Faith is an interesting thing. For some it falls into organized religion, while others may find solace in personal enlightenment. One aspect that is common is that it can't be forced. It has to be true to the person. Whether your faith is unwavering or questionable, you may be unknowingly sabotaging your chances to feel connection and conviction. Here are seven simple ways that we unknowingly destroy our own faith.
When we clump people into generalized groups, we are being prejudice. Instead of trying to predict how people will be or act, go experience it yourself. Try your very best to go into the situation with an open heart. Even if someone is mean to you or dismisses you, continue to try and find someone you connect with. But always remember that your religious/faith/spiritual journey is yours alone.
2. Getting mad at your journey
Don't get me wrong - get mad. Get really mad if you need it. But then move forward and figure out what you can learn from your struggles. Life really is an open adventure. Even when we think we can predict what is going to happen, life has a way of throwing us a fast ball. So instead of resenting being part of a baseball game, embrace that you get to play.
3. Thinking faith is the same for everyone
Everyone seeks faith for different reasons. Everyone needs faith for different reasons. Sometimes we even need to stray a little bit to know where we stand with it. The biggest flaw in thinking we are all kindred spirits with faith is that it all comforts us in a different way. We can't really fully understand the path that leads each person to it, but we can embrace that person for who they are.
4. Judging others
The world is full of judgement. People don't need more judgement, they just need you to be there for them. Before you start thinking mean thoughts about others, realize that people are trying the very best they can and you have no idea the trials that they are enduring right now. This is called empathy. It will take you a long way when helping others and when you need help yourself. And as a side note, people tend to think most harshly about the characteristics they exhibit themselves. So be nice, because you are more like them than you think.
If you are curious or if something doesn't make sense, ask. People are scared to ask questions, because they feel like they will look stupid or that they will appear undedicated. But it is absolutely the opposite. Asking questions is about educating yourself and understanding others around you. The more knowledge you have, the more stable you can be in your beliefs.
6. Not enjoying the pleasures of life
Life is beautiful, so go out and experience it for yourself. If we do not take the time to enjoy the little moments, we will start to get bitter with the world and view it as harsh and dangerous. In the therapy world we call this being mindful, and a great way to feel this is to check in with your body. Using your five senses, experience your world inside and out. Take time to appreciate the complexity of a rose, the beating of your heart or the wonderful diversity of people around you.
7. Not holding true to yourself
It shouldn't matter who you are with or what you are doing, you should be able to hold to your values. There are two facets that make this achievable. First, you need to know who you are and what your values are. This may seem like common sense, but if you haven't ever sat down and thought about these things, it is very difficult to hold to them when the pressure is on. Second, it is incredibly important that you find faith for yourself and not for others. When we do things for other people, our convictions break down very easily over time. So you need to figure out what rings true to you personally.
Trying to tackle all of these obstacles at once will seem like a mountain, so just focus on one at a time, and try to rotate through them. Note that you do not need to be perfect, it may even be part of your path to be imperfect. What is important is that we try our very best to be a little better each day and our faith will follow.