these things do not affect me.”

When you tend to hide your true feelings under the veil of spirituality which apparently has taught you to go beyond pain and taught you not to be affected by things around, you are actually trying to bypass. It is unnatural to be affected by things around you, if they are hurtful or are something to be anxious about, to be indifferent to them, is like detaching yourself purposely. It is imperative to find a balance between being overtly concerned and to put up a show that you are absolutely normal and fine when things are clearly not fine.


Rising above your emotions ultimately brings you back to the harsh reality some point or the other and it is important to strike a balance between the spirituality and reality.

Spiritual bypassing can affect not only your own self causing co-dependency, excessive anxiety, blind allegiance and lack of emotional control, but also impact your relationship with others around you. Rather than avoiding and escaping from negative feelings and emotions, it is worth trying to address them and bring about a change wherever needed.


Maintaining a healthy spiritual life is equally important and can have immense benefits on your mental and physical well-bring and imbues hope, positivity, confidence and helps develop coping mechanisms in life.


Also Read…

[1] Mindfulness is Meditation in Daily Life… Everyday Living

Aashish Nanda

The information provided on this website is intended for general reading purpose ONLY. Please do not use this information to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Please consult a professional, in case you need any advice...

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